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Robert Horwitz

Robert Horwitz

2020-21 Academic Senate Vice Chair

Robert B. Horwitz is Professor in the Department of Communication at UC San Diego, where he has been on the faculty since 1982. He received his BA in Social Thought & Institutions from Stanford, and PhD in Sociology from Brandeis University. 

The focus of Horwitz’s scholarship is democracy, communication, and political reform. His first book, The Irony of Regulatory Reform: The Deregulation of American Telecommunications (Oxford 1989), presents a history of communications regulation in the United States. It examines the interrelation between the telephone and broadcast industries to understand the forces and rationales that precipitated in their deregulation. It was on the strength of this work that he was invited by African National Congress alliance policymakers to participate in the post-apartheid reform process in South Africa. Communication and Democratic Reform in South Africa (Cambridge 2001), the book that emerged from that engagement, analyzes the reform of the South African communication sector from apartheid-aligned apparatuses to accountable democratic institutions.

Horwitz’s most recent work represents a return to his intellectual roots in political sociology. America’s Right: Anti-establishment Conservatism from Goldwater to the Tea Party (Polity 2013) explores the rise of the particular form of American conservatism that has captured the Republican Party and seized the political agenda in the United States over the past four decades.

Horwitz also has written on First Amendment issues. He teaches courses in the areas of law and communication, and religion and politics.

He helped create the UCSD Thurgood Marshall College Dimensions of Culture freshman core curriculum and writing program. He has chaired his Department three times. Among many other University commitments, he served on the Committee for Academic Personnel 2013-16, chairing it 2015-16. He was Chair of the San Diego Division of the Academic Senate in 2018-19.