Corey Robin (born 1967) is an American political theorist, journalist and professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has written books on the role of fear in political life, tracing its presence from Aristotle through the war on terror, and on the nature of conservatism in the modern world, from Edmund Burke to Donald Trump. Most recently, he is the author of a revisionist study of Justice Clarence Thomas that argues that the mainspring of Thomas's jurisprudence is a combination of black nationalism and black conservatism.
Although he is on the left, Robin is unique among political theorists in focusing his attention on the darker arts of politics on the right: counterrevolution, political repression and intimidation, revanchism and reaction. He has brought the issues outside academic circles, writing frequently for mainstream outlets and venues. Raised in Chappaqua, New York, Robin graduated from Princeton University and received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1999.
Robin is the author of the books Fear: The History of a Political Idea, which won the Best First Book in Political Theory Award from the American Political Science Association, and The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin. Upon publication in 2011, The Reactionary Mind immediately generated tremendous controversy and discussion, including an extended back and forth in the letters page of The New York Review of Books as well as an article on the controversy in The New York Times. But with the ascent of Donald Trump, the book came to be seen as one of the most prescient analyses of modern American politics, leading The New Yorker, in a lengthy reconsideration of the book, to call it "the book that predicted Trump." A second edition of The Reactionary Mind was published in 2018 with a new subtitle, "From Edmund Burke to Donald Trump", and was received positively.
As interim director at the Graduate Center for Worker Education at Brooklyn College in 2013, Robin was part of the decision-making process to restructure the program. In a Portside essay, Robin urged readers to ignore a petition protesting the elimination of funding. On August 1, 2013, Portside published a statement by Immanuel Ness, editor of WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society, also of Brooklyn College, countering Robin and urging that the petition be signed. Robin responded to these criticisms, providing a litany of details regarding his opinions about mismanagement and questionable use of the facility.
Robin has turned his attention to the case of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Often dismissed by the left, Thomas has become one of the more influential figures on the Court. Robin’s book, The Enigma of Clarence Thomas (2019), is the first to examine the black nationalist roots of Thomas’s jurisprudence and the first book from the left to take seriously Thomas's jurisprudence of the right. Although it has not yet been published, it has already garnered pre-publication plaudits from Kirkus Reviews (“a penetrating profile of the Supreme Court’s longest-serving justice”) and The Atlantic ("In his provocative new book, The Enigma of Clarence Thomas, Corey Robin...is deconstructing a sphinx, and his point carries the uncomfortable ring of truth.")
While Robin devotes much of his scholarly research to the right, he also writes extensively for newspapers and magazines about a wide variety of issues of concern on the left. In 2018, he wrote a widely noticed essay in the New York Times on the meaning of socialism today, which examines how Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are remaking a 19th-century tradition for the twenty-first century. He has written widely about the politics of labor and the workplace, and the recovery of freedom for the left. He also writes about intellectuals such as Hannah Arendt, Eric Hobsbawm, Cass Sunstein, and Ta-Nehisi Coates.
- Fear: The History of a Political Idea (2004). New York and London. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515702-8.
- The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin (2011). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-979374-3.
- The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Donald Trump (2018). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0190692001.
- The Enigma of Clarence Thomas (2019). Metropolitan Books. ISBN 9781627793834
- "Endgame" (2004). Boston Review (February/March 2004).
- "Strangers in the Land" (2006). The Nation (March 23, 2006).
- "Out of Place" (2008). The Nation (June 4, 2008).
- "The Fear of the Liberals". The Nation (September 26, 2005).
- "Eric Hobsbawm, the Communist Who Explained History" The New Yorker (May 9, 2019).
- "The Plight of the Political Convert" The New Yorker (January 23, 2019).
- "The New Socialists" The New York Times (August 26, 2018), Sunday Review, 1.
- "Forget About It" Harper’s (April 2018), 5-7.
- "How Intellectuals Create a Public" The Chronicle Review (January 22, 2016), B10-14.
- "The Trials of Hannah Arendt" The Nation (June 1, 2015), 12-25.
- "Achieving Disunity" London Review of Books (October 25, 2012), 23-25.
- "The Ex-Cons: Right-Wing Thinkers Go Left!". Lingua Franca (January 2001). pp. 24–33
- "Faculty Profile - Brooklyn College". www.brooklyn.cuny.edu. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- "Is Corey Robin the Ultimate Facebook Lefty, Twitter Radical, and Anti-Zionist Scourge?". Tablet Magazine. January 7, 2015.
- Robin, E. Corey (24 August 1999). "Fear: Biography of an idea". Dissertation Abstracts International. Retrieved 24 August 2018 – via orbis.library.yale.edu Library Catalog.
- Robin, Corey (February 23, 2012). "The Reactionary Mind: An Exchange". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
- Schuessler, Jennifer (January 18, 2012). "Online Fracas for a Critic of the Right". The New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
- "Conservatives and Counterrevolutionaries: Corey Robin's "The Reactionary Mind"". Los Angeles Review of Books.
- "A Book for Reactionary Times". The New Republic.
- "Reconsidering "The Reactionary Mind" in the age of you-know-who". Salon.
- "Corey Robin: Please Do Not Sign Brooklyn College Worker Ed Petition". Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- "Support Worker Education at CUNY - Response to Corey Robin - Still Another Perspective on Worker Ed Program". Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- "More Information on Brooklyn College Worker Ed Center". coreyrobin.com. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- "The New Socialists". The New York Times.
- "The Trials of Hannah Arendt". The Nation.
- "Eric Hobsbawm, the Communist Who Explained History". The New Yorker.
- "How Intellectuals Create a Public". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
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