Barry Glassner is a professor of sociology and author or co-author of nine books, including The Culture of Fear, which discussed the culture of fear phenomenon. He says that many of Americans' concerns and fears are largely unfounded. In it, Glassner decries: "The use of poignant anecdotes in place of scientific evidence, the christening of isolated incidents as trends, depictions of entire categories of people as innately dangerous ... " A new and enlarged edition updated for the Trump era was published in late 2018.
Glassner's scholarly articles have been published in journals including the American Sociological Review, Social Problems, American Journal of Psychiatry, and Journal of Health and Social Behavior. His essays on social issues and on higher education have appeared in national newspapers including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chronicle of Higher Education, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times.
Glassner argues in The Gospel of Food (released in hardcover in January 2007 and paperback in January 2008) that much of what Americans read and hear about food is inaccurate and unhelpful. He discussed this topic in depth in his interview on the Skeptics' Guide podcast. Michael Moore interviewed him in the film Bowling for Columbine. Some statistics cited by Moore and a story about President George W. Bush mentioned in the film are from Glassner's writings.
The former president at Lewis & Clark College, Glassner was previously professor of sociology and executive vice provost at the University of Southern California. He has received a Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award, a visiting fellowship at Oxford University and "best book" designations from the Los Angeles Times book review, CHOICE magazine and Knight Ridder newspapers. His research specialties include cultural sociology, qualitative methods and media studies.
Glassner was appointed executive vice provost at USC in June 2005, following terms as chair of the Department of Sociology and as Myron and Marian Casden Director of USC's Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life. He served on USC's Development Committee, Provost's Advisory Committee and Budget Advisory Committee, among others.
Glassner has published his research in journals in the social sciences and medicine and was chair of academic departments at Syracuse University and the University of Connecticut prior to arriving at USC. He serves on the Advisory Board of GettingBetter Foundation.