PhD in International Education

Jonathan Z. Friedman

Picture of Jonathan Friedman



Program: International Education

Research and Teaching Interests: comparative and international education, higher education, globalization, social theory, cultural history, nationalism and internationalism

Principal Adviser(s): Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Richard Arum, Mitchell Stevens, Jonathan Zimmerman

Dissertation Title: "Global Distinction: Social Status, Organizational Change, and the Internationalization of American and British Universities”

Research Description: 

My research focuses on the history and practice of international education in the U.S. and abroad, with a primary interest in higher education. Drawing mainly from the fields of cultural and organizational sociology, I ask questions about how educational practices and institutions are shaped, how they undergo change, and how this varies across comparative contexts.

My dissertation centers on a comparative study of the mindsets of administrators at eight high- and low-status universities in the U.S. and Britain. Examining a set of intra-organizational, inter-organizational, and cross-national dynamics, I explore the potent role of social status in shaping variation in the adoption of efforts at “internationalization” over the past decade. The study offers important insights concerning cultural and organizational change inside universities, and the implications of globalization for the education of students on different—and differentiated—educational pathways.

With a broad interest in different permutations of international education, I have engaged in projects examining international and area studies centers, study abroad marketing, global branding on university websites, nationalism and internationalism in universities, and the experiences of international students in different institutions, as well as in different Western countries. I have also been actively involved in a long-term, mixed methods research effort housed at the Social Science Research Council, examining how universities organize teaching and research about the rest of the world (‘Producing Knowledge on World Regions’).

Before doctoral study, I completed an M.A. in International Education and worked for the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, a unique initiative of philanthropic American foundations. At NYU, I have taught courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels pertaining to globalization, social theory, and comparative and international education


Friedman, J.Z. (2016). “Universities.” In E.J. Blum (Ed.), America in the World, 1776 to the Present: A Supplement to the Dictionary of American History (pp. 1044-1047). Farmington Hills, MI: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Friedman, J.Z. & Miller-Idriss, C. (2016). “The Dual Logics of International Education in the Global University: The Case of Middle Eastern Studies at NYU.” In S. Shami & C. Miller-Idriss (Eds.), Infrastructures of Knowledge: Middle East Studies for the New Millennium (pp. 189-224), NYU.

Friedman, J.Z. & Worden, E.A. (2016). “Creating Interdisciplinary Space on Campus: Lessons from U.S. Area Studies Centers.” Higher Education Research & Development 35 (1), 129-141.   

Friedman, J.Z. & Miller-Idriss, C. (2015). “The International Infrastructure of Area Studies Centers: Lessons for Current Practice from a Prior Wave of Internationalization.” Journal of Studies in International Education 19 (1), 86-104.