Robert Jensen

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For the American theologian, see Robert Jenson. For the host of the Dutch late night talk show, see Jensen!.
Robert Jensen
Robert Jensen speaking at York University.jpg
Robert Jensen speaking at York University after "The Heart of Whiteness" was published.
Born Robert William Jensen
(1958-07-14) July 14, 1958 (age 57)
Institutions University of Texas at Austin College of Communication
Alma mater University of Minnesota
Thesis Knowing Pornography (1992)
Main interests
Journalism and mass communication
Principal ideas
Media law, ethics, and politics
Major works
Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity

Robert William Jensen (born July 14, 1958),[1] has been professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin College of Communication since 1992. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in media law, ethics, and politics.

In his research, Jensen draws on a variety of critical theories. As a radical feminist, Jensen has focused much of his work on the radical feminist critique of pornography and of masculinity. He also has written about white privilege and institutional racism.

Early life[edit]

Jensen grew up in North Dakota.[2]


In 1981, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from Moorhead State University (now Minnesota State University, Moorhead), and in 1985, he received a Master of Arts degree in journalism and public affairs from American University. In 1992 he completed his Ph.D. in media law and ethics in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota.

Career and activism[edit]

Prior to his academic career, he worked as a reporter and copy editor for several newspapers, including the St. Petersburg Times and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.[3]

In addition to teaching and research, Jensen writes for popular media, both alternative and mainstream.[4] His opinion and analytic pieces on such subjects as foreign policy, politics, and race have appeared in papers around the U.S. He also is involved in a number of activist groups working against U.S. military and economic domination, including the Third Coast Activist Resource Center.[5]


9/11 opinion piece[edit]

Jensen drew widespread attention for an opinion piece he wrote for the Houston Chronicle on September 14, 2001, shortly after the September 11th terrorist attacks.[6]

In the piece, Jensen wrote that the September 11th terrorist attacks were "reprehensible and indefensible" but "no more despicable than the massive acts of terrorism – the deliberate killing of civilians for political purposes – that the U.S. government has committed during my lifetime."[6]

Jensen's piece drew both praise and criticism. Some individuals demanded that The University of Texas fire Jensen. In response, University of Texas President Larry Faulkner wrote in a letter to the editor published in the Houston Chronicle that he was "disgusted by Jensen's article" and called Jensen "a fountain of undiluted foolishness on issues of public policy."[7]

Views on transgenderism[edit]

In early July 2014, MonkeyWrench Books collective cut all ties with Jensen over his article reviewing two feminist books that analyzed transgenderism.[8] In the review published by Dissident Voice, Jensen concluded that, "On the surface, transgenderism may seem to be a more revolutionary approach, but radical feminism offers a deeper critique of the domination/subordination dynamic at the heart of patriarchy and a more promising path to liberation."[9] which they felt "contributes to a dangerous culture of transphobia".[8] In addition, Dexter M. Thomas wrote a rebuttal which was also published by Dissident Voice.[10] Jensen responded by writing a follow-up article which elaborated on his views on the ecological and social implications of the trans ideology.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Jensen identifies as a Christian Radical.[12] Jensen is married to musician Eliza Gilkyson, they have two children.[13]

Selected works[edit]


  • Jensen, Robert; Allen, David S. (1995). Freeing the first amendment: critical perspectives on freedom of expression. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 9780814706381. 
  • Jensen, Robert; Dines, Gail; Russo, Ann (1997). Pornography: the production and consumption of inequality. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415918138. 
  • Jensen, Robert (2002). Writing dissent: taking radical ideas from the margins to the mainstream. New York: Peter Lang. ISBN 9780820456515. 
  • Jensen, Robert (2004). Citizens of the empire: the struggle to claim our humanity. San Francisco: City Lights. ISBN 9780872864320. 
  • Jensen, Robert (2005). The heart of whiteness: confronting race, racism and white privilege. San Francisco: City Lights. ISBN 9780872864498. 
  • Jensen, Robert (2007). Getting off: pornography and the end of masculinity. Cambridge, Massachusetts: South End Press. ISBN 9780896087767. 
  • Jensen, Robert (2009). All my bones shake: seeking a progressive path to the prophetic voice. Brooklyn: Soft Skull Press. ISBN 9781593763466. 
  • Jensen, Robert (2013). We are all apocalyptic now: on the responsibilities of teaching, preaching, reporting, writing, and speaking out. San Francisco: City Lights Books. ISBN 9781481958479. 
  • Jensen, Robert (2013). Arguing for our lives: critical thinking in crisis times. San Francisco: City Lights. ISBN 9780872865730. 
  • Jensen, Robert (2015). Plain radical: living, loving and learning to leave the planet gracefully. Berkeley, California: Soft Skull Press. ISBN 9781619026797. 

Book chapters[edit]

Journal articles[edit]

Review of: Kendall, Christopher N. (2004). Gay male pornography an issue of sex discrimination. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: UBC Press. ISBN 9780774851152. 




External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Jensen, Robert, 1958-". Library of Congress. Retrieved November 9, 2015. (Robert Jensen; b. July 14, 1958) 
  2. ^ Jensen, Robert (July 19, 1998). "Robert W. Jensen: White Privilege". University of Texas at Austin College of Communication. Retrieved April 24, 2011. 
  3. ^ Jensen, Robert. "Robert W. Jensen: Curriculum Vitae". University of Texas at Austin College of Communication. Retrieved April 24, 2011. 
  4. ^ Jensen, Robert. "Robert W. Jensen: Articles". University of Texas at Austin College of Communication. Retrieved April 24, 2011. 
  5. ^ Jensen, Robert. "Nuclear threats at home and abroad". Third Coast Activist Resource Center. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Jensen, Robert (September 14, 2001). "U.S. just as guilty of committing own violent acts". Houston Chronicle (Hearst Corporation). Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved November 9, 2015.  Also available through Common Dreams website.
  7. ^ Nichols, Lee (September 28, 2001). "War of Words". The Austin Chronicle (Nick Barbaro). Archived from the original on November 11, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b MonkeyWrench books collective (June 2014). "Smash the Cistem". MonkeyWrench books collective. Retrieved July 26, 2014. 
  9. ^ Jensen, Robert (June 13, 2014). "Some basic propositions about sex, gender, and patriarchy". Dissident Voice. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  10. ^ Thomas, Dexter M. (June 21, 2014). "Gender and sexual diversity". Dissident Voice. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  11. ^ Jensen, Robert (September 12, 2014). "Ecological and social implications of trans and climate change". Dissident Voice. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  12. ^ Jensen, Robert (June 5, 2009). "The Inquisition". Killing the Buddha. Retrieved April 24, 2011. 
  13. ^ Chotzinoff, Robin. "Eliza Gilkyson". Edible Austin. Retrieved November 9, 2015.