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Lectures and Media

To arrange lectures, please contact me directly at


Podcast of Day 2 of Trinity College Long Room Hub conference in Dublin, Nov. 7, 2017, “Factions, Fears, and Fake News.” I’m in the 2nd panel.

Podcast of Day 1 of Trinity College Long Room Hub conference in Dublin, Nov. 6, 2017 “Behind the Headlines:  Freedom of Speech, Where Journalism and the Law Collide,”

“Democracy, Populism and Fake News in the Age of Trump,” lecture at Stony Brook University, November 1, 2017:

On Jon Stewart (Salon), Aug. 6, 2015,

“Todd Gitlin Visits Alma Mater,” Bronx High School of Science Observatory, June 3, 2014

Here I am in the lair of “Fox and Friends,” on the occasion of the e-book publication of Occupy Nation, fending off fierce and ignorant attacks.

Here’s a video of a talk I gave at Occupy Boston, Nov. 5, 2011:  Todd Gitlin at Occupy Boston 11:5:11

Here’s an interview with C-SPAN’s Book TV on Occupy Nation, aired July 15, 2012

Here, at 4:14, is an interview with China’s CCTV, Oct. 28, 2012, on Occupy, Obama, economic policy.

Here’s an interview with Thorne Dreyer of Rag Radio, July 19, 2013, on the travails of the left.


I gave three lectures on media, revolutions, and democracy, as a Distinguished Visiting Professor, at the American University in Cairo between March 23 and 29.  Video of lecture 2, on the incomprehension and comprehension of revolutions from the French through the Russian and the Egyptian, is here.  Audio of lecture 3, on WikiLeaks, Facebook, Twitter, al-Jazeera, and other media in the contemporary revolution, is here and the full video experience is on YouTube, here.  Coverage of the second lecture in Daily News Egypt is here.

Audio of “Journalism and the Age of Lead,” a lecture at the American Academy of Berlin (where I was Bosch Fellow in Public Policy), May 4, 2011, is here.

Here’s a report on my McClanahan lecture to the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Iowa, April 4, 2013.  The reporter understandably accents the chastening motif, though my chastening is coupled with an attempt to inspire young journalists to take up the mission of connecting dots & thereby help make up for the shortfalls in our awful politics.


I lectured on WikiLeaks and the new global journalism Wednesday, March 16, at the Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii, Honolulu.  Link coming soon.  The redoubtable Beth-Ann Kozlovich of Hawaii Public Radio wrote up our interview in the Hawaii Independent, here.


Liel Leibovitz and I were on Brian Lehrer’s show on WNYC Friday morning, Sept. 24, 2010, talking about our book, The Chosen Peoples:  America, Israel, and the Ordeals of Divine Election. Also on KQED Forum in San Francisco, Dec. 1, 2011.  Also on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Here on Earth,” May 24, 2011, with bonus audio clips from a Newt Gingrich video (thanks to the “Here on Earth” folks!).

We podcast on the book here.

For reviews, see The Chosen Peoples site.

An interview with Ha’aretz is here.

An interview with Mary Borkowski of The New Inquiry is here.

Audio of a talk about the book at Georgetown is here.


Texts of Selected Recent Lectures

A talk about the left sponsored by Platypus at NYU, April 27, 2012

A Surfeit of Crises: Circulation, Revenue, Attention, Authority, and Deference,” Keynote Address, University of Westminster, London, conference on “Journalism in Crisis,” May 19, 2009

“Two Crises in Journalism,” inaugural lecture, Journalism School, Sciences Po, Paris, Sept. 4, 2008

“The Language of Torturers: The Pentagon Papers, Then And Now,” panel discussion, New York Theater Workshop, March 3, 2010, audio recording accessible at






Selected Recent Media

Letter to the President [on WikiLeaks],  “On the Media,” Dec. 19, 2010


A rejoinder to the glib David Brooks, “How the Tea Party is Not Like the New Left,” NYT Letters to the Editor, March 6, 2010

On right-wing objections to “Avatar”:  KPFK, Los Angeles, Jan. 4, 2010


Woodstock the Brand:  Still Moving Merchandise,” NPR Morning Edition, Aug, 14, 2009

“Walter Cronkite and the Way the News Is Now,” PBS NewsHour, July 20, 2009

“National Security and the Democratic Party,” a debate with Peter Beinart, June 5, 2006


For media inquiries regarding Occupy Nation, contact Kate Blum, HarperCollins,

Literary Agent:
Ellen Levine
Trident Media Group
phone: 212.333.1517

For information about lectures:



Selected Articles by Todd Gitlin

“Crowds, Assemblies, Demonstrations and Clusters.” In From Multitude to Crowds: Collective Actions and the Media, Eduardo Cintra Torres and Samuel Mateus (eds.), Frankfurt am Main, Peter Lang Ed.: 25-35 (2015)

