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.

Dystopia Can Offer Caution But Utopia Brings Hope

By Joseph Orosco (November 5, 2018) The folks at Futurism Studios feel that we have become too entranced by dystopian stories about technology and political developments.  These stories can be good as tales of caution, they say, but too much can nurture cynicism and nihilism.  We need utopian stories to offer us hope: “So fiction — of the dystopian and...
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Science Fiction Can Tell Us What We Need to Know About Space Force

By Joseph Orosco (November 2, 2018) Mark Bould shows us that if you know the science fiction of alien invasion you can pretty much analyze the reasoning behind Trump’s proposal for Space Force: “Vice President Mike Pence’s August 9 Space Force press junket made clear that this great big bullying blustering pussy-grab for space, this effort to Make America Great...
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Post Modern Anarchist Revolution Coming (Hide the Meta-narratives)

By Joseph Orosco (October 30, 2018) Ever wonder what the post modern anarchist revolution would look like? “To have a successful post-modern anarchist revolution, it is necessary to pragmatically demolish, both conceptually and materially, bourgeois-capitalist socio-economic conditions; i.e., capitalist forces of production and capitalist relations of production, in order to install a patchwork plurality of autonomous-collectives, narratives and worker-cooperatives. Specifically,...
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What is "racial capitalism"?

By Joseph Orosco (October 29, 2018) Robin D.G. Kelley explains Cedric Robinson’s groundbreaking concept from Black Marxism: “Building on the work of another forgotten black radical intellectual, sociologist Oliver Cox, Robinson challenged the Marxist idea that capitalism was a revolutionary negation of feudalism. Instead capitalism emerged within the feudal order and flowered in the cultural soil of a Western civilization...
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Portland Police Attacks on Protestors Part of a Historical Legacy of Violence

(By Joseph Orosco, August 14, 2018) Alexander Reid Ross and Shane Burley have really important new article detailing the latest developments on the police violence that followed the Proud Boys/Patriot Prayer rally in Portland on August 4th.  Multiple sources immediately came out and indicated that the Portland Police Bureau deployed flash bang grenades and shot pepper ball rounds at antifa...
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Interview: Andrea Haverkamp--Laborwave Revolution Rado

Laborwave Revolution Radio is a podcast started in 2017 in Corvallis, Oregon.  It is regularly hosted by Andrea Anarchy and Person X.  This podcast features revolutionary news and activism commentary on a national and global level.  We interviewed one of the founders, Andrea Haverkamp, to talk about the goals of the program and to hear what inspired its creation.  You...
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The Separation of Immigrant Families is Institutionalized Cruelty

By Joseph Orosco (June 19, 2018) As I listened to the recording of immigrant kids crying because they were being separated from their parents, I heard the Border Patrol agent joke that they sounded like an orchestra without a conductor. My reaction was to wonder how anyone could be so cruel to the fear of young children. What could make...
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Using Visionary Science Fiction to Teach Community Organizing

By Joseph Orosco (March 20, 2018) Every year, I teach a class which is an introduction to the discipline of peace studies. About five years ago, after teaching a successful seminar on community organizing and praxis with Anarres Project co-founder, Tony Vogt, I started to include theories of community organizing into the class. We start the term by looking at...
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Loving the Radical King: Remarks for the City of Corvallis Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

By Joseph Orosco (February 1, 2018) I was asked by several folks to share my talk that I gave for the City of Corvallis Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration 2018, sponsored by the King Legacy Advisory Board.  This is a talk that builds on an essay I wrote shortly after the white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville in summer 2017.  ...
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Trump’s Comments Recall A Racist Past in Immigration Policy

By Joseph Orosco (January 14, 2018) The condemnation of Trump’s remarks on immigration has been swift and widespread.  Most of the denunciations cast his ideas as seriously out of line with American ideals on immigration.  The problem is that they aren’t really.  From the very beginning of our nation, there has been a white nationalist core driving our immigration priorities. ...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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,...
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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...
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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 »

INTERVIEW: Kris Paul

  Kris Paul is one of the founders of 350Corvallis.org 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 »

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