Today, James Miller will present “Can Democracy Work? A Short History of a Radical Idea, from Ancient Athens to Our World,” at 5:30pm in the Heritage Room on the 5th floor of the Weinberg Memorial Library. This event is co-sponsored by the Humanities Initiative and the Schemel Forum.
James Miller is Professor of Politics and Liberal Studies, and Faculty Director of the MA in Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism at The New School for Social Research. His latest book, Can Democracy Work? A Short History of a Radical Idea from Ancient Athens to Our World, has just been published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
He is the author of six other books, including Flowers in the Dustbin: the Rise of Rock & Roll, 1947-1977, winner of an ASCAP-Deems Taylor award and a Ralph Gleason BMI award for best music book of 1999; The Passion of Michel Foucault (1993), an interpretive essay on the life of the French philosopher and a National Book Critics Circle Finalist for General Nonfiction, which has been translated into nine languages; “Democracy is in the Streets”: From Port Huron to the Siege of Chicago (1987), an account of the American student movement of the 1960s, also a National Book Critics Circle Finalist for General Nonfiction and recently recommended by Michael Kazin as one of the 5 essential books to understand the roots of the Occupy Wall Street movement (to read the article, please click here); Rousseau: Dreamer of Democracy (1984), a study of the origins of modern democracy; and History and Human Existence – From Marx to Merleau-Ponty, an analysis of Marx and the French existentialists.
The original editor of The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll (1976), he has written about music since the 1960s, when one of his early record reviews appeared in the third issue of Rolling Stone magazine. Subsequent pieces on music have appeared in The New Republic, The New York Times and Newsweek, where he was a book reviewer and pop music critic between 1981 and 1990. Pieces on philosophy and history have appeared in The London Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review. In 2000, the magazine Lingua Franca published his best-known essay, “Is Bad Writing Necessary? George Orwell, Theodor Adorno, and the Politics of Language.”
Besides publishing in such peer-reviewed academic journals as History and Theory and Political Theory, he has contributed to a variety of reference works, from Encyclopedia Britannica and A New Literary History of America, published by Harvard in 2009, to the Dictionnaire de philosophie morale edited by Monique Canto-Sperber in 1996.
From 2000 to 2008, he edited Daedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, an NEH Fellow twice, and in 2006-2007 he was a Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. A native of Chicago, he was educated at Pomona College in California, and at Brandeis University, where he received a Ph.D. in the History of Ideas in 1976.