“Hurling the Little Streets Against the Great:  Marshall Berman’s Perennial Modernism,” Dissent online, July 18, 2014

“Where Have All the Occupiers Gone?” The Guardian, June 17, 2014

“The Indignado,” review of Matt Taibbi, The Divide, Democracy, Summer 2014

“Cecily McMillan, from Zuccotti Park to Rikers Island,” The New Yorker online, May 23, 2011

“Fiction Meets Reality in Croatian’s Novel about Nazi’s Son,” review of Dasa Drndic, Trieste, The Forward, May 12, 2014

What’s at stake in the conflict between Divest Harvard and President Drew Faust,, April 30, 2014

On the Israeli Occupation and the meaning of Jewish morality, “47 years of moral default,” Haaretz, Feb. 21, 2014

“How to Reverse a Slow-Motion Apocalypse: Why the Divestment Movement Against Big Energy Matters,”, Nov. 21, 2013

Review of Andrew Lecklider’s Inventing the Egghead:  The Battle over Brainpower in American Culture; Reviews in History, Sept. 26, 2013

“Remembering Marshall Berman:  Marxist Humanist Mensch,” Tablet, Sept. 12, 2013,

“The Washington Post Doesn’t Need a New-Media Mogul–It Needs an Old-Fashioned One,” The New Republic, Aug. 13, 2013.

“Are ‘Intelligence’ and Instigation Running Riot?”, Tomdispatch, June 27, 2013

“A Charter for the 99 Percent,” Dissent, Nov. 8, 2012

“The Unmentionable,” a talk on nuclear weapons and global destruction at 50th anniversary conference on Port Huron at the University of Michigan, Nov. 2, 2012:

The Unmentionable:  The Bomb and Mass Violence

Todd Gitlin

“A New Insurgency:  The Port Huron Statement in Its Time and Ours”

University of Michigan

November 2, 2012


A spectre haunted Port Huron:  the spectre of thermonuclear war.  Not long after most of us had been born, the human situation had changed, changed utterly.  From our generation onward, children were being born into a world that had the capacity to destroy itself.  For the SDS founders and those who, like myself, read Tom’s draft before Port Huron and recognized ourselves in it, the new situation was arrestingly put in this single sentence:  “Our work is guided by the sense that we may be the last generation in the experiment with living”—perhaps the most memorable of the document’s references to a fact that we had not chosen, namely that we were perched on the edge of an abyss.  Here’s a longer sentence about the national paralysis in the face of immense danger:  “The desperation of people threatened by forces about which they know little and of which they can say less; the cheerful emptiness of people ‘giving up’ all hope of changing things; the faceless ones polled by Gallup who listed ‘international affairs’ fourteenth on their list of ‘problems’ but who also expected thermonuclear war in the next few years: in these and other forms, Americans are in withdrawal from public life, from any collective effort at directing their own affairs.”

During the year 1962, the US detonated more than 90 nuclear weapons; the USSR, more than 30.  While the Port Huron Statement was circulating, finding its final form, Nikita Khrushchev was ordering Soviet Medium Range Ballistic Missiles to Cuba.  When American intelligence spotted them, fifty years and change ago today, Kennedy ordered a blockade.  He also blocked appeals from his inner circle for bombing and invasion, but of course no one knew that then.  What we knew was that we were on the brink.  There were pitifully small numbers opposed—and when they did turn out, furies were unleashed in violent counterdemonstrations.  Here in Ann Arbor, 400 gathered by SDS and Women for Peace passed out a leaflet urging an end to what they called the “game of Chicken, with mankind on the bumpers”—which is, at that time and since, my favorite metaphor of the week.  The demonstrators wanted the Russian missiles withdrawn, but also wanted the U. S. to guarantee Cuba’s safety (which, as it turned out, was the deal eventually worked out by Kennedy and Khrushchev to defuse the crisis).  Six hundred students jeered at them, blocked their march, hurled eggs and stones.  Afterward, many of the SDS leaders in Ann Arbor set out to demonstrate in Washington—I remember Tom, Casey, Dick and Mickey.  Why not?  Nobody had a better idea.  From Cambridge, Robb Burlage, Maria Varela and I also drove down.  We all picketed the White House—not a lot of people.  We heard I. F. Stone warn that nuclear war could not be stopped.  We were part of a small movement against the Bomb.  Six months earlier, we had pulled 8000 demonstrators against the arms race and nuclear testing and bomb shelters—8000!  We thought at the time that was a hell of a turnout.

