Douglas Kellner
Ph.D., Philosophy, Columbia University

George F. Kneller Philosophy of Education Chair
Division of Social Sciences & Comparative Education
Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, UCLA
Contact Me

Room 3022B Moore Hall

Phone: (310) 825-0977
Fax: (310) 206-6293

Moore Hall; Mailbox 951521
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521


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Cinema Wars: Hollywood Film and Politics in the Bush/Cheney Era (2009)

  • Introduction

Cinema Wars: Hollywood Film and Politics in the Bush/Cheney Era provides an exploration of contemporary Hollywood film in the 2000s. During an era of unparalleled turbulence and conflict, Kellner sees Hollywood film as a contested terrain between conservative and liberal forces. Examining a wide range of films, genres, and filmmakers, Kellner documents how many popular films reproduce conservative and militarist discourses that replicate the positions of the Bush-Cheney regime, while other films criticize and satirize the conservative administration. Exploring what the author calls “The Golden Age of Documentary,” as well as mainstream and independent fiction films, Kellner shows how Hollywood film in the 2000s has been a vibrant force of social protest which helped create cultural conditions to elect Barack Obama.


Media/Cultural Studies: Critical Approaches (2009)

  • Introduction

Media/Cultural Studies Rhonda Hammer and Douglas Kellner’s anthology Media/Cultural Studies: Critical Approaches is designed to assist teachers and students in learning how to better understand and interpret our common culture and everyday life. With a focus on contemporary media and consumer culture, this text combines classic and original writings by both leading scholars and young and up and coming figures in the field. The chapters present key theories, concepts and methodologies of critical cultural and media studies, as well as cutting-edge research into new media. Sections on teaching media/cultural studies and concrete case studies provide practical examples that illuminate contemporary culture ranging from new forms of digital media and consumer culture to artifacts from TV and film, including Barbie and Big Macs, soap operas and Talk TV to YouTube. The lively articles show that media/cultural studies is an exciting and relevant arena, and our text should enable students and citizens to become informed readers and critics of their culture and society.

Marcuse’s Challenge to Education (2009)

  • Introduction

Marcuse's Challenge to Education seeks to demonstrate the continued relevance and importance of Marcuse’s thought to the contemporary situation and present a series of articles that, each in their own way, speak to the on-going challenge offered by Marcuse for critical theory and transformative practice in the present era. Our focus in this book is on Marcuse’s critical analysis of education in the current era of global capitalism and his potential for generating transformative pedagogical practice and the reconstruction of schooling and society. With the rise of standardization policies in the sphere of schooling, the steady growth of the “affluent society” within Western, post-industrialized economies, the waning of dialectical thinking in the field of philosophy and theory, the immediate degradation of the environment, a dispiriting era of war and militarism, and the rise of a militant anti-corporate globalization movement, Marcuse speaks with clarity to academics, teachers, and activists interested in understanding the complexities of “counter-revolution and revolt” occurring today in a variety of locations and across a variety of domains.

In order to meet these challenges, we also present two never-before published lectures by Marcuse that demonstrate his concern for education and theorizing schooling, two letters responding to SDS’s radical education project in the 1960s, and an Afterword by Marcusian scholar Charles Reitz. While the essays collected in this volume speak directly to educational concerns the implications are broad and concern the fate of critical theory and radical democracy. Overall, we hope this collection demonstrates not only Marcuse’s relevancy but also the urgency with which we must evaluate his writings in light of continuities and transformations within the present system of social relations and institutions from Marcuse’s time to our own.

