Todd Gitlin, an American writer, sociologist, communications scholar, novelist, poet, and not very private intellectual, is the author of sixteen books, including Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives; The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America Is Wracked by Culture Wars; The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage; Inside Prime Time; The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left; Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street; The Chosen Peoples: America, Israel, and the Ordeals of Divine Election (co-author); The Bulldozer and the Big Tent: Blind Republicans, Lame Democrats, and the Recovery of American Ideals; The Intellectuals and the Flag; Letters to a Young Activist; Uptown: Poor Whites in Chicago (co-author); three novels, Undying, Sacrifice and The Murder of Albert Einstein; and a book of poetry, Busy Being Born. These books have been translated into Japanese, Korean, Chinese, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. He also edited Watching Television and Campfires of the Resistance.
His forthcoming book is a novel, The Opposition.
He has contributed to many books and published widely in general periodicals (The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Boston Globe, Dissent, The New Republic, The Nation, Chronicle of Higher Education, Wilson Quarterly, Harper’s, American Journalism Review, Columbia Journalism Review, The American Prospect, The Occupied Wall Street Journal, LA Review of Books, Washington Spectator, et al.), online magazines (tnr.com, prospect.org, openDemocracy.net), and scholarly journals. He is a columnist for Tablet (tabletmag.com), a media commentator at BillMoyers.com, and a member of the editorial board of Dissent. Previously, he was a columnist at the New York Observer and the San Francisco Examiner, and a regular op-ed contributor to the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Newsday. His poems have appeared in The New York Review of Books, Yale Review, The New Republic, and Raritan.
In 2000, Sacrifice won the Harold U. Ribalow Prize for books on Jewish themes. The Sixties and The Twilight of Common Dreams were Notable Books in the New York Times Book Review. Inside Prime Time received the nonfiction award of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association; The Sixties was a finalist for that award and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.
He holds degrees from Harvard University (mathematics), the University of Michigan (political science), and the University of California, Berkeley (sociology). He was the third president of Students for a Democratic Society, in 1963–64, and coordinator of the SDS Peace Research and Education Project in 1964–65, during which time he helped organize the first national demonstration against the Vietnam War and the first American demonstrations against corporate aid to the apartheid regime in South Africa. During 1968–69, he was an editor and writer for the San Francisco Express Times, and through 1970 wrote widely for the underground press. In 2003–6, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Greenpeace USA.
He is now a professor of journalism and sociology and chair of the Ph.D. program in Communications at Columbia University. Earlier, he was for sixteen years a professor of sociology and director of the mass communications program at the University of California, Berkeley, and then for seven years a professor of culture, journalism, and sociology at New York University. During 1994–95, he held the chair in American Civilization at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He has been the Bosch Fellow in Public Policy at the American Academy in Berlin, a resident at the Bellagio Study Center in Italy and at the Djerassi Foundation in Woodside, California, a fellow at the Media Studies Center in New York, and a visiting professor at Yale University, the University of Oslo, the University of Toronto, East China Normal University in Shanghai, the Institut Supérieur des Langues de Tunis in Tunisia, the American University of Cairo, and the Université de Neuchatel (Switzerland).
He lectures frequently on culture and politics in the United States and abroad (Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Greece, Turkey, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, Morocco, Egypt). He has appeared on many National Public Radio programs including Fresh Air as well as PBS, ABC, CBS and CNN. He lives in New York City with his wife, Laurel Cook.