Book Size: 6" x 9"

Pages: 248

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781623716844

Imprint: Olive Branch Press

Release date: August 2024


It's Debatable

Talking Authentically about Tricky Topics


$ 20

About this book

It's Debatable: Talking Authentically about Tricky Topics offers a path toward a deeper, richer public conversation than might seem possible in todays polarized political climate. Robert Jensen tackles some of todays most contentious issues, modeling a style of debate based on evidence, reason, critical self -reflection, and mutual respect.


About the author

Robert Jensen is Emeritus Professor in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin and collaborates with the New Perennials Project at Middlebury College. He is co-author with Wes Jackson of An Inconvenient Apocalypse: Environmental Collapse, Climate Crisis, and the Fate of Humanity and the editor of From the Ground Up: Conversations with Wes Jackson, based on the interviews from “Podcast from the Prairie.” Jensen is the author of 10 other books, including The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for MenPlain Radical: Living, Loving, and Learning to Leave the Planet Gracefully; and The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege


“In this book, Robert Jensen explores some of the thorniest, most contentious political controversies of our time. Unafraid of fire from the left or the right (and in his life he has experienced both), he boldly takes on hot-button issues that too many of us find ways of sidestepping. Whether you agree with him or notand I usually doyou will always find a mind thoughtfully exploring, weighing arguments judiciously, and telling you what he thinks, whether it accords with current intellectual fashions or not.” Adam Hochschild, University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, author of American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace,
and Democracy’s Forgotten Crisis

“There is an old Sanskrit verse that says Na bruyat satyam apriyam, which loosely translates to dont speak the truth that is unpleasant. Robert Jensen offers a different approach, reckoning with truths, pleasant and unpleasant, and the disagreements that they generate.” ;M.V. Ramana, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, author of The Power of Promise: Examining
Nuclear Energy in India

“It doesn’t matter if you agree with Robert Jensen. What matters is that he always, without fail, works to keep us honest. It’s Debatable takes on the sacred cows of contemporary social justice debates and picks them apart, definition by definition. Whether the subject is climate change, critical race theory or transgenderism, It's Debatable takes no prisoners, as Jensen holds the left and right accountable for their rhetoric. Well-sourced, carefully written, compassionate but dogged in its quest for an honest conversation, It’s Debatable challenges its readers to question their assumptionsevery one of them.” Mary Angela Bock, School of Journalism and Media, University of Texas at Austin, author of Seeing Justice: Witnessing, Crime and Punishment in Visual Media

“Robert Jensen insists he has a mediocre mind, but it’s his only false claim in this new book. In actual fact, hes an unconventional critical-thinker and truth-seeker who’s unafraid to offend both his foes on the right and his putative allies on the left as he waltzes through minefields to confront some of the most explosive issues of our anxious era.” Glenn Frankel, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark

“In an age of polarization and groupthink, Robert Jensen has written a how-to manual for independent reasoning that leaves no orthodoxy unscathed.
Challenging all political herds, including his own on the left, Jensen situates the gambit of contemporary controversies from confederate monuments to Drag Story Hour in a clear analysis of white supremacy, patriarchy, and other oppressive hierarchies. His robust treatment of wokeness and cancel culture draws on decades of experience teaching freedom of speech and media law. On the pressing subject of global ecological collapse, Jensen persuasively argues that the crisis demands a far more radical rethinking of population and consumption than what mainstream climate-change activists have proposed. An invaluable guide for where we are, how we got here, and what lies ahead.” Jason Brownlee, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin, author of Authoritarianism in an Age of Democratization

“William James defined metaphysics as the obstinate attempt to think clearly. It’s Debatable is metaphysical, then, but it is also deeply practical. Robert Jensen addresses the most challenging conflicts today: racism, including white supremacy; sex/gender, including transgender activism; and ecological sustainability, including biophysical limits. In all three arenas, he distinguishes carefully and convincingly between what is real, and can therefore be considered true, and what is delusional: the result of passionately wishful or willfully ideological thinking. In a world of multiple cascading crises, It’s Debatable thus offers a powerful case for, and demonstration of, a sane way forward. What could be more important?” Patrick Curry, author of Ecological Ethics and editor of The Ecological Citizen

Its Debatable is a profound and honest dive into the challenges of our politically charged and information-saturated world. Robert Jensen fearlessly tackles complex contemporary controversies like woke and cancel culture, while skillfully navigating the core questions of thinking, speaking, and living with authenticity. Jensen’s keen eye acknowledges the limits of human cognition and the pull of group conformity, recognizing the real struggle to think freely. Drawing on his experiences in journalism, academia, and politics, he exposes how our social environments shape our beliefs and actions, urging us not to succumb to dogma. Instead, he champions critical self-reflection and candid dialogue. Thoughtfully engaging with divisive issues like racism and gender identity, Jensen offers compelling insights into Critical Race Theory and critiques transgender ideology with a balanced approach. Encouraging readers to confront their own biases, he dissects these debates with nuance, appreciating both strengths and weaknesses of different viewpoints. At the core of this book lies authenticity, a deeply personal journey for Jensen. He emphasizes aligning thoughts, words, and deeds, candidly sharing instances of falling short. Through these honest anecdotes, he highlights the value of intellectual honesty and the willingness to adapt when confronted with new evidence. With a humble admission of his own mediocrity and a healthy dose of stubbornness, Jensen provides a refreshing and relatable perspective. Rejecting the temptation to present himself as an all-knowing authority, he invites readers to join him on a journey of intellectual growth and self-awareness. I highly recommend this book to all. Its Debatable is an illuminating and captivating read, challenging us to transcend the tribalism of our times. Robert Jensen’s insightful exploration of free thought, responsible speech, and authentic living is an indispensable guide for navigating today’s intricate social and political terrain. This book invites us to embrace uncertainty, question our beliefs, and, above all, stay true to ourselves and our values.” Narissra M. Punyanunt-Carter, Department of Communication Studies, Texas Tech University, co-author of Interpersonal Communication: A Mindful Approach to Relationships


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