Tag: Berkeley

The Critic and the Clown: A Tale of Free Speech at Berkeley

We seem to have reached a new high, or low, in the academy’s free speech wars. Berkeley’s anthropology department has been compelled to reschedule a talk by Anna Tsing, a well known and highly regarded anthropologist at UC Santa Cruz, in order to make space—a safe space, as it turns out—for Milo Yiannopoulos to speak there on the same day. Aside from getting us—rightly—infuriated, I hope this incident reminds us that the marketplace of ideas, like all markets, is a highly organized and structured market, privileging some ideas over others. Ideas don’t simply enter and exit a power-less space; speech doesn’t just happen. In any institution, there are gatekeepers who give a pass to some speech but not others, and […]

John Schaar, 1928-2011

For political theorists like me, Jack Schaar is one of the vital presences of the last half-century. He and his wife Hanna Pitkin—along with Sheldon Wolin, Norman Jacobson, and Michael Rogin—helped define the “Berkeley School” of political theory, which not only introduced generations of students to the western canon but also made it relevant to contemporary politics. Though I seem to know more people than I count—including my wife—who were touched by his teaching and writing, it’s a shame still more don’t know about Schaar and his work. Schaar recently died. Joshua Miller, a political theorist at Lafayette College, wrote this brief obituary, which he has not been able to place in the press. I am reprinting it here with […]