Our Public Intellectuals


I am considering pursuing a career as a public intellectual. My esteemed professor advised that I do research so I can map out all the different public intellectuals out there and the various schools they follow. I am unsure about how truly complete my list is but this is what I’ve been able to assemble.

So many intellectuals, especially those who work in anthropology, politics, and social justice, also involve themselves in public education and activism. This is why my lists are so long. The stereotype of the armchair intellectual or professor doesn’t hold water most of the time.

The schools of thought are ordered based on what is important to me, and what I personally think should take the highest precedence in people’s minds if we are going to be a more intelligent, creative, and fulfilled species.

Black Feminism – One of the most important developments in feminism because it uses intersectionality. In other words, people experience many different social disadvantages that add on top of each other and make life harder. A good example is a black woman who has to endure the hardships of being black and being a woman. One can also be privileged in some ways but oppressed in others. A white queer woman has many privileges for being white yet still has disadvantages for being a woman and for being queer. Intersectionality is extremely important because it has the potential to unite different social justice groups who all suffer from the same status quo.

The theory womanism deals exclusively with the racial and gender oppression of black women. Triple Oppression describes classism, racism, and sexism.

Ida B. Wells
Bell Hooks
Angela Davis
Audre Lorde
Patricia Hill Collins
Alice Walker
Cornel West
Melissa Harris-Perry
Anita Hill
Clenora Hudson-Weems
Patricia J. Williams
Claudia Jones
Katie Geneva Cannon
Stacey M. Floyd-Thomas
Kimberle Williams Crenshaw
Audre Lorde
Barbara Smith

Black Civil Rights – Deals with the plights of racial minorities, especially those of African Americans. The history of black civil rights in America is truly a long one, so my list has people spanning a long period of time. Thus black civil rights has many different intellectual traditions. The most modern term is critical race theory. As the name suggests it takes critical theory to break down the ways racial minorities are oppressed worldwide in order to help minorities.

Olaudah Equiano
Frederick Douglas
Soujourner Truth
Booker T. Washington
Marcus Garvey
Zora Neale Hurston
Langston Hughes
Melissa Harris-Perry
Malcolm X
Martin Luther King Jr.
Henry Luois Gates Jr.
Cornel West
Anita Hill
Patricia J. Williams
Derrick Bell
James Baldwin
Michael Eric Dyson
W.E.B. DuBois
Kimberle Williams Crenshaw
Audre Lorde
Robin Morgan

Anarchism – Comes in many different strains from anarcho-communism, to anarcho-capitalism, to green anarchism, to anarcho-feminism. All strains of anarchism share a few things in common. These include abolishing hierarchical states, and replacing them with voluntary self-governed societies. As expected, anarchism has deep strains with critical theory, feminism, and civil rights. It is also not surprising that many anarchists have devoted a lot of their time for social justice.

Noam Chomsky
David Harvey
Voltairine de Cleynre
Emma Goldman
Peter Kropotkin
Alexander Berkman
Lucy Parsons
Margaret Sanger
Mother Jones
Max Weber
Mikhail Bakunin
Max Sterner
William Godwin
Rosa Luxemburg
Howard Zinn
Paulo Freire
Antonio Gramsci

Deep Green Resistance – I will also include Green Anarchism here, since I feel environmentalism isn’t being taken as seriously as it should.

Lierre Kieth
Derrick Jenson
Henry David-Thorough
Elisee Reclus
Leo Tolstoy
Murray Bookchin
John Zerzan
Jacques Ellul
Kevin Tucker
Leopold Kohr

3rd Wave Feminism – Arose partially as a response to the perceived failures of 2nd wave feminism and the backlashes against it. As such, 3rd wave feminism broadens its aims especially to queer and nonwhite women. Women are of “many colors, ethnicities, nationalities, religions and cultural backgrounds”. However, unlike 1sr and 2nd wave feminism, 3rd wave feminism is not as unified. Rather it is a patchwork of different feminists who share similar common goals. They still have their conflicts and differences of opinion, such as their differences regarding porn and prostitution.

Jessica Valenti
Naomi Wolff
Rebecca Walker
Alice Walker
Germaine Greer
Martha Nussbaum
Judith Butler
Amy Richards
Mari Matsuda
Rebecca Goldstein
Gloria E. Anzaldua
Sylvia Walby

Older Feminists – Such as radical feminists, but no less important.

Andrea Dworkin
Gloria Steinem
Gail Dines
Kate Millet
Nikki Craft
Catherine MacKinnon
D.A. Clarke
Rosetta Reitz
Florence Rush
Audre Lorde
Helene Cixous

Critical Theory – Though critical theory is used by a lot of the people I listed above, the people I list now are those who spent more time forging critical theory as a philosophy. Critical theory is critiquing societies and cultures; especially in the ways they oppress people, usually using the social sciences and humanities. Critical theory has been extremely influential in forging 20th century philosophy and the culture today.

Michael Foucault
Arnold J. Toynbee
Pitirim Sorokin
Carl Schmitt
Jacques Derrida
Stuart Hall
Louis Althusser
Herbert Marcuse
Max Horkheimer
Northrop Frye
Jurgen Habermas
Gyorgy Lukacs
Walter Benjamin
Slavoj Zizek
Karl Marx
Antonio Gramsci
Erich Fromm
Noam Chomsky
David Harvey

Conservative Political Philosophy – Unlike the many leftist schools of thought, some of them I listed above, conservative schools of thought are not be easily grouped into distinct ideologies. (Like “black feminist” or “anarcho-communist”.) Conservatism is less involved with forging new ideas or pushing an agenda forward to achieve certain goals. Rather it is a form of social critique and skepticism. It doesn’t necessarily value the past over the present but it does question whether human problems can be truly solved. Since conservatism is so broad a lot of people I list can even be considered liberal or a classic liberal.

Leo Strauss
Hannah Arendt
Martin Heidegger
Oswald Spengler
Theodore Darlymple
Peter Hitchins
Melanie Phillips
Frederich Hayek
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Barry Goldwater
Russel Kirk
Thomas Sowell
Edmund Burke
Francis Fukuyama
Samuel P. Huntington
Allan Bloom

Atheist Movement and Science Education – The general trend of these movements is liberal. They especially focus on promoting science and education while at the same time debunking pseudo-science and religious fundamentalism.

Neil DeGrass Tyson
Bill Nye
Carl Sagan
Richard Carrier
P.Z. Meyers
Rebecca Watson
David Fitzgerald
Matt Dillahunty
Robert M. Price
Daniel Dennet
Christopher Hitchins
Paul Davies
Richard Darwkins
Sam Harris

Anthropology and Biology – These intellectuals are most noticeable for their studies of humans, regarding anthropology and biology.

Margaret Mead
Steven Pinker
Stephen Jay Gould
Jarred Diamond
Eric Wolf
Anna Tsing
Ruth Benedict
Zora Neale Hurston
Franz Boas
Clifford Geertz
Claude Levi-Strauss
Mary Leakey
Diane Fossey
Marshall Sahlins
Alfred L. Kroeber
Sidney Mintz
Ralph Linton

Reactionary & Fascist – These political ideologies are usually very nationalistic and antagonistic to what they see as “liberalizing” influences. The milder types seek a restoration to what they see as their national heritage and privileges. The most extreme types seek to completely cast aside all forms of modernity, which they see as decadent.

Benito Mussolini
Aleksandr Dugin
Oswald Mosley
Adolf Hitler
Julius Evola
Warren Farrel
Philip Rushton
Alain de Benoist


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