Joseph Orosco

Associate Professor
Director of the Peace Studies Program

Joseph OroscoDr. Orosco joined the OSU Faculty in fall 2001. He received his Ph.D and M.A in Philosophy from the University of California, Riverside, and his B.A in philosophy from Reed College in Portland, Oregon.  His primary area of interest is in social and political philosophy, particularly democratic theory and global justice. He teaches classes in American Philosophy and Latino/a and Latin American thought, with an emphasis on Mexican culture, history, and immigration to the United States.
Orosco is director of the Peace Studies program and teaches about issues of peace and nonviolence. Students can receive a Peace Studies certificate through the program.

Orosco has written on the political theory of various figures, including Josiah Royce, Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Cesar Chavez. In 2008, his first book, “Cesar Chavez and the Common Sense of Nonviolence,” was published by University of New Mexico Press.

He serves as a faculty advisor to MEChA and the Centro Cultural Cesar Chavez and is a founding member of the OSU Faculty and Staff for Peace and Justice.  For several years, he produced “Engage: Conversations in Philosophy, the podcast program of global culture, engaged philosophy, and transformative concepts.”  He is currently the co-editor of the Journal for Philosophy in the Contemporary World, and serves on the editorial boards of the Transactions of the Charles Pierce Society, the Inter-American Journal of Philosophy, and the Review Journal of Political Philosophy.

He has been a guest on National Public Radio’s “Philosophy Talk” and is a frequent speaker on issues of peace, nonviolence and the life of Cesar Chavez at venues around the country.

When he’s not doing philosophy, he enjoys travel, listening to Afro-Cuban music, practicing West African drumming, and salsa dancing.

What Did Dr. King Mean by Love?

By Joseph Orosco (August 15, 2017) As someone who regularly teaches about the political philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr., I often spend time discussing with students the ways in which King’s ideas are taken out of context and turned into sound bites in order to support positions he would not himself have taken. The most obvious example is how...
Read moreRead More »

Octavia Butler and the Journey Toward Utopia in the New Star Trek Discovery Series

By Joseph Orosco (August 10, 2017) Lots of people are noticing that our pop culture seems obsessed with apocalyptic and dystopia themes lately. Father of cyberpunk William Gibson thinks our narrative vision of the future is shrinking because we are focused on the end of the world tales. Brianna Rennix is concerned that the only people that seem to hold...
Read moreRead More »

The Utopiyin Imagination: Moving Forward Toward a Better World with Ursula Le Guin

By Joseph Orosco (July 12, 2017) Espen Hammer argues in the New York Times that we need to revive the utopian imagination in this era, fascinated by dystopian themes: “There are reasons, however, to think that a fully modern society cannot do without a utopian consciousness. To be modern is to be oriented toward the future. It is to be...
Read moreRead More »

What Does Interracial Marriage Have to do With Immigration?

By Joseph Orosco (June 12, 2017) Two legal news items today that may seem disconnected, but are not. In fact, they are reflections of the deep legacy of white supremacy in the United States. Today is the 50th anniversary of the US Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia, which struck down the 1924 Racial Integrity Act that prohibited whites...
Read moreRead More »

The Global War At Our Doorstep

By Joseph Orosco (May 10, 2017) A new report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies claims that Mexico is the second largest conflict zone behind Syria in 2016.  Some 50,000 people died in the Syrian conflict in 2016.  In Mexico, some 23,000 people were killed in one year as a result of drug cartel violence (that’s more than the...
Read moreRead More »

Angela Davis, MLK, and the "Intersectionality of Struggles"

By Joseph Orosco (April 6, 2017) In an interview in her new collection, Freedom is a Constant Struggle, Angela Davis is asked about being a pioneer in developing the concept of intersectionality. She responds: There were many pioneers of intersectionality but I do think it is important to acknowledge an organization that existed in New York in the late sixties and...
Read moreRead More »

Forget Orwell: Fight Club is the Novel to Make Sense of Life Under Trump

By Joseph Orosco (February 7, 2017)   Sales of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four are booming across the country and websites are publishing lists of dystopian literature that might help to make sense of life under the Trump administration. Eliana Johnson and Eli Stokols have provided us with what might be called the Bannon syllabus–a guide to the works that seem...
Read moreRead More »

Finding Hope in Dystopia: Children of Men

By Joseph Orosco (January 27, 2017) This academic term, the Anarres Project for Alternative Futures teamed up with the Allied Studies for Another Politics! and the Spring Creek Project to host a film and discussion series called “Finding Hope in Dystopia”.  The idea behind the series was to create a space for discussion about how to find hope for transformative...
Read moreRead More »

Trump and the Habits of White Utopia (or How Mexican Philosophers Help Get me Through Election Day)

  By Joseph Orosco (November 10, 2016)   In the late 1980s, Mexican anthropologist Guillermo Bonfil Batalla published his book Mexico Profundo, or Deep Mexico. In it, he argued that the lives and experiences of ordinary Mexicans living in rural areas and poor urban neighborhoods in Mexico continue to be rooted in Mesoamerican civilizations. Their understandings of work, community obligation,...
Read moreRead More »

