Bill Moyers and Sheldon Wolin 2008 Video I
Bill Moyers and Sheldon Wolin 2008 Video II
Wolin’s work addresses participatory democracy with primary focus on the United States.
He makes a distinction between democracy as system of governance
and any of the formal political institutions of the state.
In other words,
he decouples democracy from governance
and towards a political system based on democratic principles.
Sheldon S. Wolin (born August 4, 1922) is an American political philosopher and writer
on contemporary politics.
He is currently Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.
His most famous work is Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought.
In 1950, Wolin received his Harvard University doctorate for a dissertation titled Conservatism and Constitutionalism:
A Study in English Constitutional Ideas, 1760–1785. After teaching briefly at Oberlin College,
Wolin taught at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1954 to 1970.
In a political science department that was largely composed of empirical studies of micro-political issues,
Wolin was a political theorist who managed to build that component of the program by bringing
Norman Jacobson, John Schaar, and Hanna Pitkin into the department.
He was a major supporter and interpreter to the rest of the world
of the theory behind the Free Speech Movement,
and he became a mentor to one of the FSM’s more prominent activists,
Michael Lerner on whose Ph.D. committee he served.
He also published frequently for The New York Review of Books during the 1970s.
From 1973 through 1987, Wolin was Professor of Politics at Princeton University
where he mentored a large number of students
who have subsequently become leading figures in contemporary political theory,
including most notably: at Berkeley, Hanna Pitkin (Emeritus, Berkeley),
J. Peter Euben (Duke University) and Harlan Wilson (Oberlin), and at Princeton, Uday Mehta (Amherst College),
Wendy Brown(Berkeley), Frederick M. Dolan (Emeritus, Berkeley and California College of the Arts),
Dana Villa (Notre Dame), Nicholas Xenos (Massachusetts), Kirstie McClure (UCLA)
and Cornel West (Princeton).
At Princeton, Wolin led a successful faculty effort to pass a resolution urging university trustees
to divest from endowment investment in firms that supported South African apartheid.
Aside from Oberlin, UC Berkeley and Princeton,
Wolin has also taught at UC Santa Cruz, UC Los Angeles, International Christian University (Tokyo, Japan),
Cornell University, and Oxford University.
US President Lyndon Johnson (right) meets with special assistant Bill Moyers in the Oval Office, White House, Washington, DC, 29 November, 1963. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)