On Marcuse: Critique, Liberation, and Reschooling in the Radical Pedagogy of Herbert Marcuse (2008)

  • Introduction

On Marcuse attempts to show that Herbert Marcuse continues to have significant relevance and importance to the contemporary situation concerning education in the advanced, industrial world. With the rise of standardization policies in the sphere of schooling, the steady progress of the “affluent society” in the sphere of western, industrialized economies, the waning of critical and dialectical thinking in the field of philosophy and the social sciences, and finally, the immediate degradation of the environment, Marcuse speaks with clarity to academics, teachers, and activists interested in understanding the complexities of “counter-revolution and revolt” occurring today in a variety of locations and across many domains. In this book we demonstrate Marcuse’s sustained concern for education as a sphere for developing radical critique and emancipatory alternatives to the fully administered society. We intend our study to demonstrate not only Marcuse’s relevancy, but also the urgency with which we must evaluate his life and work in light of continuities and transformations within the present system of social relations and institutions from Marcuse’s time to our own.


Guys and Guns Amok: Domestic Terrorism and School Shootings from the Oklahoma City Bombings to the Virginia Tech Massacre (2008)

  • Introduction

Guys and Guns Amok: Domestic Terrorism and School Shootings from the Oklahoma City Bombing to the Virginia Tech Massacre (Paradigm, 2008), examines school shootings and acts of violence that embody a crisis of an out of control gun culture and male rage, along with a glorification of hypermasculinity and violence by the media. Through examination of the shootings at Virginia Tech University and Columbine High School and the Oklahoma City bombing and other acts of home-grown domestic terrorism, Kellner identifies issues of masculinity apparent in each case. “The school shooters and domestic terrorists examined in this book all exhibit male rage, attempt to resolve a crisis of masculinity through violent behavior, demonstrate a fetish for guns or weapons and represent, in general, a situation of guys and guns amok,” Kellner writes. Furthermore, he addresses how these events affect and are connected to US culture, politics and society.

Kellner also examines the role of the media in each episode examined of school shootings and domestic terrorism, including media interpretations of events, how diverse groups utilized violent acts to promote their agendas and the increase of representations of violence and murder on television, film and new media outlets such as the Internet. Additionally, he provides suggestions to combat the rise of domestic terrorism and school shootings, including stricter gun control laws, improved campus and workplace security, better guidance and mental health care on campuses and in communities, a reconstruction of education with programs producing new literacies, advocating peace and social justice, projecting new images of masculinity and transforming the perception of prisons as schools for violence and working to transition them into institutions of education.


The Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse, Volume 4:
Art and Liberation
Edited by Douglas Kellner (2006)

  • Introduction

Art and Liberation is the fourth volume of Herbert Marcuse’s Collected Papers. The role of art is Marcuse’s work has often been neglected, misinterpreted or underplayed. His critics accused him of a religion of art and aesthetics that leads to an escape from politics and society. Yet, as this volume demonstrates, Marcuse analyses culture and art in the context of how it produces forces of domination and resistance in society, and his writings on culture and art generate the possibility of liberation and radical social transformation.

The material in this volume is a rich collection of many of Marcuse’s published an unpublished writings, interviews and talks, including ‘Lyric Poetry after Auschwitz’, reflections on Proust, and Letters on Surrealism; a poem by Samuel Beckett for Marcuse’s eightieth birthday with exchange of letters; and many articles that explore the role of art in society and how it provides possibilities for liberation.

This volume will be of interest to those new to Marcuse, generally acknowledged as a major figure in the intellectual and social milieus of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as to the specialist, giving access to a wealth of material from the Marcuse Archive in Frankfurt and his private collection in San Diego, some of it published here in English for the first time.

A comprehensive Introduction by Douglas Kellner reflects on the genesis, development, and tensions within Marcuse’s aesthetic, while an afterword by Gerhard Schweppenhäuser summarizes their relevance for the contemporary era.


Media Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy (2005)

This book argues that 'media spectacles' have come to dominate news covereage and distract the public from the substance of real public issues. Exploring the role of media spectacle in the 9/11 attacks and subsequent Terror Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the book documents the centrality of media politics in advancing foreign policy agendas and militarism. He reveals how conflicting political forces ranging from Al Qaeda to the Bush administration construct media spectacles to advance their politics. Two chapters delineate the role of the media in the highly significant 2004 election campaign that many believe to be one of the key political struggles of the contemporary era. Criticizing unilateralism abroad, the conclusion argues for a multilateral and cosmopolitan globalization and the need for democratic media to take a more decisive role to overcome the current crisis of democracy.

