Robert Buchanan

Faculty, Undergraduate Studies
Residency Site: Plainfield VT



Bob Buchanan is an 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 writer and activist 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

  • African American History
  • Colonialism/De-colonialism, Liberation and Social Movements
  • Disability Movements
  • Environmental Science Environmental Justice
  • Global Political Economy
  • Historiography
  • Historical Narrative
  • Literature of the United States
  • Progressive Education
  • Sustainability: Thought and Practice
  • United States History
  • World History

Personal Statement


Who are you? What are your interests, passions and pursuits? What is your commitment to growth and justice? How can we work to make your learning challenging, vital – even transformative? Your work at Goddard can have remarkable power and brilliance. This is your time. Welcome!


I support personal and societal transformation. The global systems of oppression–racism, white supremacy, patriarchy, toxic heterosexism, able-ism, militarism, exploitative industrial capitalism and hierarchical systems of schooling–offer us little. I support those who seek to dismantle oppression and build just and democratic ways of life.

Raised in a union-anchored 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 (what we now call sustainability studies), I worked with prison inmates in justice-anchored Outward Bound-inspired wilderness early release programs. I moved to the Midwest and supported poor families as a rural crisis intervention worker. I lobbied state legislatures to fund community groups that served people with disabilities as well as poor and working communities. I undertook research and wrote for public interest law firms that assisted poor and working families. 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 served as a Dean in the College of Letters and Science and spent several years working with—and learning from–students of color, many of whom challenged racism in the college, on the campus, and in the wider community. And, as my relatives include Deaf and disabled activists, it was natural that I wrote and edited several books about the collective efforts of people with disabilities to overcome workplace and educational discrimination. I delight in bringing my experience to the lives and work of students.