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‘Is Civil Society Possible in a Polarized America?’
Focus of Nov. 16 City Tech Lecture by Benjamin Barber

Dr. Benjamin R. Barber, one of this country’s major public intellectuals and an advisor to political leaders around the world, will discuss “Is Civil Society Possible in a Polarized America?” Tuesday, November 16, 4 p.m., in City Tech’s Atrium Amphitheatre. The event is free for the general public. For more information, call City Tech English Professor Camille Goodison at 718.260.4973 or e-mail her at

An internationally renowned political theorist and author of over 17 books exploring the role and function of democracy in modern societies, Dr. Barber’s work includes the international best-seller Jihad vs. McWorld (1995 with a post-9/11 edition in 2001, translated into 27 languages); the controversial memoir The Truth of Power: Intellectual Affairs in the Clinton White House (2001-hardcover, 2008-paperback), about the five years he served as an informal consultant to President Bill Clinton; Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole (2007), published in the U.S. and in seven foreign editions; and the classic Strong Democracy (1984), reissued in 2004 in a 20th anniversary edition.

“Published before the outbreak of the current economic crisis, Consumed has proven as far-seeing as Jihad vs McWorld,” says Professor Goodison, who is coordinating Dr. Barber’s City Tech appearance. His November 16 presentation will question whether a civil society (or civility) can be maintained in a radicalized, polarized post-election America. 

A National Public Radio ‘Marketplace’ Commentator and Huffington Post blogger, Dr. Barber is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Dēmos and President of CivWorld (at Dēmos), the international Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that sponsors the global Interdependence Movement, which believes that no nation is truly independent from the rest of the world; all depend on other nations for resources. He brings an abiding concern for democracy and citizenship to issues of politics, culture and education in America and abroad.

Dr. Barber, who was a founding editor and for ten years editor-in-chief of the distinguished international quarterly Political Theory, consults regularly with political and civic leaders in the U.S. and around the world. His honors include a knighthood (Palmes Académiques/Chevalier) from the French Government (2001), the Berlin Prize of the American Academy of Berlin (2001) and the John Dewey Award (2003).

In addition, he has also been awarded Guggenheim, Fulbright, and Social Science Research Fellowships, honorary doctorates from Grinnell College, Monmouth University and Connecticut College, and has held the chair of American Civilization at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

Among the many popular and scholarly publications to which Dr. Barber has contributed are Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Nation, The American Prospect, Le Nouvel Observateur, Die Zeit, La Repubblica and El País.

Dr. Barber was Walt Whitman Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University for 32 years, and then Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society at The University of Maryland. He holds a certificate from the London School of Economics and Political Science and an MA and Doctorate from Harvard University.

‘Is Civil Society Possible in a Polarized America?’ Poster


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