Barber, Benjamin R. 1939-
BARBER, Benjamin R. 1939-
PERSONAL: Born August 2, 1939, in New York, NY; children: Jeremy, Rebecca, Cornelia. Education: Albert Schweitzer College, certificate, 1956; London School of Economics and Political Science, certificate, 1959; Grinnell College, B.A. (with honors), 1960; Harvard University, A.M., 1963, Ph.D., 1966.
CAREER: Albert Schweitzer College, Churwalden, Switzerland, lecturer in politics and ethics, 1963-65; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, assistant professor of political science, 1966-69; Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, assistant professor, 1969-70, associate professor, 1971-75, professor of political science, beginning 1975, then Walt Whitman professor of political science and director of Walt Whitman Center for the Culture and Politics of Democracy; University of Maryland, College Park, MD, currently Kekst Chair of Civil Society. Haverford College, visiting assistant professor, 1968; Hunter College of the City University of New York, visiting associate professor, 1970; University of Essex, senior Fulbright-Hays research scholar, 1976-77; New York Institute for the Humanities, visiting fellow, 1980-81; Drama School, Yale University, and Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, guest lecturer; Princeton University, visiting professor, 1986-87, 1988. New Jersey Academy for Community Service and Service Learning, executive director; Democracy Collaborative, New York, NY, currently director. Governor's Commission on National and Community Service, member.
MEMBER: International PEN, International Political Science Association, American Political Science Association (co-chairperson of program committee, 1975-76), Conference for the Study of Political Thought (chairperson, 1983-84), Authors Guild, Authors League of America, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, Academy of Political Science, Caucus for a New Political Science, Dramatists Guild, Century Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: Grant from Rutgers University Research Council, 1972-73; Guggenheim fellowship, and American Council of Learned Societies fellowships, 1980-81 and 1984-85; honorary doctor of law, Grinnell College, 1986.
(With C. J. Friedrich and M. Curtis) Totalitarianism inPerspective: Three Views, Praeger (New York, NY), 1969.
Superman and Common Men: Freedom, Anarchy and the Revolution, Praeger (New York, NY), 1971.
The Death of Communal Liberty: A History of Freedom in a Swiss Mountain Canton, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1974.
Liberating Feminism, Continuum (New York, NY), 1975.
Marriage Voices (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1981.
Can America Be Democratic?: A Participatory Critique of the Liberal Consensus, Loyola University of Chicago (Chicago, IL), 1981.
(Editor) The Artist and Political Vision, Transaction Books (New Brunswick, NJ), 1982.
Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a NewAge, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1984.
The Conquest of Politics, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1988.
(With Patrick Watson) The Struggle for Democracy, Lester & Orpen Dennys/CBC Enterprises, 1988.
An Aristocracy of Everyone, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1991.
(Coauthor) Visions of Service: The Future of the National and Community Service Act, National Women's Law Center and American Youth Policy Forum, 1993.
Jihad versus McWorld: How Globalism and TribalismAre Reshaping the World, Times Books (New York, NY), 1995.
A Passion for Democracy: American Essays, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1998.
A Place for Us: How to Make Society Civil and Democracy Strong, Hill and Wang (New York, NY), 1998.
The Truth of Power: Intellectual Affairs in the ClintonWhite House, W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 2001.
Barber's books have been published in German, French, Polish, Turkish, Italian, and Japanese.
The People's Heart, produced Off-Off-Broadway at Theatre 3, November, 1969.
Delly's Oracle, produced at Berkshire Theatre Festival, October, 1970.
Fightsong (musical), produced in New York, NY, at Gene Frankel Theatre, 1975.
(With Martin Best) Journeys: A Musical Myth, produced in Hanover, NH, at Hopkins Center, 1975.
Making Kaspar, produced in New York, NY, 1983.
Home and the River, produced in New York, NY, at Ensemble Music Theatre, 1997.
Also author of The Bust, Doors, and Winning, both produced in New York at Equity Showcase.
(With Patrick Watson) The Struggle for Democracy (television series), CBC/ITV, 1989.
Contributor to other television series, including Greek Fire, Tom Paine, and The American Promise. Contributor to books, including Political Parties in the Eighties, edited by R. Goldwin, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (Washington, DC), 1980; Democratic Capitalism, edited by F. Bauman, University Press of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 1986; Voices in America: Bicentennial Conversations, by Bernard Murchland, Prakken (Ann Arbor, MI), 1987; Essays in Honor of James MacGregor Burns, edited by T. Cronin, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1988; and To Secure These Rights: First Principles of the Constitution, by S. B. Thurow, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 1988.