Around the time we were all driving to Washington, none of us knew—nobody knew— that four Soviet submarines off the Florida coast were armed with nuclear-tipped torpedoes, which were targeted on American aircraft carriers. These submarines weren’t made for near-tropical temperatures of the south Atlantic.  On one sub in particular, the air conditioning failed, and the temperatures over the course of days surpassed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  The sailors were limited to one glass of water a day as, twelve American destroyers circled overhead, dropping depth charges.  Unable to contact Moscow, the sub captain grew frantic.  He thought that perhaps war had already broken out and that he should proceed to launch his Hiroshima-scale torpedo bomb at a nearby American carrier.  He had the authority to order the launch.  It would have been easy enough to accomplish his mission.  It would be a simple matter of joining together two halves of a key—one in the captain’s possession, the other in the hand of the sub’s political officer.  The two men were in agreement:  hey should launch the torpedo.  But the fleet commander, name of Vasili Arkhipov, was also on board.  He was a cooler head.  He said no.  He said wait until we restore contact with Moscow and find out what’s what.

The small movement against the Bomb—which found a certain place in the Port Huron Statement—was dead right.  We were realistic.  Port Huron knew that something like the missile crisis was coming.  We held to a double vision:  there was the prospect of extinction, and there was also, alongside it, the emergence of a living resistance.  I said before that the human situation had changed.  Human nature had changed.  Marx had talked about humanity having a “species being.”  Now our species being entailed being a member of a species that had it, and has it, in its hands to annihilate itself.  And to save itself.  One Russian naval officer had the capacity to approve a decision to start what would almost certainly have flashed into a cycle of retaliation built into the supposed-to-be-foolproof scheme known by the antiseptic name of “deterrence,” into a nuclear war.  Arkhipov stopped it.

The missile crisis trauma led John F. Kennedy to conclude that the arms race dynamic needed to be dampened.  He gave that stirring speech at American University the following June, calling for a test ban treaty, calling for “an end to the arms race,” and trying to think himself, and the country, out of the trap of endless Cold War confrontation.  Relief!  The prospect of nuclear war fell out of the headlines.  And, in relief and hope and no small denial, it fell out of consciousness.  Miraculously, the nuclear faceoff had gone away.  And when, two years later, the war in Vietnam, well then, while some residual anti-nuclear movement continued, most of us became—rightly—obsessed with stopping a war that was not hypothetic but actual, for bombs of napalm and white phosphorus and so one were going off in actual time and burning the actual flesh of actual human beings.

Now we know that the human power to wreck the world has more than a single face.  Thermonuclear war is one version.  Filling the atmosphere with carbon and other heat-absorbing compounds is another, with the sort of natural consequences all too evident in my hometown earlier this week.  Please note:  Fifty years ago, it was just beginning to be understood that extinction could arrive in many vehicles.  The movement against the Bomb understood one end of humanity’s new condition; Rachel Carson, whom Tom mentioned, understood another end.  Silent Spring or nuclear winter—these were what stared us in the face if humanity didn’t get off the bumpers and get the lunatic drivers and their horrendous, annihilationist machines off the road.

The movement against the Bomb understood in its bones, as Port Huron did in its own way, that some crazy logic of modernity had led to the institutionalization of mass violence, earth-destroying power, and a live prospect of annihilation.  We understood that the prevailing refusal to take this seriously was, as C. Wright Mills had written, “crackpot realism.”  To refuse crackpot realism sometimes freaked us out more than a bit.  It would surely have been more fun to be cheerful idiots. But here we are, and the nuclear missiles have outlasted Soviet Communism, and the missiles are still, by policy, poised, ever-ready to “launch on warning”—that is, before an actual enemy bomb goes off on our soil—and there is, as you may have noticed, a major party candidate for the presidency of the United States who identifies Russia as “America’s No. 1 geostrategic foe.”

We did what we could and it turned out that we contributed to something great, as Tom said last night.  We weren’t gods and we weren’t omnipotent.  It wasn’t for lack of trying that we failed to rid the earth of nuclear bombs.  So the emergency of the earth writhing under human dominion goes on, even in ways we could not have imagined in 1962, and we have, once again, in Albert Camus’ great image, to bring everything we have and feel and know to the immense and necessary and beautiful work of rolling the rock of survival back up the hill.


“Un-American Activities,” review of Seth Rosenfeld’s Subversives, Nieman Reports, Fall 2012

“On the Port Huron Statement,” NYU, April 12, 2012:

The Port Huron Statement was the clearest, most vivid and energetic articulation of an awakening:  one of those great uprisings that are the crucibles of America struggling (against much violence and cruelty) to become itself—a commonwealth of free association and mutual aid.

The New Left wanted to make, out of the lonely crowd, the beloved community—the kernel of a moral awakening that would put intelligence to work in behalf of transcendent values and overcome as much human ugliness as possible.

This beloved community would be bound together in what Carl Oglesby would later call “brute love”—an association of free and struggling individuals joining together what an earlier president, Abraham Lincoln, called “the better angels of our nature.”

