About Professor Ruth O'Brien

Professor Ruth O'Brien, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY)/ & Honorary Unaffiliated Academic Book Series Editor for The Public Square, Princeton University Press & Heretical Thought, Oxford University Press, USA Last book: Out of Many, One: Obama & the Third American Political Tradition (U of Chicago 2013). Social Media training by 365 Publics. Nickname: Professorette by Rush Limbaugh (see http://www.gc.cuny.edu/Faculty/Core-Bios/Ruth-O-Brien)

New Heretical Thought Titles

Massimiliano Tomba’s Insurgent Universality: An Alternative Legacy of Modernity was published this fall in the Oxford University Press Heretical Thought series, where I serve as the book series editor.

Max’s book

“Aims to bridge European and non-European contexts in alternative trajectories of modernity and radical political experiments

Challenges the dominant conceptualization of juridical “universalism” and proposes a conception of insurgent universality that is rooted in alternative traditions of modernity

Provides a new historical-theoretical framework in which multiple temporal layers coexist and conflict with each other.”

Several years ago, Max served as a Fellow at the Committee on Globalization and Social Change at the Graduate Center. Max left his university professorship in Italy and recently moved to the well-known, and iconic, University of California, Santa Cruz, Historical Consciousness Department.

More Women in Congress?

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Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.)

We’ll see if we get more female politicians today. A minimum of 20 percent women, an old law-school study said, is necessary in any institution to change the agenda. In the outgoing Congress, the House has 19 percent and the Senate has 23 percent. While more women than ever have run for office, the amount of violence (i.e. death threats, harassment) is enough to turn anyone away from reading the news. I’m beginning to hear women from Hollywood to Washington start to roar.

Playing Her Cards Wright

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Brilliant. Well done. Talk about lemons and lemonade. House of Cards did it. They turned Kevin Spacey’s sexual-harassment death (i.e. Netflix had the strength to fire him) into a great piece about women and the humiliation of intimate-partner violence, misogyny, and sexism. Robin Wright and Diane Lane gave powerful performances as women who like being extremely powerful and even in charge — the oligarch and the president. They are bitter rivals and — spoiler alert — both of them are going to survive, and the strongest will kill the embodiment of the system of misogyny, sexism, and intimate-partner violence.

To be sure, Michael Dobbs wrote a three-part play out of real life in Maggie Thatcher’s court and Netflix turned it into 70-odd episodes; still, it was quite masterful in that it went from being your typical inside-the-court White House drama to one that tries to slay misogyny. I could not help but wonder about the chicken and the egg when it came to the choice of Robin Wright and Diane Lane, who themselves had to fight for their own dignity in real life as they both were married to men who were accused of intimate-partner violence.

This was obviously timed to try to influence the election. New seasons used to be released in the spring, but now it’s the fall, for all those people who dive into fiction rather than watching CNN or Fox News or daring to read a newspaper that contains all the evidence that we live in a rape culture, i.e. the Trump presidency.

A Public Square Author Won a Million

150506426 Congratulations, Martha!  Here is the University of Chicago’s story about their faculty member and Public Square author Professor Martha Nussbaum. As editor of the Public Square series, which has won over 17 prizes for only 9 books published over 14 years, I do not find this surprising.  After all, Professor Nussbaum’s Public Square book, Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanitieswas a great success in more ways than one.  Not only does her work help democracy by helping to save the humanities, but the book sold exceedingly well.  As Rob Tempio, the in-house Princeton University Press senior editor of Philosophy, Classics, and Political Theory, explained it to me: Many philanthropic boards and universities bought copies of Not for Profit for their whole board to make the point that is in the title — Why Democracy Needs the Humanities. It’s a vital message, and I’m glad The Public Square was able to help Professor Nussbaum spread the word.

Rock Bottom

unknown Let the Games begin!  As a nation, the United States (yes, all the states) of America (the continent we share with Canada and Central America), we have hit rock bottom — or very close to it. Here are the Headlines: Kavanaugh (a.k.a. “the Trigger”); Democrats take Midterms; and 2020 goes to . . . the Democratic nominee, of course. Social movements against Trump are NOW thriving.  Two cheers for that. P.S. I was sorry I missed my U.S. Capitol Page High School Reunion.  I’m not going to share the graduation date, haha.

Santorum Says

The brave woman who appeared before the Senate, Senator Rick Santorum, Mr. “Man on Dog,” was “authentic.”  Before he could utter the “but,” I turned CNN off.  Well, this says it all.  We don’t have to hear any more. Or Brett shouldn’t have to hear any more; he needs to withdraw.

Ruth O’Brien, editor, Telling Stories Out of Court: Narratives about Women and Workplace Discrimination
I, for one (among the many who are now demonstrating in the #MeToo social movement), have experienced too much harassment and assault.  Having gone to the local police and family courts for protection from a harasser — where if I sat in the chair I always received relief — was hard.

My last memory in the Domestic Violence Hearing Officers room less than five years ago was hearing the chains rattle on the men incarcerated in the basement below.  I asked the hearing officer what that noise was and she explained: The men below were chained so that everyone in the room above could hear them.

For me, this only heightened my fear of reprisal from this man, a former husband, a father, and a respected scholar.  Then I had to sign something saying that I knew I would increase my chances of being killed violently and having my sons killed if I proceeded to ask the State of New Jersey for help.  Again, it was hard.

All we know now is that even Senator Susan Collins is having reservations.  She can see, too, that no public servant like him should be confirmed.