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Theodore Roszak (scholar)

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Theodore Roszak
Roszak, late 1960s
Roszak, late 1960s
Born(1933-11-15)November 15, 1933
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJuly 5, 2011(2011-07-05) (aged 77)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
  • Author
  • historian
  • professor
EducationUniversity of California, Los Angeles (BA)
Princeton University (PhD)
Counterculture of the 1960s
Notable worksThe Making of a Counter Culture
SpouseBetty Roszak

Theodore Roszak (November 15, 1933 – July 5, 2011) was an American academic and novelist who concluded his academic career as Professor Emeritus of history at California State University, East Bay.[1] He is best known for his 1969 text The Making of a Counter Culture.


Roszak was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1933 to Anton and Blanche Roszak.[2] His parents were Roman Catholic; his father was a cabinet maker and his mother was a homemaker.[2] Roszak attended Chicago public schools.[2]

Roszak completed his B.A. from University of California, Los Angeles in 1955.[3] He then received his Ph.D. in history from Princeton University in 1958[3] after completing a doctoral dissertation titled "Thomas Cromwell and the Henrican reformation."[4]

His academic career began by teaching at Stanford University from 1958 to 1963[3][2] before joining Cal State Hayward.[3][2] During the 1960s, he lived in London, where he edited the newspaper Peace News from 1964 to 1965.[5][2] He also taught as a visiting professor at San Francisco State University in 1981 and Schumacher College in 1991.[6][7] He was featured prominently in the "Alternative Lifestyles in California" episode of the 1977 BBC television series, The Long Search.

His writing career began in 1966 when he started contributing to The Nation and The Atlantic.[2]

Theodore Roszak died at age 77 at his home in Berkeley, California, on July 5, 2011.[8]


Roszak first came to public prominence in 1969, with the publication of his The Making of a Counter Culture[9] which chronicled and gave explanation to the European and North American counterculture of the 1960s. He is generally credited with the first use of the term "counterculture".[10][11][12][13] According to historian Todd Gitlin, "People were trying to figure out, 'What is this thing that has come upon us?' He named it".[14]

Other books include Where the Wasteland Ends,[15][16][17] The Voice of the Earth (in which he coined the term for the budding field of Ecopsychology),[18][19] Person/Planet,[20] The Cult of Information,[21][22][23] The Gendered Atom: Reflections on the Sexual Psychology of Science,[24] and Longevity Revolution: As Boomers Become Elders.[25] He also co-edited (with Mary Gomes and Allen Kanner) the anthology Ecopsychology: Healing the Mind, Restoring the Earth,[26] and (with his wife Betty) the anthology Masculine/Feminine: Essays on Sexual Mythology and the Liberation of Women.


His fiction includes a cult novel on the "secret history" of the cinema titled Flicker (Simon and Schuster, Bantam Books and Chicago Review Press) and the award-winning Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein (Random House and Bantam Books).[27][28][29] In a 1995 interview with Publishers Weekly, Roszak said, "For me, nonfiction was a detour I took on the way to fiction," and "But writing fiction is like working without a net, and it took me a long time to write something that was good enough to be published. When opportunities to write nonfiction came along, I took them. [...] But if things had turned out the way I wanted, I would always have been a novelist."[30] His final novel, published in 2003, is The Devil and Daniel Silverman.[31]

Awards and honors[edit]



