Associate Professor

Bruce Baum (Ph.D. Minnesota) works in modern and contemporary political theory. His primary research and teaching interests are in the areas of critical social theory (including critical “race” theory, feminist theory, critical hermeneutics, and issues of cross-cultural interpretation); American political thought and cultural politics; the political theories of Mill and Marx; and philosophy of political inquiry; liberal and democratic theory. His most recent books are two co-edited volumes: (with Duchess Harris), Racially Writing the Republic: Racists, Race Rebels, and Transformations of American Identity (Duke University Press, 2009); and (with Robert Nichols), Isaiah Berlin and the Politics of Freedom: ‘Two Concept of Liberty’ Fifty Years Later (Routledge, 2013); and The Post-Liberal Imagination: Political Scenes from the American Cultural Landscape (Palgrave/Macmillon, 2016). His current project is tentatively titled “Identities and Indignities: Critical Theory and the Politics of Equality, Identity, and Difference.”

PhD Supervisions

Daniel Drugge, “Of Tyranny and Tragedy: Isaiah Berlin and the Ends of Politics” (PhD, 2013).

Serbulent Turan, “Patterns of Obedience: Dreams, Demons and the Dead” (in progress, 2012-)

Camille Desmares, hermeneutics of ethno-national identity, in-progress.

MA Supervisions

Justin Cheng, “Harmful Speech? Free Expression and the Politics of Recognition” (2007)

Devon Lougheed, “No Skinny Chicks: On the Deliberative Capacity of Pro-Anorexics” (2007)

Tom Maleson, “A Defense of Workplace Democracy” (2007)

James Heilman, “The Effect of Techniques of the Self on Charles Taylor’s Conception of Positive Freedom” (2008)

Joshua Bicknell, “The Meaning of Violence: A Journey of Understanding through the Rift Valley of Kenya” (2010)

Jonathan Sas, “Fossil Fuel, Capitalism, and the State: A Critical Approach to the International Climate Change Discourse” (2010).

Michelle Chrandra, “The Black/White Wealth Gap: the Transgenerational Effects of Post-Reconstruction Sharecropping and Racial Systems on African Americans Today” (2010).

Emily Atkinson, “Habermas, Biopwer, and the Regulation of Genetically Modified Seeds and Crops in Canada” (2013).

Gabrielle Levesque, “Gilligan’s Ethics of Care and Foucault’s Genealogy of the Subject: A Genealogy of the Female Self” (2013).

Boaz Sharoni, “A theory of Justice for all: rethinking our relationships with non-human animals,” in progress.


The Post-Liberal Imagination: Political Scenes from the American Cultural Landscape (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2016).                                                                                                                              

Isaiah Berlin and the Politics of Freedom: ‘Two Concept of Liberty’ Fifty Years Later, co-edited with Robert Nichols (Routledge, 2013)

The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race: A Political History of Racial Identity (New York: New York University Press, 2006; paperback edition, 2008)

Click to read the Introduction to Rise and Fall

Advance notices for Rise and Fall:

“In charting the course of the ‘Caucasian race’ from a despised, barely European peoples to a scientific classification for white identity, Bruce Baum illuminates the socially constructed nature of race and the role of science in shaping it. His analysis of the changing fortunes of this curious concept demonstrates that even scientific inquiry is deeply influenced by the social and political assumptions of its time. By showing that the Caucasian race is a product of power rather than a racial group descended from the Caucasus region, The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race makes an important contribution to the study of race and whiteness.”
– Joel Olson, author of The Abolition of White Democracy

“An indispensable book. The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race takes the study of whiteness to a new level both historically and theoretically. No previous study of the familiar racial category—‘white’—has attained such global breadth and analytical depth. It remedies a significant gap in the social scientific study of race, providing an intellectual history of whiteness that is both erudite and accessible.”
– Howard Winant, author of The New Politics of Race: Globalism, Difference, Justice

“Clearly and stylishly written and argued. . . well-supported by wide-ranging research and striking knowledge. . . . The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race ranges across centuries and continents and moves from intellectual to political and social history gracefully.”
– David Roediger, author of The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class

“In racial discourse, the term ‘Caucasian’ has always had a scientific aura and a prestige elevated above that of the simpler colloquial ‘white.’ Bruce Baum’s fascinating and extensively researched genealogy of the concept and its subsequent career provides an eye-opening history of the utter bogusness of these pretensions. As such, the book is not merely an invaluable addition to the recent ‘whiteness’ literature and a documentation of the myriad shifting possibilities of racialization, but a salutary reminder of the political economy that always underlies the category ‘race.’”
– Charles W. Mills, author of The Racial Contract

Rereading Power and Freedom in J.S. Mill (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000)


“Decolonizing Critical Theory,” Constellations 22, no. 3 (September 2015): 420-34.

“Governing ‘Democratic’ Equality: Mill, Tawney, and Liberal Democratic Governmentality,” Political Research Quarterly 65, no. 4 (December 2012): 714-731.

“Apes, Humans, and Other Animals” (Film Review Essay: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Project Nim), New Political Science 34, no. 1 (March 2012): 111-121. 627-636.

Hollywood’s Crisis of Capitalism 2011: Inside Job, The Company Men, and the Myth of a Good Capitalism” (film review essay), New Political Science, 33, no. 4 (December 2011), 603-612.

“Humpday,” “Soul Power”, and the Politics of the Hip’, in New Political Science, Volume 32, Issue 2, June 2010, pages 309-314.

“J. S. Mill and Liberal Socialism,” in J. S. Mill’s Political Thought: A Bicentennial Reassessment, ed. Nadia Urbanati and Alex Zacharas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

“Rockin’ in the Free World” New Political Science, Volume 29 Issue 1 2007

“Feminist Politics of Recognition, ” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 29, nos 4 (Summer 2004).

“The Whiteness Problem of ‘Colorblind’ Policy and Multiculturalism: A Response to Joel Olson,” Stanford Agora: An Online Journal of Legal Perspectives 2, nos. 1 (March 2001).