Medienkultur, Kritik und Demokratie. Der Douglas Kellner Reader (2005)

  • Introduction

Medienkultur presents Douglas Kellner’s key writings on new technologies, the media, the crisis of democracy, and other aspects of his work in German translation with an introduction and overview of his work by Rainer Winter.


The Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse, Volume 3:
The New Left and the 1960s

Edited by Douglas Kellner (2004)

The New Left and the 1960s is the third volume of Herbert Marcuse's collected papers. In 1964, Marcuse published a major study of advanced industrial society, One Dimensional Man, which was an important influence on the young radicals who formed the New Left. Marcuse embodied many of the defining political impulses of the New Left in his thought and politics - hence a younger generation of political activists looked up to him for theoretical and political guidance. The new material collected in this volume provides a rich and deep grasp of the era and the role of Marcuse in the theoretical and political dramas of the day.

Fredric Jameson: A Critical Reader
Edited by Douglas Kellner and Sean Homer (2004)

Fredric Jameson is one of the most important and audacious cultural critics writing today. His work impacts across a range of disciplines from literary and cultural studies to film, sociology and architecture. This new collection of previously unpublished critical essays covers the full corpus of Jameson's work: from his initial studies of Sartre and dialectical criticism, through his path-breaking work on the political unconscious, modernism and postmodernism, to his controversial essays on third world literature, space, architecture and Latin American studies.

From 9/11 to Terror War: The Dangers of the Bush Legacy (2003)

The book shows how September 11 provided an opportunity for the Bush administration to push through hard-right domestic and foreign policies, many of which were being contested and blocked in Congress pre-September 11. It describes the Bush legacy of unilateralism in foreign policy, which greatly undermines national security while isolating the U.S. and creating new enemies; a failed economic policy that enriched its supporters and corporate allies while turning economic surpluses into deficits; and a sustained policy of attacks on democracy, civil liberties, justice, and the U.S. constitutional system of checks and balances.

Media Spectacle (2003)

During the mid-1990s, the O.J. Simpson murder trials dominated the media in the United States and were circulated throughout the world via global communications networks. The case became a spectacle of race, gender, class and violence, bringing in elements of domestic melodrama, crime drama and legal drama. This book demonstrates how the Simpson case was just one example of  'media spectacle' - a form of media culture that puts contemporary dreams, nightmares, fantasies and values on display. Through the analysis of several such media spectacles - including Elvis, the X Files, Michael Jordan, and the Bill Clinton sex scandals - the book draws out important insights into media, journalism, the public sphere and politics in an era of new technologies.

Grand Theft 2000: Media Spectacle and a Stolen Election (2001)

Grand Theft 2000 recounts the story of a stolen election and Republican coup d'etat, focusing on the flaws of the system of democracy in the United States that allowed this event to take place. It examines what the events of Election 2000 tell us about politics in the U.S. today and the alarming consequences for democracy in the battle for the White House. It presents a historical narrative of the heist of the presidency as well as a critique of the media and political system that registers a crisis of democracy in the U.S.A. today. Arguing that the media are largely to blame for the theft of the presidency by the "Bush machine," the book shows how failures of voting technology and literacy, Republican manipulation of the Florida electoral process and political system in the counting of the votes, and structural problems with the system of democracy in the United States reveals a crisis of democracy that requires radical measures. Concluding sections on "Lesson and Conclusions" suggests some solutions to the problems revealed and a final section critically dissects the first 100 days of the Bush presidency.