Brute love was distilled from a fierce chemical reaction (and I’m not just referring to controlled substances) which began with a revolt against racist evil and stupefaction, and developed into an intoxication with the vivid solidarities that are made possible, though never guaranteed, by democratic life.

The intoxication was stirred by a discovery of the bonds that could be forged from a conviction that big changes were not only necessary but possible.

The sense of necessity was both moral and intellectual.  It’s interesting:  There are not, in the Port Huron Statement, extraordinary insights into the crimes and failure and inequities of American society at the outset of the 1960s:

• white supremacy;

• the military-industrial contempt for human possibility;

• the grotesque brandishing of thermonuclear weapons in the Cold War;

• the triumph of empty labor; and so on.

The keen insight of the Port Huron Statement was that a life of shared value mattered—and that it could be lived in common—and that citizenship might matter and might, for some body of people, be practical.  The name that was affixed to that insight was “participatory democracy.”

It was, I think, intended more as a principle of social life than as a way of holding meetings.  It was not understood as an alternative to strategy or to the collective work of intellect, but as their fruition.

The genius of the Port Huron Statement, as it was structured, was placing its declaration of values up front.  The movement would not be guided by interests but by values.  It would not despise interests but it would insist that human life deserved to be less cruel and more lovely.  The intimation that the world could be remade—starting right now and right here—this was the movement’s idea—all of the movement, as Linda Gordon points out in her paper, not just the white guys.

The movement’s idea was not utopian. Values were the starting point.  They were not other-worldly.  They were this-worldly.  For some in the movement those values were spoken in an other-worldly spirit; for some not.  It didn’t matter.   All the eyes were on the prize.

SDS insisted that the people had to consent to their government, but more than consent—they should become a people, held together by what was best and most decent in them.

There was a penetrating hope that breathed between the lines of this remarkable document.  Within the lines, there were a lot of intellectual puzzles that the Port Huron Statement could not solve.  No one has since.  They may not be capable of solution.  For example:  What if most people do not want, at least not so much, to make the decisions at affect their lives?  Shall we then disband the people and convene another one?

But the Port Huron Statement did not say:   Follow us from Point A to Point Z.  It said:  Here we are, a bunch of people, “raised in at least modest comfort,” who are going to make the effort to live lives we are not ashamed of, in order to live in a country we are not ashamed of.  And that was a very great thing.

At the same time, we are all well aware of what we could not accomplish in the movements of that time.  And that is why we ought to be refreshing the language of values, and reawakening the awakening, and acquainting and reacquainting ourselves with our better angels.

I mean not just ourselves, the core of a movement and its passions.  I mean also the vast outer movement.  Just as there was a conspicuous ‘60s, the one recorded in the photogenic confrontations and iconic images of courage and horror, there was also  a subterranean ‘60s—less well known but just as important.  The core American values of the New Left ignited many millions of people who did not necessarily subscribe to the movement’s very doctrine and whim and style.  Around kitchen tables and in their private nights they went beyond asking:  What should the world be?  They asked themselves, and asked each other:  What should I do?

That subterranean movement, I suspect, is again or still, at work among us.  So too is the aboveground movement, reawakening the awakening, reminding ourselves of our better angels.

What a crazy idea for a crazy country, which is no less a crazy country, though a differently crazy country, than it was half a century ago, in 1962.  You can trace a line from then to now.  It’s not a straight line but a sinuous one, full of lurches, surprises, chasms, and leaps.

Today’s Occupy movement, I think, holds open the promise of a renewal, another great awakening, that moves us further along the long and winding road toward a more respectful and less cruel society, one which conserves the earth (and is therefore in an honest sense “conservative”)  and takes seriously, again, the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

[This text slightly improved from the hastier and more illegible version I read from.]


Recent articles about Occupy Wall Street:

“The Left Declares Its Independence,” The New York Times, Sunday Review, Oct. 9, 2011

“Occupy Wall Street Is Chaotic, Romantic, and Utopian–and That’s a Good Thing,” The New Republic online, Oct. 18, 2011

New York City, Oct. 19:  The Sense of a Movement,” Los Angeles Review of Books

An American Jew lives and rages with Israel, Dissent, Spring 2011

“My Vietnam,” Chronicle Review, March 20, 2011

“The Incoherent Left,” Chronicle of Higher Education, Chronicle Review, January 23, 2011

“Everything Is Data But Data Isn’t Everything,The New Republic online, Dec. 7, 2010

“Many Ways to Be a Jewish State,” The New Republic online, Nov. 15, 2010

“An Existential Threat,” Ha’aretz, Oct. 29, 2010

“Tne New Jewish Mission:  Feeling the Shcckwaves from Israel,” Columbia Spectator, Oct. 14, 2010

“A Counterproductive Call to Boycott Israel’s Universities” (with Nissim Calderon), The New Republic online, October 11, 2010

