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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

John H. Summers

boisi center for religion and american public life

John Summers is Visiting Scholar at the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. He has taught at Harvard University, Columbia University, and The Cooper Union, and received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Rochester in 2006.

Summers’s first collection of essays,  Every Fury on Earth (2008), “shows a mastery of the drily ironic style that would stand any social critic in very good stead,” wrote Alan Ryan in Times Higher Education. Bookforum said “Summers writes pieces that traverse multiple disciplines—history, sociology, literature—and bristle with elegant pugnacity. Whether he is blowing the dust off late-nineteenth-century sex scandals or slashing at the parlous state of adjunct labor in the academy, his sentences resound with the clatter and clank of fresh thought coming hard up against the intellectual armor protecting powerful institutions.”

Summers is the editor of The Politics of Truth: Selected Writings of C. Wright Mills (Oxford, 2008), whose biography he is writing. "Choosing from the plethora of Mills's publications is no easy task," wrote Alan Wolfe in a review in The New Republic. "Summers has handled this chore wisely, rejecting a handy potpourri in favor of concentrating on what Mills had to say about a particular problem: the role intellectuals should play in contemporary society."

Summers's essays have been published in The New Republic, New York Times Book Review, Boston Review, The Nation, Journal of American History, and many other periodicals. An online archive of his writing can be found at his web site:

The Politics of Truth

Every Fury on Earth