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Think in Public

A Public Books Reader

Edited by: Sharon Marcus and Caitlin Zaloom
With contributions of: Judith Butler, Fred Turner, Lilly Irani, Stacey Balkan, Imani Perry, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Nathan Connolly, Matthew Engelke, Philip Gorski, Kim Phillips-Fein, Max Holleran, Najwa al-Qattan, Jeremy Adelman, Destin Jenkins, Andrew Perrin, Kieran Setiya, Shannon Mattern, Jill Lepore, Suzy Hansen, James Vernon, Lynn French, Salamishah Tillet, Matthew Clair, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Ursula K. Le Guin, John Plotz, Christopher Schaberg, Eli Rosenblatt, Barbara Cassin, Rebecca Falkoff, Haruo Shirane, Karl Ashoka Britto, Joseph Jonghyun Jeon, Marah Gubar, Anne E. Fernald, Namwali Serpell, Tess McNulty, Mark McGurl, Nicholas Dames, Jan Mieszkowski, Karen Dunak, Daegan Miller,  and John R. McNeill
Think in Public presents a selection of inspiring essays that exemplify the distinctive approach of the online magazine Public Books to public scholarship. Today’s leading thinkers offer a guide to the most exciting contemporary ideas about literature, politics, economics, history, race, capitalism, gender, technology, and climate change.

Author Information


Sharon Marcus is the Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She is the author of Apartment Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London(California, 1999) and Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England (Princeton, 2007), and Editor-in-Chief of Public Books.ZaloomCaitlin:

Caitlin Zaloom is an associate professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and a senior fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. She is the author of Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London(Chicago, 2006) and Editor-in-Chief of Public Books.ButlerJudith:

Judith Butler (PhD, Philosophy, Yale) is the Maxine Eliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and
Comparative Literature and the Program of Critical Theory (of which she was the Founding Director) at the University of California at Berkeley. Among her many works are Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France (Columbia, 2012), Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (Columbia, 2012), Antigone's Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (Columbia, 2002), and (with Jurgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cornel West) The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere (Columbia, 2011).PerrinAndrew:

Andrew J. Perrin is Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author of American Democracy: Toqueville, Town Halls, and Twitter (Polity 2014) and Citizen Speak: The Democratic Imagination in American Life (Chicago 2006).SpivakGayatri Chakravorty:

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (PhD, Comparative Literature, Cornell) is University Professor, and a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. Among her many books are Death of a Discipline (Columbia, 2003) and A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Towards a History of the Vanishing Present (Harvard, 1999); her influential article "Can the Subaltern Speak?" was published in the volume Marxism and Contemporadry Cultuere (Illinois, 1988). Her interests include the politics of culture, postcolonial theory, 19th and 20th-century literature, and globalization.DamesNicholas:

Nicholas Dames (PhD, English, Harvard) is Theodore Kahan Professor of Humanities at Columbia University. He is the author of Amnesiac Selves: Nostalgia, Forgetting, and Brigtish Fiction, 1810-1870 (Oxford, 2001) and The Physiology of the Novel: Reading, Neural Science, and the Form of Victorian Fiction (Oxford, 2007). I chose him as a reader for his broad interests, publications on contemporary fiction in popular media (Atlantic, n+1, New Left Review, New Yorker, and The Nation), and coeditorship of the Rereadings series (Columbia) and Public Books.Sharon Marcus and Caitlin Zaloom are the founders and editors in chief of Public Books. Marcus is Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her books include Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England (2007) and The Drama of Celebrity (2019). Zaloom is associate professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University. She is the author of Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London (2006) and Indebted: How Families Make College Work At Any Cost (2019).


Lisa Wade, author of American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus:
This book is a call to arms. We must tear down the ivory tower, discard attachments to credentials and prestige, and share ideas across borders, disciplines, and party lines. Think in Public does just this, engaging readers in conversations between today’s top scholars, the works that inspire them, and the watershed issues of our day.

Rob Nixon, author of Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor:
An astonishing collection. Eloquent, expansive, provocative, and essential.

Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom:
This timely, innovative, and important collection represents the best of public scholarship. The stunning essays in this volume demonstrate the significance of Public Books as a crucial online space for anyone committed to engaging ideas that shape the world in which we live. The sheer brilliance and vitality of this digital platform boldly shine through every page of this book.

Audience: General/trade;