Bruce Robbins

Occupation: Professor

University: Columbia University

Organization(s): Jewish Voice for Peace

Bruce Robbins teaches in the department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he is proud to be able to sign as Old Dominion Foundation Professor of the Humanities– a title once held by Edward W. Said.

His most recent book is The Beneficiary (2017). His other books include Perpetual War: Cosmopolitanism from the Viewpoint of Violence (2012), Upward Mobility and the Common Good (2007), Feeling Global: Internationalism in Distress (1999), Secular Vocations: Intellectuals, Professionalism, Culture (1993), and The Servant’s Hand: English Fiction from Below (1986). A collection of essays entitled Cosmopolitanisms, co-edited with Paulo Horta, came out from NYU in July 2017. He has also edited Intellectuals: Aesthetics, Politics, Academics (1990) and The Phantom Public Sphere (1993) and co-edited, with Pheng Cheah, Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling beyond the Nation (1998) and (with David Palumbo-Liu and Nirvana Tanoukhi) Immanuel Wallerstein and the Problem of the World (2011). His essays have appeared in n+1, The Nation, Public Books, the London Review of Books, and the LA Review of Books.

His organized efforts on behalf of the Palestinian cause began in 2002, when he collaborated (with the physicist Alan Sokal) an “Open Letter of American Jews to Our Government” that called for cutting off all American aid to Israel if Israel would continue not to recognize the relevant United Nations resolutions. The “Open Letter” was published in the New York Times with over 4000 signatures, translated around the world, and re-published in 2006.

In 2014 he was co-proposer of Modern Language Association Resolution 2014-1, calling on the US Department of State to contest Israel’s denials of entry to the Palestinian West Bank to United States academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities. The resolution gained the support of an overwhelming majority, 1500 of the 2500 votes cast, though the required 10% of members did not vote.

He is also the director of a 2013 documentary entitled “Some of My Best Friends Are Zionists,” available at, and is currently working on another documentary about the Israeli historian Shlomo Sand.