It's Not Just Bad Cops, It's the System

By Joseph Orosco (July 7, 2016) The criminal justice system that is. In the aftermath of the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, there are calls for widespread police reform, ranging from mandatory body cameras, better training to the establishment of civilian oversight committees and the election of pro-reform officials. It’s not clear that these reforms that focus on...
Read moreRead More »

Farmworker March Has Important Lessons about Nonviolence and People Power

By Joseph Orosco (March 16, 2016) Fifty years ago this month, a small group of activists left Delano, California and began a march to Sacramento to raise national awareness about the plight of farmworkers.Read More »

How NOT to think about the Bundy Militia in Eastern Oregon

NM_Natl_Guard_June67_Ray_Cary-e1421891393486  By Joseph Orosco (January 5, 2016) So far in the analysis of the Bundy militia in Eastern Oregon, I haven’t seen anyone point out that the closest historical precedent to this incident happened fifty years ago in Northern New Mexico.Read More »


  Kris Paul is one of the founders of in Corvallis, Oregon.Read More »

INTERVIEW: Bart Bolger

  Bart Bolger is the current chair of the Veterans for Peace Linus Pauling Chapter 132 in Corvallis, Oregon.Read More »

Is it Ethical to Colonize Mars?

Juan_Ginés_de_Sepúlveda  By Joseph Orosco (November 4, 2015) Adam Frank, thinking about the success of Matt Damon’s new film The Martian, asks whether it would be moral to explore and colonize Mars. One of his concerns has to do with how we will treat any possible life forms that we encounter there, even at the microbial level.Read More »

W.E.B. Du Bois and the Significance of the Fourteenth Amendment

As part of OSU’s Constitution Day 2015 celebration, Anarres Project co-director Joseph Orosco discusses the significance of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution according to W.E.B. Du Bois.  For Du Bois, the promise of these Reconstruction amendments was the possibility of building a richer more deliberative and participatory democracy in the United States.  Du Bois thought that...
Read moreRead More »

Anarchism and the Walking Dead

fear-850x560  By Joseph Orosco (October 9, 2015) Fear the Walking Dead just finished its first highly rated season on the AMC cable network. FWD is a spin-off from the wildly successful series The Walking Dead which will soon begin its sixth season. Set in the same zombie apocalypse universe as TWD, FWD takes place in Los Angeles (instead of Georgia...
Read moreRead More »

Interview: Christina Allaback and Trek Theatre

  Christina Allaback is the Artistic Director for Trek Theatre, a new theater company out of Eugene, Oregon that seeks to bring Star Trek:  The Next Generation episodes to live public performances.Read More »

Should Benton County be Renamed?

White Supremacy and Manifest Destiny in one of Oregon’s Most Liberal Counties By Joseph Orosco (September 1, 2015)Read More »

OSU's Confederate Legacy: Should Arnold Dining Hall Be Renamed?

  By Joseph Orosco (August 19, 2015) Late last week, based on recommendations from a university-wide committee, President Gregory Fenves of the University of Texas at Austin ordered the removal of a prominent statue of Confederate president Jefferson Davis from the Main Mall. He explained that taking the statue away was in the interest of “fostering an inclusive environment” and...
Read moreRead More »

Should Corvallis Rename Avery Park?

  Making #blacklivesmatter in Oregon By Joseph Orosco   (July 3, 2015) Since the horrid massacre in Charleston, a seismic shift has occurred across the country in regard to the nation’s white supremacist history.Read More »

Is Rachel Dolezal a "Saltapatras"? What Latin America Can Teach us about so called 'transracial' Identity.

mestizo  By Joseph Orosco Is Rachel Dolezal Black or is she a white person “passing” as Black?Read More »

Let's get rid of the phrase "Preaching to the Choir"

By Joseph Orosco A few weeks ago, I listened to Walidah Imarisha and Gabriel Teodros share their writing from the new speculative fiction collection Octavia’s Brood. They both spoke about using science fiction as a vehicle for sparking the imagination to think about liberation and a socially just future. During the Q & A, someone asked whether or not their...
Read moreRead More »

Remembering the Rodney King Uprising Twenty Three Years Later

Sides-LA-Riots-3_525April 29, 2015 marks twenty three years since the beginning of one of the largest urban uprisings in US American history.  For several days after a Simi Valley jury let the Los Angeles police officers who beat and tasered Rodney King go free, residents throughout LA county expressed frustration, anger and sadness; marched, walked, and fought back against systems of...
Read moreRead More »

The Continuing Relevance of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Student Voices

MartinLutherKingJr2  By Joseph Orosco In Winter of 2014, I taught a seminar on the political philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr.  The class takes a historical view of King’s work, tracing his thinking from the period of the Montgomery Bus Boycott until his final works dealing with the Vietnam War and the Poor People’s March.  I asked students, at the...
Read moreRead More »

Older Entries »