The Postmodern Adventure: Science,Technology and Cultural Studies at the Third Millennium
by Steven Best and Douglas Kellner (2001)

The Postmodern Adventure argues that massive geopolitical shifts and dramatic developments in computerization and biotechnology are heralding the transformation from the modern to the postmodern age. We are confronted with altered modes of work, communication, and entertainment; new postindustrial and political networks; novel approaches to warfare; genetic engineering; and even cloning. This book explores the challenges to theory, politics, and human identity that we face on the threshold of the third millennium.

Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks
Edited by Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas Kellner (2001)

This book is a comprehensive anthology of the most significant theoretical readings on critical approaches to media culture and communications. The volume brings together what are considered the KeyWorks of current theory and method for the study of the abundance and diversity of culture and society in the present age.

The Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse, Volume 2:
Towards a Critical Theory of Society

Edited by Douglas Kellner (2001)

This second volume of Marcuse's collected papers includes unpublished manuscripts from the late 1960s and early 1970s, such as "Beyond One-Dimensional Man", "Cultural Revolution" and "The Historical Fate of Bourgeois Democracy", as well as many letters. It shows Marcuse at his most radical, focusing on his critical theory of contemporary society, his analyses of technology, capitalism, the fate of the individual, and prospects for social change in contemporary society.

Film, Art and Politics: An Emile de Antonio Reader
Edited by Douglas Kellner and Dan Streible (2000)

This book is the first full-length volume devoted to de Antonio, collecting interviews with and writings by him; reviews and other critical material that detail the genesis, production history, and reception of his films; a comprehensive filmography; and an in-depth biographical essay.

The Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse, Volume 1:
Technology, War, and Fascism

Edited by Douglas Kellner (1998)

These papers vividly chronicle Marcuse's increasing, yet reluctant estrangement from Max Horkeimer, director of the Institute for Social Research and his years as an analyst with various U.S. government agencies. Marcuse's later attempts to link theory and practice in the 1960s and 1970s in regard to the New Left, National Liberation Movements and other new social movements were grounded in his work from the 1940s. As the 1940s witnessed the rise to global prominence of German fascism and its defeat in World War Two, and the emergence of the Cold War, Marcuse strived to preserve the radical vision of his youth during a difficult historical period while many turned toward more conservative positions.

The Postmodern Turn
by Steven Best and Douglas Kellner (1997)

This book presents an analysis of the emergence of a postmodern paradigm in theory, the arts, science, and politics. It ranges over diverse intellectual and artistic terrain -- from architecture, painting, literature, music, and politics, to the physical and biological sciences. Chosen for Choice's 1998 Outstanding Academic Books list and winner of the Michael Harrington Award for the best book of 1998.

Articulating the Global and the Local: Globalization and Cultural Studies
Edited by Ann Cvetkovich and Douglas Kellner (1997)

Arguing for the inseparability of global and local analysis, the book demonstrates how global forces enter into local situations and how in turn global relations are articulated through local events, identities, and cultures; it includes studies of a wide range of cultural forms including sports, poetry, pedagogy ecology, dance, cities, and democratic Articulating the Global and the Local makes tile ambitious claim that the category of the local transforms the debate about globalization by redefining what counts as global culture. Central to tile essays are the new global and translocal cultures and identities created by the diasporic processes of colonialism and decolonization. The essays explore a variety of local, national, and transnational contexts with particular attention to race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality as categories that force us to rethink globalization itself.

Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity and Politics Between the Modern and the Postmodern (1995)

Media Culture develops methods and analyses of contemporary film, television, music and other artifacts to discern their nature and effects and argues that media culture is the dominant form of culture which socializes us and provides materials for identity and both social reproduction and change. Through studies of Reagan and Rambo, horror films and youth films, rap music and African American culture, Madonna, fashion, television news and entertainment, MTV, Beavis and Butt-Head, the Gulf-War as cultural text, cyberpunk fiction and postmodern theory, the book provides a series of lively studies that both illuminate contemporary culture and provide methods of analysis and critique.