“Chosen” (with Liel Leibovitz), Tablet, September 22, 2010

“Damning a Whole Generation to Make a Policy Point,” The Atlantic online, September 22, 2010

“Don’t Turn the Deficit into ‘The Passion of the Boomers,’The Atlantic online, September 22, 2010

“This Manichaean Moment,The New Republic online, September 21, 2010

“The idea of sacred land has long resonated” (with Liel Leibovitz),  Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday Currents section, September 12, 2010

“Middle East Peace Talks, and the Problem of Land” (with Liel Leibovitz), Los Angeles Times Opinion Section, September 5, 2010

“The Never-Ending Mosque Story, Cont’d.,” Dissent online, September 3, 2010

The Subversive Theology Of Imam Rauf (Cont’d.),” The New Republic online, August 24, 2010

“American Values and the Ground Zero Mosque,” The New Republic online, August 13, 2010

“The Virtue of Warmed-Over Rehash,” The New York Republic online, July 31, 2010

“Least Bad Options,” The New Republic online, July 16, 2010

Confessions of an Epistemological Skeptic,The New Republic online, July 1, 2010

The Uses of Half-True Alarms,” review of Nicholas Carr, The Shallows:  What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, The New Republic online, June 7, 2010

The Centrality of Jewish Chosenness” (with Liel Leibovitz), Tablet, June 7, 2010

Mind Games: Can neuroscience explain the crisis in news?” Columbia Journalism Review online

“The Age of Tackiness,” review of Francis Wheen, Strange Days Indeed: The 1970s: The Golden Age of Paranoia, The New Republic online, The Book, March 17, 2010

“The New America,” review of Ha Jin, A Good Fall, The New Republic online, The Book, January 21, 2010

“Demonstrations at CEO Mansions? Ho Hum,” Columbia Journalism Review online, October 5, 2009, (with Peter Dreier)

“Journalism’s Many Crises,” openDemocracy, May 21, 2009

“I. F. Stone, Journalist—and Spy?” review of D. D. Guttenplan, American Radical: The Life and Times of I. F. Stone, and John Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America; The American Prospect, June 2009

“Freedom’s Untidy: Democracy Promotion and Its Discontents,” review of G. John Ikenberry, Thomas J. Knock, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Tony Smith, The Crisis of American Foreign Policy: Wilsonianism in the Twenty-first Century, World Affairs Journal, Spring 2009

“And That’s The Way It Was,” The New Republic online, July 17, 2009

“Choosing Our Better History,” Social Science Research Council, “The Immanent Frame,” June 1, 2009

“Left Is Right: Bernard-Henri Lévi and the Left,” Democracy, Winter 2009

“Do Less Harm: The Lesser Evil of Non-Intervention,” World Affairs Journal, Summer 2008

“World War V: My Battle with Norman Podhoretz,” The New Republic, October 8, 2007

The New Liberal Agenda,” Chronicle of Higher Education online, September 5, 2007

Schwulst und Propaganda,” Die Tageszeitung (Berlin), August 25, 2007

“Raider Without a Cause,” Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2007

“The Patriot: Richard Rorty Was a Philosopher Who Hated Philosophy — And a Lefty Who Loved His Country,” Boston Globe,” June 17, 2007

“The Media Served the Murderer’s Purpose,” San Jose Mercury News, April 22, 2007

“War Protests See Key Contrasts,” Omaha World-Herald, February 4, 2007, p. 9B

Paraphrasing the ’60s,” Los Angeles Times, January 27, 2007

Big Tent. Big Plans?” Mother Jones, January-February 2007,

In the Land of Lost Men, No One Asks for Direction
( review of Charlie LeDuff, US Guys)
New York Times, February 1, 2007

Times Out of Joint
The American Prospect, December 2006

Democratic Dilemmas: The Party and the Movements
Dissent, Fall 2006

We Answer to the Name of Liberals (with Bruce Ackerman)
The American Prospect, November 2006

All the President’s Pets
(review of Eric Boehlert, Lapdogs)
The American Prospect, July 2006

Representing America
Chronicle Review, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 23, 2006

The Self-Inflicted Wounds of the Academic Left
Chronicle Review, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 5, 2006