  • The Dissenting Academy (1968)[32][33][34]
  • The Making of a Counter Culture (1969)
  • Masculine/Feminine: Readings in Sexual Mythology and the Liberation of Women (1969)
  • Where the Wasteland Ends (1972)
  • Sources (1972)
  • Unfinished Animal: The Aquarian Frontier and the Evolution of Consciousness (1975)[35]
  • Person/Planet: The Creative Disintegration of Industrial Society (1979)
  • From Satori to Silicon Valley (1986)
  • Roszak, Theodore (1986). The Cult of Information: The Folklore of Computers and the True Art of Thinking. ISBN 9780520085848.
  • Fool's Cycle/Full Cycle (1988) ISBN 0-931191-07-6
  • The Voice of the Earth (1992); 2nd edition (2001), Phanes Press, ISBN 978-1890482800
  • The Cult of Information: A Neo-Luddite Treatise on High Tech, Artificial Intelligence, and the True Art of Thinking (1994) 2nd edition
  • The Gendered Atom (1999)
  • Kanner, Roszak, & Gomes. Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind. Sierra Club Books (1995) ISBN 0-87156-406-8
  • World Beware! American Triumphalism in an Age of Terror (2006, ISBN 1-897071-02-7)
  • The Making of an Elder Culture: Reflections on the Future of America's Most Audacious Generation. (2009) New Society Publishers. ISBN 978-0-86571-661-2



  • Pontifex (1974)
  • Bugs (1981)
  • Dreamwatcher (1985)
  • Flicker (1991)
  • The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein (1995)
  • The Devil and Daniel Silverman (2003) Leapfrog. ISBN 0-9679520-7-7
  • The Crystal Child: A Story of the Buried Life (2013). Posth.