Contributor to over forty additional books on politics, sociology, and culture. Also contributor of over two hundred articles to periodicals, including Atlantic, New York Times, Newsday, New Republic, London Review of Books, Harper's, and Progressive. Editor, Political Theory: An International Journal of Political Philosophy, 1974-84; member of editorial executive committee, Government and Opposition, 1988—. Member of editorial board, The Leadership Quarterly, The Civic Arts Review, Common Purposes, European Journal of Politics, Agora, and The Responsive Community.
ADAPTATIONS: Journeys: A Musical Myth was recorded by EMI Records as Knight on the Road. Public Broadcasting System (PBS-TV) is producing an adaptation of Jihad versus McWorld.
SIDELIGHTS: Benjamin R. Barber is a political philosopher whose books discuss democracy in relationship to politics, culture, and civil society. Barber, who served as an occasional advisor to President Clinton, has explored democracy in the post-Cold War world in books such as Jihad versus McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Reshaping the World, Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age, and A Place for Us: How to Make Society Civil and Democracy Strong. In a review of Jihad versus McWorld in the Midwest Quarterly, Mark J. Peterson wrote, "Amid intense debate among scholars and commentators, no consensus has emerged to explain international relations in the post-Cold War era. Barber provides an original, compelling and often extraordinary interpretation of a world in a period of fundamental transformation." Booklist reviewer Bonnie Johnston noted that in A Place for Us, Barber "offers starting points for solving the problems . . . that, in a democracy, arise from citizens' perceived disempowerment and disillusionment."
Barber offers his assessment of the Clinton presidency in The Truth of Power: Intellectual Affairs in the Clinton White House. As one of several dozen intellectuals invited periodically to the White House, Barber was able to converse with Clinton on important domestic and foreign issues. In the end, however, Barber admitted that Clinton's conferences with the political theoreticians meant less in the formation of public policy than did the constant barrage of opinion polls. Barber does not indict Clinton for this aspect of his presidency but rather suggests that the president has less power than citizens believe him to have, and that what power he does have rests with the electorate, not a group of intellectual advisors. In the New York Times Book Review, Alexander Star observed, "Barber does not judge the president or himself too harshly. Clinton was 'an emblem to tolerance, openness and good will' to millions of Americans. And when he didn't take his mandarins' advice, it was possibly for the best. After all, he knew that he was ultimately accountable to the will of the people and not to the whims of professors.... Clinton listened to the intellectuals with one ear and to the polls with the other. For Barber, if not for most of his peers, this was the most that could be wished for."
In The American Prospect, Ronald Brownstein praised The Truth of Power for its "astute political judgments and an acute personal portrayal of Clinton." Library Journal correspondent Thomas J. Baldino felt that the value of The Truth of Power lies in "its honest and thoughtful reflection on the interplay of ideas, values, leadership, and practical politics."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Murchland, Bernard, editor, Voices in America: Bicentennial Conversations with Benjamin Barber, Wendell Berry, Norman Cousins, Henry Steele Commager, Geraldine Ferraro, John He, Prakken (Ann Arbor, MI), 1987.
American Prospect, February 25, 2002, Ronald Brownstein, review of The Truth of Power: Intellectual Affairs in the Clinton White House, p. 33.
Booklist, May 1, 1998, Bonnie Johnston, review of APlace for Us: How to Make Society Civil and Democracy Strong, p. 1479; June 1, 1998, Mary Carroll, review of A Passion for Democracy: American Essays, p. 1681; August, 2001, Mary Carroll, review of The Truth of Power, p. 2079.
Commonweal, September 14, 2001, Alan Wolfe, "The Barber of Cavil," p. 28.
Current, February, 1998, Daniel Drezner, review of Jihad versus McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Reshaping the World, p. 26.
First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, December, 2001, review of The Truth of Power, p. 65.
International Journal on World Peace, March, 1999, Kenneth R. Gray, review of Jihad versus McWorld, p. 85.
Library Journal, May 15, 1998, Jack Forman, review of A Passion for Democracy, p. 1681; August, 2001, Thomas J. Baldino, review of The Truth of Power, p. 135.
Midwest Quarterly, winter, 1999, Mark J. Peterson, review of Jihad versus McWorld, p. 228.
New Leader, June 29, 1998, Christopher Clausen, review of A Place for Us, p. 18.
New York Times Book Review, December 18, 1988; September 30, 2001, Alexander Star, "All the President's Eggheads," p. 16.
Times Literary Supplement, September 23, 1988.
U.S. News and World Report, February 9, 1975; July 7, 1975.
Village Voice, December 11, 1969.
Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2001, Tevi Troy, "Intellectuals and the White House," p. A18.
Washington Post, November 6, 2001, Megan Rosenfeld, "Global Thinker: Benjamin Barber's Ideas on Capitalism and Conflict No Longer Seem So Academic," p. C1.