Public Works

  • Bruce Robbins Columbia University


The ambiguities of the word public show with unusual clarity when the subject is public works, when it is unclear what, if any, citizen engagement or influence has been brought to bear. This article asks whether the discourse of the common good can be salvaged for large scale mobilisations, whether they be infrastructure projects or responses to ecological crisis. 

Author Biography

Bruce Robbins, Columbia University

Bruce Robbins is the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. He was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 2011. Professor Robbins is the author of many books and articles, and his latest book is Perpetual War: Cosmopolitanism from the Viewpoint of Violence (2012). His documentary "Some of My Best Friends Are Zionists" is available at 

School of Athens
How to Cite
Robbins, Bruce. 2015. “Public Works”. FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture & The Arts, no. 21 (December).
Guest Articles