Baudrillard: A Critical Reader (1994)

While most commentators on Baudrillard seek either to celebrate or attack, this book attempts to provide the first balanced assessment of Baudrillard's contributions to contemporary thought. Taking Baudrillard's thought seriously, but critically, the writers for this topic interrogate Baudrillard's positions in terms of specific topics, fields, and debates -- from his early work on the "system of objects" to his most recent speculations on the fatallity of the subject.

The Persian Gulf TV War (1992)

This book provides analysis of the mainstream media's (especially television's) portrayal of the war -- contrasted with alternative media -- which charges distortions, disinformation and outright lies. It draws on social theory and  media criticism, to debunk the version of the Gulf War presented on television and to situate the Gulf War within the broader context of US society and culture.

Postmodern Theory: Critical Interrogations
by Steven Best and Douglas Kellner (1991)

This book systematically analyzes postmodern theory to evaluate its relevance for critical social theory and radical politics today. It provides an introduction and critique of the work of Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, Baudrillard, Lyotard, Laclau and Mouffe, and Jameson, which assess the varying contributions and limitations of postmodern theory. It also contains a discussion of postmodern feminist theory and the politics of identity and a systematic study of the origin of the discourse of the postmodern in historical, sociological, cultural, and philosophical studies.

Television and the Crisis of Democracy (1990)

This book offers the most systematic, critically informed political and institutional study of television yet published in the United States. Focusing on the relationship among television, the state, and business, it traces the history of television broadcasting, emphasizing its socioeconomic impact and its growing political power. Throughout, it evaluates the contradictory influence of television, a medium that has clearly served the interests of the powerful, but has also dramatized conflicts within society and has on occasion led to valuable social criticism.

Edited by Douglas Kellner (1989)

New theories about the radical break with the traditions of modernism in literature, architecture, cinema, mass media, and consumer culture began emerging in the late 70s from writers as diverse as Baudrillard, Lyotard, Kroker, Jencks, and importantly Fredric Jameson who leads the effort to bring Marxist cultural critique forward into the postmodernism debate. This volume appraises Jameson's work and Marxism as a conceptual framework for theorizing postmodernism.

Critical Theory, Marxism, and Modernity

This book contends that critical theory began as a Marxian critique of capitalist modernity and moved away from orthodox Marxism in response to the events of twentieth-century history. The book explores the effects of historical crises of capitalism and Marxism on critical theory and reflects on the continued relevance or obsolescence of Marxism and critical theory.

Critical Theory and Society: A Reader
Edited by Douglas Kellner and Stephen Bronner (1989)

A collection of seminal essays, many appearing in English for the first time, which provides an excellent overview of the critical theory developed by the Frankfurt School.

Jean Baudrillard: From Marxism to Post-Modernism and Beyond

This book begins the process of mapping out, contextualizing, and critically appraising Baudrillard's trajectory. It begins first with the early writings, notably The System of Objects and The Consumer Society, that comprise the original matrix of his thought. The remainder of the book is organized thematically, analyzing Baudrillard's development of a neo-Marxian social theory, his break with Marxism, his turn to a Postmodern position, and the surprising developments of his work in the 1970s and 1980s.

Camera Politica: The Politics and Ideology of Contemporary Hollywood Film
by Michael Ryan and Douglas Kellner (1988)

This book is a comprehensive study of Hollywood film during a period of tremendous change in American history, what appeared to be the end of American empire, economic failures, crises in political leadership, loss at war, and the rise of the Right. The book argues that Hollywood film provides access to the political, cultural, economic and psychological factors which undermined liberalism and led to the rise of conservativism during this era.

Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism (1984)

Passion and Rebellion: The Expressionist Heritage

Edited by Stephen Eric Bronner and Douglas Kellner (1983)


Karl Korsch: Revolutionary Theory
Edited by Douglas Kellner (1977)

Heidegger's Concept of Authenticity
(Douglas Kellner's Doctoral Dissertation - 1973)