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Articles by Robert Jensen

What can people think of doing when they have little money?

Agriculture and Human Values · June, 2020

COVID-19 already has sparked thoughts of long-term economic hardship, with a recession unavoidable and a depression possible. Only a few weeks into the pandemic, countless citizens are struggling to make ends meet. And this acute crisis doesn’t change the need to reduce our use of fossil fuels if we are to head-off the more serious ecological and health consequences of greenhouse gas accumulations. If we are to meet a zero-fossil carbon target by 2050, economic hardship will be part of the equation.


Apocalypse, Now and Forever: Review of “Notes from an Apocalypse: A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back” · March, 2020

Notes from an Apocalypse: A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back is a thoughtful, engaging book that ends in failure. But Mark O’Connell shouldn’t take that assessment too personally. His book fails in the way that his culture—the modern, cosmopolitan, left/liberal, individualist culture—routinely fails in the face of multiple, cascading ecological crises.


Review: ‘Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity’

Feminist Current · February, 2020

Peggy Orenstein insists that we not flinch in uncomfortable conversations with boys and men about the dark side of sexuality. In her new book, Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity, she reports on her refreshingly honest interviews with guys about how they understand what it means to “be a man” in the sexual arena.


Pornography undermines the #MeToo movement · December, 2019

[An edited version of this essay appeared in the Houston Chronicle.]

The #MeToo movement fights back against sexual harassment and assault, rejecting the idea that women exist for men’s sexual pleasure.

But alongside the growing success of that movement, the pornography industry continues to thrive by presenting explicit images that sexualize exactly this idea — that women exist to serve men’s desires, whatever those desires might be, no matter how much humiliation and suffering they impose on women.


Masculinity: Toxic, Healthy, or Human?

Good Men Project · December, 2019

Increased attention on men’s violence against women has focused attention on not only rape and sexual harassment but also on the cultural support system for such behavior. While only a small fraction of men violate the law, lots of men engage in less blatant forms of aggressive and coercive behavior that injure and undermine women, and even more men are bystanders who fail to challenge other men’s abuse.


Pornography normalizes rape: An interview with Robert Jensen (in Spanish and English) · October, 2019

We face what I call “the paradox of pornography.” In the past three decades, the period in which I’ve been studying the issue, two trends are undoubtedly clear. First, the content of commercial heterosexual pornography has become more overtly cruel and degrading to women, and more overtly racist. Second, pornography has become more mainstream and acceptable in the culture. In a civilized society, how can a media genre move closer to the center of popular culture, and be more sexist and racist at the same time? The painful answer is that we may not be as civilized as we like to think.


Disagreeing Reasonably in a Complex World: A review of ‘The Case Against Free Speech’

Dissident Voice · October, 2019

In my last couple years of university teaching before retiring, I repeated two catch phrases as often as possible—“reasonable people can disagree” and “if two things are both true, then both are relevant.”


Radical Feminism: A Gift to Men

Voice Male magazine · September, 2019

I spent the first half of my life trying to be a “normal” guy. That project didn’t go so well. The good news is that in the second half of my life I gave up trying, and things got better.

What led me to change course? An unexpected interaction with radical feminist writings that offered a critique of patriarchy, followed by the opportunity to meet radical feminists living in a patriarchal society who were working to advance the radical feminist critique of pornography and of men’s sexual exploitation of women in patriarchy.


The Danger of Inspiration: A Review of ‘On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal’ · September, 2019

Naomi Klein’s new book is essential reading, but does it go far enough in confronting the grim realities we truly face?


From the Royal to the Prophetic to the Apocalyptic: The Case for a Saving Remnant · August, 2019

The royal, prophetic, and apocalyptic traditions in the Hebrew and Christian bibles provide a compelling framework for understanding progressive intellectual and political work today, as we face the task not only of struggling to create a just and sustainable world but also imagining a saving remnant that will negotiate a radically different future in which both new and old skills, stories, and spaces will be necessary.


Let’s get ‘creaturely’: A new worldview can help us face ecological crises · April, 2019

No farmer has ever gone out to the barn to start the day and discovered that a baby tractor had been born overnight. For farmers who work with horses, the birth of a foal would not be surprising.

That observation may seem silly, but it highlights an important contrast: Machines cannot reproduce or maintain themselves. Creatures can.

The tractor comes out of the industrial mind, while the horse is creaturely. The tractor is the product of an energy-intensive human-designed system, while the horse is the product of an information-intensive biological process that emerges from earth and sun.


Growing a Green New Deal: Agriculture’s Role in Economic Justice and Ecological Sustainability · February, 2019

Propelled by the energy of progressive legislators elected in the 2018 midterms elections, a “Green New Deal” has become part of the political conversation in the United States, culminating in a resolution in the U.S. House with 67 cosponsors and a number of prominent senators lining up to join them. Decades of activism by groups working on climate change and other ecological crises, along with a surge of support in recent years for democratic socialism, has opened up new political opportunities for serious discussion of the intersection of social justice and sustainability.

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