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Crispin Gallagher Sartwell (born 1958) is an American philosopher, self-professed individualist anarchist and journalist. He received his B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park, his M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia—where his dissertation supervisor was Richard Rorty—-and is currently a member of the faculty of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Born in Washington, D.C., he is the son of the late Franklin Gallagher Sartwell, a reporter, editor, and photographer with the Washington Star and several magazines. His grandfather, also Franklin Gallagher Sartwell, was a columnist and editorial page editor at the Washington Times-Herald. His great-grandfather, Herman Bernstein broke the story of a secret correspondence between Kaiser Wilhelm and Czar Nicholas during World War I in The New York Times. Sartwell himself worked as a copy boy at the Washington Star and later as a freelance rock critic for many publications, including Record Magazine and Melody Maker. He has taught philosophy, communication and political science at a number of schools, including Vanderbilt University, The University of Alabama, Penn State, Millersville, the Maryland Institute College of Art, and Dickinson College.
His mother, Joyce Abell, and stepfather, Richard Abell, were schoolteachers in Montgomery County, Maryland and organic vegetable farmers in Rappahannock County, Virginia. Richard Abell was a conscientious objector during World War 2. Sartwell's first wife was artist Rachael K. Pats, with whom he has two children, Emma and Samuel Sartwell. His second wife was author Marion Winik. He lives in rural Pennsylvania.
Sartwell's syndicated column, distributed by Creators Syndicate, appeared in numerous newspapers through the 1990s and 2000s, including The Philadelphia Inquirer and Los Angeles Times. Among the most idiosyncratic newspaper columnists of the period, he is a self-described adherent of anarchism. He is the author of such books as Obscenity, Anarchy, Reality and Six Names of Beauty. In 2008 SUNY Press published his book Against the State: An Introduction to Anarchist Political Theory, which is an "irreverent and incisive critique of liberal theories of the state."
- The Art of Living. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995.
- Obscenity, Anarchy, Reality. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.
- Act Like You Know: African-American Autobiography and White Identity. Chicago, University Of Chicago Press, 1998.
- End of Story: Toward an Annihilation of Language and History. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000.
- Extreme Virtue: Leadership and Truth in Five Great American Lives. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003.
- Six Names of Beauty. New York: Routledge, 2004.
- Exquisite Rebel: The Essays of Voltairine de Cleyre — Anarchist, Feminist, Genius (Co-edited with Sharon Presley). Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005.
- Against the State: An Introduction to Anarchist Political Theory. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008.
- Knowledge Without Justification.
- Political Aesthetics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010.
- Crispinsartwell.com, column archives and other writings.
- Eye of the Storm, Crispin Startwell's blog, hosted on blogs.com.
- "American Philosophy?", "American Philosopher", YouTube, June 27, 2007.
- "Crispin Sartwell - Anarchist Philosopher", "ReasonTV", YouTube, January 13, 2009.