Distinguished Political Theorist Benjamin Barber Joins GC’s Center on Philanthropy

September 28, 2012 | CUNY Graduate Center

Dr. Benjamin R. Barber has joined the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (CPCS) as a Senior Research Scholar as of July 2012, said Kathleen D. McCarthy, CPCS founding director. He is appointed for a minimum of two years.

A distinguished American political theorist and author in the field of civil society, Barber is Walt Whitman Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Rutgers University, where he was a member of the faculty from 1988 to 2001, and formerly held the positions of Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society at the University of Maryland and Chair in American Civilization at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris. A regular consultant with political and civic leaders in the U.S. and around the world, he served from 2007 to 2012 as a distinguished senior fellow at Demos, a US think tank founded in 2000. Among his high honors are a 2001 knighthood from the French government (Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques) and the 2001 Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin.

Barber’s seventeen books include the classic Strong Democracy (1984), reissued in 2004 in a twentieth-anniversary edition; the international best-seller Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism’s Challenge to Democracy (1995 with a post 9/11 edition in 2001), which has been translated into thirty languages; and most recently, Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantalize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole (W. W. Norton, 2007), which has ten foreign editions; and with Richard M. Battistoni, Education for Democracy (Kendall Hunt, 2011).

Barber is deeply engaged with the issues of global interdependence and global governance. He was the founder in 2003 and serves as current president of CivWorld, an organization that oversees and supports the Interdependence Movement, a campaign of citizens without borders aimed at nurturing global civil society and constructive global solutions to poverty, injustice, war, and climate change. Dr. Barber is working with CPCS to introduce this global Interdependence Movement to alumni from the CPCS International Fellows Program—currently 162 alumni from fifty-seven countries—through public programs, panels, and seminars featuring scholars and policy makers. He is particularly focused on the role of cities in transnational cooperation, which is the central theme of his forthcoming book If Mayors Ruled the World (Yale University Press).

Among Barber’s September online articles are: Interview with Mayor Won Soon Park of Seoul (in Korean), South Korea, The Kyunghyang Shinmun, September 26. “Think globally, America,” Los Angeles Times, September 21: republished as (1) “Voters must force candidates to think globally,” Tallahassee Democrat, September 24; (2) “Think globally, America,” Arizona Daily Sun, September 25; and (3) “US needs to open itself up to world citizenship,” Arizona Daily Star, September 26. Also published was “The west must be honest about its role in Libya’s violent chaos,” The Guardian, September 16. His September appearances include: “Where can the government cut spending?” a talk with Christine Romans and Will Cain on CNN’s Your Bottom Line, September 21; and on September 6, “Political theorist Benjamin Barber,” a personal interview with Tavis Smiley on PBS’s The Tavis Smiley Show.

For additional information on Dr. Barber, see his website.