The urge to purge
Los Angeles Times Sunday Current, April 9, 2006

All the President’s Friends
The American Prospect, January 2006

Neil Bush: No Billy Carter, December 5, 2005

Welcome the Prosecutor!, November 27, 2005

How Bad are the Media in Iraq?, November 25, 2005

The Authority of Anti-Authority, November 16, 2005

Deliverance for Democrats?, November 2, 2005

The War Movement and the Antiwar Movement, October 18, 2005

Thomas Schelling and Refusing to Play, October 12, 2005

Notes on the Capital of the 21st Century, October 4, 2005

Who Gives a Flying Flag?
The American Prospect, September 2005

Bush at Bay
The Observer (London), September 4, 2005

Anti-War America, August 30, 2005

Fundamentals and Interests: An Open Letter to Thomas Frank, July 26, 2005

MIA: News of Prison Toll
The Nation, July 4, 2005

Where Have All the Anti-warriors Gone?,
May 2, 2005

Permission to Speak Freely
Mother Jones,
March-April 2005

Hello, Henhouse? Fox Calling
American Prospect, April 2005

A Gathering Swarm
Mother Jones, January-February 2005

Swifter than Truth
The American Prospect, November 2004,

The Great Media Breakdown
Mother Jones, November-December 2004

The American Prospect online, October 15, 2004

A Skull In Varanasi, A Head in Baghdad
The American Scholar, September 2004

Ghost War, August 24, 2004

No Bush, No Chicago ’68
The Nation, August 30-September 6, 2004
(with John Passacantando)

It Was a Very Bad Year
The American Prospect, July 2004

Culture War, Round 3077
The American Prospect,
January 2004

Brooks No Argument
The American Prospect, October 2003

How to be radical: An interview with Todd Gitlin and George Monbiot, September 5, 2003

Signs of a Pulse
American Prospect, September 2003

Embed or In Bed?
The American Prospect, June 2003

The Party
Lincoln Center Theater Review, Spring 2003

The Pro-War Post
The American Prospect, April 2003

From Put-Down to Catch-Up: The News and the Antiwar Movement
The American Prospect, March 2003

We Disport. We Decide
The American Prospect, February 2003

America’s Age of Empire: The Bush Doctrine
Mother Jones, January-February 2003


My latest: Occupy Nation:  The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street, forthcoming as an e-book from HarperCollins, May 1, 2012: Available as paperback book on August 21, 2012.










“Todd Gitlin — historian, sociologist and veteran activist — is the ideal person to report on the Occupy Movement. Whether you watched from the sidelines or slept in a park, Occupy Nation is full of surprises and a joy to read.”

– Barbara Ehrenreich

“Imagine a veteran of the storming of the Bastille in 1789 writing, years later, about the revolutions of 1848. Todd Gitlin’s book is not only a vivid, first-person report on the most hopeful American social movement in several decades, it’s written by someone who himself took part in the upheavals of the 1960s. He tells the Occupy story with both the knowledge of a scholar and the passion of an activist.”

– Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars

“Todd Gitlin captures the spirit of the Occupations as they were and may be again. He writes in solidarity with the protestors — but also with a keen sense of the difficulties they face (and sometimes make for themselves).”

– Michael Walzer, co-editor, Dissent

“In this much needed book, Todd Gitlin, a veteran of the 1960s — an earlier time of youthful radicalism — and an astute commentator on social movements offers a compelling portrait of the Occupy movement. It is less a chronological history than a series of vignettes that capture the spirit of the people involved, the crisis that gave Occupy birth, and the possibility of genuine change it represents.”

– Eric Foner, author of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery


Published in 2011:











“Fascinating, strong, beautifully written, and deeply moving.”–Breyten Breytenbach





































































Published by Counterpoint, Feb. 8, 2011

Order at independent Powell’s here or Amazon here.

“Fascinating, strong, beautifully written, and deeply moving.”–Breyten Breytenbach


Published September 14, 2010

For more information, interviews, reviews, etc., see The Chosen Peoples website.

Order from Amazon

“Truly bold…. a truly thought-provoking argument that deserves serious attention.” (Andrei Markovits, The Huffington Post)

“[Gitlin and Leibvoitz] shed light on the strong messianic impulses in the history of both ‘chosen’ nations.” (Chuck Leddy, Christian Science Monitor)

“Brisk and entertaining…. a valuable addition to the public discussion of religion and politics (or religion in politics)” (Gordon Haber, The Forward)

“A nuanced, carefully considered comparison of the deep-seated beliefs that pervade both groups…. The book offers lively, approachable scholarship for the lay reader and student of history alike, featuring sharply rendered arguments at a pace that rewards sustained attention without oversimplifying.” (Kirkus)

“…an often inspired, probing, and insightful exploration.”–Kenneth Waltzer, Israel Studies Review

Todd Gitlin of Columbia Un­iversity and Liel Leibovitz of New York University have written a thoughtful critical volume on the roots and costs of chosenness as it pertains to historical and contemporary Israel and the United States. Their approach is nonpolemical, but their tone implies an important critique of the ideology of chosenness, a summons to do better (that is, repent) and a recognition that supposed chosenness is as much an ordeal as it is a gift. The authors are fully aware of the prerational force of entitlement and privilege that is exercised in the ideology of chosenness.” –Walter Brueggemann, The Christian Century


“This is one of the finest books I have ever read about the ideas which drive modern nations.    Eloquent and erudite, Gitlin and Leibovitz reveal the promise and the pitfalls of a mass temptation neither Americans nor Israelis have been able to resist. The Chosen Peoples is a necessary work for our perilous era.”

–Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan

“Americans’ deep sense of connection to Old Testament prophecy and providence dates back to the Puritans. In their provocative new book, Todd Gitlin and Liel Leibovitz explore that connection anew for modern times—and offer food for thought and rich argument about the historical as well as political experiences of both Israel and the United States.”

–Sean Wilentz, author of The Rise of American Democracy

“A perceptive comparison between Israel and the United States as Chosen Peoples of God. The authors synthesize history, Bible study, and current events with their own deeply moral analysis. They explore the analogy between the Israeli settlers on Palestinian lands and the white American settlers on Native American lands in ways profoundly enlightening.”

–Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

“The Chosen Peoples invites readers to take with great seriousness and respect the idea that both Israel and the United States bear the burden of imagining themselves as chosen by God. In an extraordinarily sensitive exploration of the concept of being chosen, Todd Gitlin and Liel Leibovitz bring a fresh perspective to the history of Israel and America and to the complex linkages between them.”

–Joyce Appleby, professor emerita of history, UCLA, author of The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism

“Few alliances on the world stage are as complex and important as the Israeli-United States special relationship. Yet how best to understand it? In a book that is as refreshing as it is provocative, and timely too, The Chosen Peoples explores the fascinating consequences of both nations seeing themselves as chosen by God. Bravo to Todd Gitlin and Liel Leibovitz for their important contribution.”

–Jay Winik, author of April 1865 and The Great Upheaval

“The Chosen Peoples is a probing account of two powerful myths that have brought us to the brink of disaster, but that may still provide a fresh way forward. The authors’ case for more humane ideas of national destiny is lucid, compelling, and deeply necessary. No one who cares about the future of America–or Israel–can afford to ignore this timely and important book.”

–Jackson Lears, Rutgers University, author of Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920


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Praise for The Bulldozer and the Big Tent:

“No one is better than Todd Gitlin at describing the crucial dynamic through which movements gain or lose political power. Justly celebrated for his seminal work on such dynamics during the 1960s, Gitlin now he explains everything that’s happened since, with passion and wisdom–and happily, because of Bushism’s collapse, legitimate optimism about the future.” –Michael Tomasky, editor, Guardian America

“An impassioned yet realistic plea for Democrats and liberals to become more serious about politics. They would do well to follow his advice.” –Alan Wolfe, Director, Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, Boston College

“A brilliant and indispensable book. Gitlin convincingly urges liberals to take seriously the greater difficulty the Democrats have forging cohesion among identity based groups over the Republicans persuading the less diverse Republican base to bury disagreements in the drive for victory. Gitlin argues, Democrats will have to bite the bullet and unite under a big tent. A hard lesson for ardent newcomers to the movement to swallow, Gitlin is dead right.” –Thomas B. Edsall, Special Correspondent, The New Republic

“This is an indispensable book by one of our most gifted public intellectuals. Todd Gitlin explains–with splendid scholarship, reporting, and wit–how the Bush machine debased our political life and how progressives, in all their variety, are struggling to build a new majority. It is the best guide we have to America’s recent past and its possible future.” –Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan and professor of history, Georgetown University


intellectualsPraise for The Intellectuals and the Flag
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“How might one reconcile patriotism with dissent? Love of country with the critical spirit? Grounded commitment with the Great Refusal? Have the events of September 11 changed the nature of our response? These are just some of the topical themes that Todd Gitlin addresses in his luminous new study, The Intellectuals and the Flag. Here is Gitlin at his best: lucid, insightful, thought-provoking, and broad-minded. A latter-day Tom Paine, Gitlin is quite simply the most informed voice writing in America today about the volatile interface between politics and culture.” — Richard Wolin, City University of New York, author of The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism

“Of all the voices to be heard since 9/11, Todd Gitlin’s is among the most welcome. While others—on left and right—have lost their heads, Gitlin has used the occasion to rethink and reassert where he stands on questions of power, political authority, civic engagement, patriotism, and much else. This is a bracing and admirable book.” — Mark Lilla, University of Chicago, author of The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics

“Todd Gitlin has joined Irving Howe, Michael Walzer, Michael Harrington, and Christopher Lasch in the ranks of our nation’s most brilliant, important, and perceptive social critics. The Intellectuals and the Flag will confirm that reputation. Gitlin is fearless: he challenges the status quo and his own side. He insists that the Left has a moral obligation to stop marginalizing itself and to change the country by appealing to our traditions of democracy, equality and community. We need critics who are patriots—and patriots who are critics. Gitlin shows that patriotism need not be, and should not be, the last refuge of scoundrels.” —E. J. Dionne Jr., author of Why Americans Hate Politics and Stand Up Fight Back


Gitlin argues for a renewed sense of patriotism based on the ideals of sacrifice, tough-minded criticism, and a willingness to look anew at the global role of the United States in the aftermath of 9/11. Merely criticizing and resisting the Bush administration will not do—the left must also imagine and propose an America reformed.