  1. ^ "Princeton Alumni Weekly". Princeton University. Retrieved May 11, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Patrick S. Smith (January 1, 2003). "Theodore Roszak". In O'Neill, William L.; Jackson, Kenneth T. (eds.). The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Thematic Series: The 1960s. Charles Scribner's Sons. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d Ball, Terence (2003). "Theodore Roszak". Environmental Encyclopedia. Gale. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  4. ^ Roszak, Theodore Matthew (1959). Thomas Cromwell and the Henrican reformation.
  5. ^ Fountain, Nigel (1988). Underground: the London Alternative Press, 1966–74. Taylor & Francis. p. 12. ISBN 0-415-00728-3
  6. ^ "Theodore Roszak". Gale Literature: Contemporary Authors Gale Literature: Contemporary Authors Gale Literature: Contemporary Authors. Gale. August 12, 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  7. ^ a b "Stanford Humanities Lab". Stanford University. Archived from the original on September 4, 2007. Retrieved May 11, 2008.
  8. ^ "Theodore Roszak (1933–2011)". San Francisco Chronicle. July 1, 2009. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  9. ^ "Computing and Counterculture". Stanford University. Archived from the original on March 22, 2010. Retrieved May 11, 2008.
  10. ^ Martin, Douglas (July 12, 2011). "Theodore Roszak, '60s Expert, Dies at 77". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Woo, Elaine (July 14, 2011). "Theodore Roszak dies at 77; scholar coined the term 'counterculture'". Chicago Tribune. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  12. ^ Homberger, Eric (July 28, 2011). "Obituary: Theodore Roszak: US observer of social change, he coined the term 'counterculture'". The Guardian. Retrieved April 4, 2022 – via Gale.
  13. ^ "Theodore Roszak; Historian who coined 'counterculture' to describe the flower power movement and became a tireless champion of environmentalism". The Times. NI Syndication Limited. July 27, 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2022 – via Gale.
  14. ^ "Theodore Roszak coined counterculture label". Guelph Mercury. Associated Press. July 15, 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2022 – via Gale.
  15. ^ Wade, Nicholas (December 1, 1972). "Theodore Roszak: Visionary Critic of Science". Science. 178 (4064). American Association for the Advancement of Science: 960–962. Bibcode:1972Sci...178..960W. doi:10.1126/science.178.4064.960. JSTOR 1735702. PMID 17774504. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  16. ^ Blumberg, Paul (1973). "Where the Wasteland Ends: Politics and Transcendence in Postindustrial Society. Theodore Roszak". Contemporary Sociology. 2 (6). American Sociological Association: 591–595. doi:10.2307/2062444. JSTOR 2062444. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  17. ^ Erlich, John L. (1973). "Where the Wasteland Ends Theodore Roszak". Social Work. 18 (3). Oxford University Press : 123. JSTOR 23710896. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  18. ^ Schwarz, Walter (March 20, 1993). "Books: Mind over matter in a mad world - Theodore Roszak, historian of counterculture, has identified the ultimate Green discipline, says Walter Schwarz / Eco psychology". The Guardian. Retrieved April 4, 2022 – via Gale.
  19. ^ Hannon, Jamie (October 2003). "Reviewed Work: The Voice of the Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology (2nd Edition) by Theodore Roszak". Natural Areas Journal. 23 (4). Natural Areas Association: 373–374. JSTOR 43912269. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  20. ^ Johnson, Gregory (March 1981). "Reviewed Work: Person/Planet: The Creative Disintegration of Industrial Society by Theodore Roszak". Contemporary Sociology. 10 (2): 327–328. doi:10.2307/2066984. JSTOR 2066984. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  21. ^ "Reviewed Work: The Cult of Information: The Folklore of Computers and the True Art of Thinking by Theodore Roszak". The Wilson Quarterly. 10 (4): 155. Autumn 1986. JSTOR 40257076. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  22. ^ Lovell, Bernard (July 1987). "Reviewed Work: THE CULT OF INFORMATION: The Folklore of Computers and the True Art of Thinking by Theodore Roszak". Journal of the Royal Society of Arts. 135 (5372): 612–613. JSTOR 41374362. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  23. ^ Robins, Kevin (1987). "The Cult of Information: The Folklore of Computers and the True Art of Thinking Theodore Roszak". Sociology. 21 (3): 495–496. doi:10.1177/0038038587021003030. JSTOR 42854023. S2CID 220676418. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  24. ^ "THE GENDERED ATOM: Reflections on the Sexual Psychology of Science". Publishers Weekly. 246 (41). October 11, 1999. Retrieved April 4, 2022 – via Gale.
  25. ^ Losos, Joseph (September 13, 1998). "Boomers Glide into their Golden Years Theodore Roszak Presents a Largely Rosy Vision of the Future as the Counter-Culture Generation Grows Gray". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved April 4, 2022 – via Gale.
  26. ^ Blakemore, Peter (Winter 1998). "Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind by Theodore Roszak, Mary E. Gomes, Allen D. Kanner". Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. 5 (1). Oxford University Press: 138–139. doi:10.1093/isle/5.1.138. JSTOR 44085560. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  27. ^ Van Leeuwen, Jan (July 2010). "Theodore Roszak's the Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein: A Countercultural Perspective on Alchemy, Gender and the Scientific Revolution". DQR Studies in Literature. 47 (1): 449–466 – via EBSCOhost.
  28. ^ Thomas, Joan (June 3, 1995). "The Thomas Review Frankenstein benefits from facelift Female characters spring to life in Roszak's modern version of Shelley classic". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved April 4, 2022 – via Gale.
  29. ^ "The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein". Publishers Weekly. 242 (11). March 13, 1995. Retrieved April 4, 2022 – via Gale.
  30. ^ Maclay, Catherine (April 24, 1995). "Theodore Roszak: the monster in the laboratory". Publishers Weekly. 242 (17). Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  31. ^ Salvadori, T.R. (January 1, 2003). "The Devil and Daniel Silverman (Book)". Library Journal. 128 (1) – via EBSCOhost.
  32. ^ Cebik, L. B. (Fall 1970). "Reviewed Work: The Dissenting Academy by Theodore Roszak". The Georgia Review. 24 (3): 376–379. JSTOR 41396748. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  33. ^ Hymes, Dell (November 1968). "Responsibilities of Dissent". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 24 (9): 29–34. doi:10.1080/00963402.1968.11457734.
  34. ^ Moore, W. G. (1973). "The Dissenting Academy Theodore Roszak". The Modern Language Review. 68 (1): 134–136. doi:10.2307/3726213. JSTOR 3726213. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  35. ^ Graham, Ronnie (1977). "Unfinished Animal Theodore Roszak". Fortnight. 155: 17. JSTOR 25546421.


External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by Editor of Peace News
Succeeded by
Rod Prince