Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse
Scholars and activists

David Kettler Bio


Kettler, David David Kettler(b. 1930), research professor of Social Studies at Bard College, Reinbek, New York

  • Faculty web page at Bard (see also his full CV)
  • In June and July 2008 emails David wrote the following:
    I attended Herbert's sociology classes at Columbia in 1952-3 and spent the next twenty years trying to settle my accounts with the experience, beginning with a Master's Essay on "Plato and the Problem of Social Change," whose title I still cannot say without falling into his pattern of speech. Franz Neumann was also always in the mix, both before and after. In the course of these two decades, I published a bunch of things on Herbert Marcuse, including a long chapter of which I am still not ashamed in a political theory primer edited by two reactionary characters (I even have a longer version, which you would be welcome to have for your archives: I have no correspondence). Only the rarest HM cognocenti know this long article well enough to excoriate it. There was also a piece on the aesthetics in Political Theory and a brief memoir in some sociology brochure. I even once functioned as Herbert Marcuse, when Kurt Wolff had me read a paper for him at an International Sociology meeting: it was in fact a chapter from "One-Dimensional Man," and it may have been contagious, since I never got to the part that contained the cure. In more recent work on the 1930s exiles, Marcuse appears mostly in conjunction with Franz Neumann.
    There really weren't a hell of a lot of us trying to deal with Marcuse in the early 1950s who'd read "Reason and Revolution" after reading Lukacs, as well as a lot of Hegel and Marx (under Franz Neumann) and who connected so early and so hard. Below is a list of my items in which Marcuse's work played a prominent part, although he was not missing from anything I wrote before the early 1970s, when I'd settled my accounts. He reappears as a historical presence, alongside of Franz Neumann, in many of my more recent writings on the 1930s exiles; but I leave those materials out, except for a curious sort of autobiographical fiction I was originally induced to write during a recent visit to Frankfurt. I decided that it would have been pretentious to have printed the title as in fact I thought it, viz., "Neg[oti]ations," paying tribute to the Marcuse connection I treasured most, even while I gave it up.
    Here is the list of those publications:
    • Plato and the Problem of Social Change. Unpublished MA Thesis Columbia University, 1953.
    • "The Vocation of Radical Intellectuals," Politics and Society I (Autumn, 1970), and in Ira Katznelson et al., ed., The Politics and Society Reader, New York: David McKay Company, 1974; pp. 333-359.
    • "Herbert Marcuse: The Critique of Bourgeois Civilization and Its Transcendence," in Anthony de Crespigny and Kenneth Minogue, eds., Contemporary Political Philosophers, New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1975, and London: Methuen, 1976; pp. 1-48 (searchable pdf) From the June 2008 email above: "...a long chapter of which I am still not ashamed in a political theory primer edited by two reactionary characters [I even have a longer version ...]. Only the rarest HM cognocenti know this long article well enough to excoriate it."
    • "The Aesthetic Dimension of Herbert Marcuse's Social Theory," Political Theory 10(May, 1982), pp. 267-275.
    • “Negotiations: Learning from Three Frankfurt Schools,” in Richard Bodek and Simon Lewis, eds. Fruits of Exile (Charleston: University of South Carolina Press, 2008). Preliminary version on Website of Protosociology: Soziologie der Gegenwartsgesellschaft <www.protosociology.de>Leo Kofler
Index entries: Kettler, David