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Also by Todd Gitlin: (Click on the covers to purchase the book.)

Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives Letters to a Young Activist Inside Primetime The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage The Whole World is Watching
Other books by Todd Gitlin 

The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America Is Wracked by Culture Wars
Uptown: Poor Whites in Chicago (co-author)
Sacrifice (novel)
The Murder of Albert Einstein (novel)
Busy Being Born (poetry)

Books Edited by Todd Gitlin:

Watching Television


Todd Gitlin is a professor of journalism and sociology, and chair of the Ph. D. program in communications, at Columbia University in New York City.  He teaches courses on media and society, on the Sixties, and  sections of Columbia College’s core course, Contemporary Civilization.

Fall 2008:  The Sixties (American Studies)

Spring 2009:  Contemporary Civilization II

Communications Research seminar (only for Ph. D. students working on dissertations)

Special Topics:  Conceptualizing the Internet (only for Ph. D. students)


Photo:  Jill Krementz

Photo: Jill Krementz

Todd Gitlin, an American writer, sociologist, communications scholar, novelist, poet, and not very private intellectual, is the author of sixteen books, including Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives; The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America Is Wracked by Culture Wars; The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage; Inside Prime Time; The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left; Occupy Nation:  The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street; The Chosen Peoples:  America, Israel, and the Ordeals of Divine Election (co-author); The Bulldozer and the Big Tent: Blind Republicans, Lame Democrats, and the Recovery of American Ideals; The Intellectuals and the Flag; Letters to a Young Activist; Uptown: Poor Whites in Chicago (co-author); three novels, Undying, Sacrifice and The Murder of Albert Einstein; and a book of poetry, Busy Being Born. These books have been translated into Japanese, Korean, Chinese, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. He also edited Watching Television and Campfires of the Resistance.

His forthcoming book is a novel set in the 1960s, The Opposition. An excerpt appears in the January/February 2018 issue of The Smithsonian.

He has contributed to many books and published widely in general periodicals (The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Boston Globe, Dissent, The New Republic, The Nation, Chronicle of Higher Education, Wilson Quarterly, Harper’s, American Journalism Review, Columbia Journalism Review, The American Prospect, The Occupied Wall Street Journal, LA Review of Books, Washington Spectator, et al.), online magazines (,,, and scholarly journals. In 2016-17, he wrote regular commentary on America’s political disasters for He is also a member of the editorial board of Dissent. Previously, he was a columnist at the New York Observer and the San Francisco Examiner, and a regular op-ed contributor to the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Newsday. His poems have appeared in The New York Review of Books, Yale Review, The New Republic, and Raritan.

In 2000, Sacrifice won the Harold U. Ribalow Prize for books on Jewish themes. The Sixties and The Twilight of Common Dreams were Notable Books in the New York Times Book Review. Inside Prime Time received the nonfiction award of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association; The Sixties was a finalist for that award and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.

He holds degrees from Harvard University (mathematics), the University of Michigan (political science), and the University of California, Berkeley (sociology). He was the third president of Students for a Democratic Society, in 1963-64, and coordinator of the SDS Peace Research and Education Project in 1964-65, during which time he helped organize the first national demonstration against the Vietnam War and the first American demonstrations against corporate aid to the apartheid regime in South Africa. During 1968-69, he was an editor and writer for the San Francisco Express Times, and through 1970 wrote widely for the underground press.  In 2003-06, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Greenpeace USA.

He is now a professor of journalism and sociology and chair of the Ph. D. program in Communications at Columbia University. Earlier, he was for sixteen years a professor of sociology and director of the mass communications program at the University of California, Berkeley, and then for seven years a professor of culture, journalism and sociology at New York University. During 1994-95, he held the chair in American Civilization at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He has been the Bosch Fellow in Public Policy at the American Academy in Berlin, a resident at the Bellagio Study Center in Italy and at the Djerassi Foundation in Woodside, California, a fellow at the Media Studies Center in New York, and a visiting professor at Yale University, the University of Oslo, the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, East China Normal University in Shanghai, the Institut Supérieur des Langues de Tunis in Tunisia, the American University of Cairo, and the Université de Neuchatel (Switzerland).

He lectures frequently on culture and politics in the United States and abroad (Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Greece, Turkey, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, Morocco, Egypt). He has appeared on many National Public Radio programs including Fresh Air as well as PBS, ABC, CBS and CNN. He lives in New York City with his wife, Laurel Cook.