Animal Protection > AR Interviews

Steve Best, Ph.D.
Academic activist and activist academic

Steven Best, Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy, earned his B.A. in philosophy at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, his M.A. at the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. at the University of Texas, Austin. He teaches modern humanities, critical thinking, ethics, social philosophy, nineteenth and twentieth century philosophy, animal rights, environmental theory, postmodern theory, and philosophy of science and technology.

He has published books and dozens of articles and reviews in the areas of philosophy, cultural criticism, mass media, social theory, postmodern theory, and animal rights. He serves on the editorial board of numerous journals such as Democracy and Nature, Organization and Environment, and the Journal of Organizational Change Management. He is a journalist for Animal Rights Online, and a featured writer for Impact Press. He is a founding member of the Center on Animal Liberation Affairs. He is also very active with community groups. He is President of Stop Animal Neglect and Exploitation (SANE), Vice President of the Vegetarian Society of El Paso, and has his own radio show, Animal Concerns of Texas (ACT). He has appeared on national TV shows such as Extra! and is frequently interviewed by local media and national print and radio media such as the San Jose Mercury News, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, National Public Radio, BBC News, and the Guardian Independent.

Steve Best:

As you can see from my Vita, my principal research interests are in the areas of critical theory, cultural studies, postmodernism, science and technology studies, environmental philosophy, and animal rights.

I enjoy academic writing, research, and teaching, but I believe that teaching and research should be linked to activism and the urgent issues of the day. I believe, first, that the classroom is a public forum, a polis, where challenging, controversial, and radical ideas can and should be taught. I believe, second, that in a world of environmental ruination, species extinction, and predatory global capitalism, academics should not have the luxury to pursue abstract issues that are not related to social transformation and revolutionary change. Rather, academics ought to use their skills to understand, communicate, and change what is happening with global genocide and ecocide.

Thus, I feel an intense urge to reach a broader public and to be what John Dewey called for a public intellectual. I am an academic activist, an activist academic. I combine scholarship with critical pedagogy, concrete political involvement in my community (including civil disobedience on occasion), and lecturing on a national and international basis. I try to radicalize academic work in concrete ways, as I also labor to bring to light the philosophical and theoretical basis of social issues, in particular those relating to the environment and animal rights.

For lectures, essays, books and videos, visit Steve's website.