Alan Gilbert

Alan Gilbert


  • Faculty

What I do

I teach and write on the theory and practice of democracy and the great possibilities of mass nonviolent movements for justice in our current age. What democracy means is a system of government that upholds the basic human rights of each individual, starting with the long ignored voices of blacks, chicanos and indigenous people, particularly women. My courses challenge the notion that “white” people and any other people have an “interest” in racisms (as bad in Saudi Arabia toward Pakistani immigrants and Shia or among Chinese toward Tibetans as here) and sexisms, and thus, views of status like Max Weber’s/American political science, as well as “Whiteness” and belligerent “Maleness” historically of much of the international relations, sociology, and comparative politics disciplines and, American elite politics. My writing and courses centrally involve making room for those whose voices have been suppressed historically and who often cast the most light on the decent changes that need to occur. My courses involve a different conception of Marx and the merits and limitations of violence (Marx’s politics: communists and citizens), challenge the standard misconception that there are no core moral standards involved in social science (see Democratic Individuality), critique the often vacuous notion of “national interest” in international relastins and suggest that peoples often have a common good against an oppressive government and across national boundaries (Must Global Politics Constrain Democracy?) and unearth and highlight the diverse voices and central role of black soldiers on both sides during the American Revolution (Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War of Independence0. I was one of the co-authors of the University report on John Evans and the Sand Creek Massacre on November 28, 1864 of Cheyennes and Arapahos who had made peace which Governor John Hickenlooper invoked to apologize from the steps of the State Capitol to the Cheyenne-Arapaho spiritual healing run 150 years later and fought successfully to change the infamous name of the John Evans professorship to Distinguished University Professor. Black Patriots and Loyalists was recently listed as one of the 10 most important books ever written on the American Revolution by Daily History. org (it was third), and is one of 5 books signaled to readers on the website of the National Museum of African-American History, which also features the John Singleton Copley painting of a black soldier fighting at “The Death of Major Pierson” that is on its cover. My article on the “Secret Black History of the Revolution” – actually the main dead at Yorktown on both sides…- was published on July 4, 2016 in the Daily Beast and I consult on children’s books about African-Americans in the Revolution, and for The New York Times Upfront (its publication for high school students) I am currently writing about Socrates as a founder of what we call civil disobedience and Plato and Sokrates as opponents of the wars of empire that brought down Athenian democratic imperialism, and today, threaten ours… I also recently published a widely read and cited article in the Daily Beast on how American genocide toward indigenous people – “the Wild West” – fascinated, through the Karl Mai novels, Hitler’s conception of the “Wild East” and Lebensraum. Hitler spoke of “Ukrainian redskins.” It is also fascinating how American scholarship and diplomacy has ignored this central thread in the war that killed some 100 million people worldwide.


nonviolent resistance to injustice, divide and rule as an historic tool (why "white" people also need to fight racism), the international movement for equal rights led by the anti-slavery, anti-colonial, anti-settler colonialist movements, and especially women, the civil rights movement, the links between racist and patriarchal pseudo-science (IQ testing, physiognomy, sociobiology and the like), democratic theory (how far oligarchic "democracies" are from achieving a common good), why exit polling is unusually accurate but disregarded in the American elections of 2004 and 2016

Professional Biography

See the first part of my interview with Richard Marshall "Fighting from Below for Recognition as Human," originally in a series on avant-garde philosophers in 3:AM magazine in London:


  • Ph.D., Government, Harvard University , 1974
  • MS, Political Sociology, London School of Economics, 1966
  • BA, Social Studies, Harvard College, 1965

Professional Affiliations

  • American Political Science Association
  • American Historical Association
  • American Philosophical Association
  • American Sociological Association
  • Association for the Study of African-American Life and History
  • International Conference for the Study of Political Thought
  • International Studies Association

Media Sources

Featured Publications

Gilbert, A. (1969). Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence (p. 337). Chicago, Illinois and London, England, US, England: University of Chicago Press.
Gilbert, A. (2018). Chapter on Marx and Aristotle's Eudaemonism translated into Chinese. In Marx and Aristotle (original:1992) in Chinese translation: Ma ke si yu ya li shi duo de: Shi jiu shi ji de guo she hui li lun yu gu dian de gu dai, translated by Hao Yichun, Deng Xianzhen, and Wen .
Gilbert, A., Clemmer-Smith, R., Stratton, B., Wadsworth, N., Tinker, G., & Halaas, D. (2015). John Evans and the Sand Creek Massacre. University of Denver.
Gilbert, A. (1969). Segregation, Aggression and Executive Power. In American Conservativism. New York, US: Nomos.


  • Best book of the year - non-fiction, 3 AM Magazine, London
  • American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation
  • Top Ten Books about the American Revolution (ever): Number 3, Daily History Org: › American_Revolution_Top_Ten_Booklist
  • top 5 books on blacks in the Revolution: 2nd, National Museum of African-American History
  • 100 Best American Revolution Books of All Time, Journal of the American Revolution