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Robert William Jensen (born July 14, 1958) is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin College of Communicationmarker. He joined the faculty in 1992 after completing his Ph.D. in media law and ethics in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesotamarker. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in media law, ethics, and politics. Jensen also is director of the Senior Fellows Program, the honors program of the UT College of Communication.

In his research, Jensen draws on a variety of critical theories. As a strong pro-feminist, Jensen has focused much of his work on the radical feminist critique of pornography and of masculinity. In more recent work, he has opined on white privilege and institutionalized racism.

In addition to teaching and research, Jensen writes for popular media, both alternative and mainstream. His opinion and analytic pieces on such subjects as foreign policy, politics, and race have appeared in papers around the country. He also is involved in a number of activist groups working against U.S. military and economic policies.

Jensen identifies as a Radical Christian. He has one child, a son. Jensen is married to musician Eliza Gilkyson..

Early Life

Jensen grew up in North Dakota. In 1981, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from Moorhead State University (now Minnesota State University, Moorhead), and in 1985, he received a Master of Arts degree in journalism and public affairs from American Universitymarker. Prior to his academic career, he worked as a reporter and copy editor for several newspapers, including the St. Petersburg Times and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.


Jensen drew widespread attention for an opinion piece titled U.S. just as guilty of committing own violent acts. It was published in the Houston Chronicle on September 14, 2001, shortly after the September 11th terrorist attacks.

In the piece, Jensen wrote that the September 11th terrorist attacks were "reprehensible and indefensible" but "no more despicable than the massive acts of terrorism -- the deliberate killing of civilians for political purposes -- that the U.S. government has committed during my lifetime."

Jensen's piece drew both praise and criticism. Some individuals demanded that The University of Texas fire Jensen. In response, University of Texas President Larry Faulkner wrote in a letter to the editor published in the Houston Chronicle that he was "disgusted by Jensen's article" and called Jensen "a fountain of undiluted foolishness on issues of public policy."


  • All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice (Soft Skull Press, 2009)
  • Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007)
  • The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lightsmarker, 2005) ISBN 978-0872864498
  • Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (City Lights, 2004) ISBN 978-0872864320
  • Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream (Peter Lang, 2002) ISBN 978-0820456515
  • Co-author with Gail Dines and Ann Russo of Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality (Routledge, 1998)
  • Co-editor with David Allen of Freeing the First Amendment: Critical Perspectives on Freedom of Expression (New York University Press, 1995)

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