Robert Buchanan

Faculty, Undergraduate Studies
Residency Site: Plainfield VT



Bob Buchanan is a lifelong activist, educator, and scholar who supports students of all backgrounds, experiences and interests to pursue their learning and life goals through collaborative and energetic learning relationships. His interests and work examine the efforts of individuals to build just, egalitarian, and sustainable communities and dismantle the forces of oppression that divide communities and exploit the earth’s resources. His initial work chronicled the efforts of activists with disabilities to overcome workplace and educational discrimination. He has a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds to Arundhati Roy’s reminder: Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.


PhD in American History, Minor in Anthropology, University of Wisconsin at Madison
MA in American History, University of Wisconsin at Madison
BSE in Nature Interpretation, SUNY

Areas of Expertise

Global Political Economy; United States History; Disability Movements and Theory; African American History; World History; Liberation and Social Movements; Marxism; Progressive Education; Sustainability: Thought and Practice; Historiography; Historical Narrative

Personal Statement

I support personal and societal radical change. The current systems of interlocked oppression that seem to dominate much of the globe are held together by hegemonic madness and narrow self-interest. Racism, white supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism, militarism, industrial capitalism, able-ism, and traditional corporatist systems of schooling offer us little more than further hierarchy, oppression and environmental/societal collapse—in our lifetimes. We know this; what will we do? I support those who seek to dismantle oppression and build just and democratic ways of life.

Raised in a union-anchored working family, I was inspired by and worked in the antiwar (i.e. Indochina), Civil Rights, and environmental movements that sought to build more just societies. After completing an undergraduate degree in environmental science, I supported poor families as a rural crisis intervention worker. I taught about environmental justice in prisons. I lobbied state legislatures to fund community groups that served people with disabilities, as well as poor and working communities.

At graduate school I sought to learn from others who shared these values and visions. I plunged into the extended study of global oppression and liberation history—to complement my lived experiences through sustained research, writing, and reflection. I wrote and edited several books about the collective efforts of people with disabilities to overcome workplace and educational discrimination.

Who are you? What are your interests, passions and pursuits? How are you embedded in systems of oppression? What is your commitment to growth and justice? What risks will you take? How can we work to make your learning challenging, vital – even transformative?

The insight, energy and innovation you bring to your lives and communities can have remarkable power and brilliance. This is your time.