iOS app Android app

Robert Fuller
GET UPDATES FROM Robert Fuller
 
Robert W. Fuller is author of Somebodies and Nobodies, All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity, and (with co-author Pamela Gerloff) Dignity for All: How to Create a World Without Rankism. He coined the term rankism and is active worldwide in the Dignity Movement. His latest books are Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship?, From Genome to Wenome: The Key to Universal Dignity, Belonging: A Memoir, and The Rowan Tree: A Novel.

He earned his Ph.D. in physics at Princeton University and taught at Columbia, where he co-authored the text Mathematics of Classical and Quantum Physics. He then served as president of Oberlin College, his alma mater.

On a trip to India, where he was a consultant to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Fuller witnessed firsthand the horrors of genocidal famine. Subsequently, he met with President Carter to propose the creation of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger.

During the 1980s, Fuller traveled frequently to the USSR, working to improve the Cold War relationship with the U.S. For many years, he served as chairman of the nonprofit global corporation Internews, which promotes democracy via free and independent media.

Fuller is now an international authority on dignity and rankism (abusive, discriminatory, or exploitative behavior towards those with less power as signified by lower rank). In January 2011, he was the keynote speaker at "The National Conference on Dignity for All" hosted by the president of Bangladesh. Fuller has also served as visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Science and the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore. He has made hundreds of public appearances and his work has been featured in scores of books and publications including the New York Times, O Magazine, and The Contemporary Goffman.

In his books, Fuller makes the case that rankism is a major obstacle to organizational effectiveness and develops a “politics of dignity” that addresses issues of social justice. These books, which have been published in China, Korea, Bangladesh, and India, show how we can combat rankism and narrow the dignity gap between "somebodies" and "nobodies." Having unmasked the damage rankism does to individuals, organizations, and nations, Fuller lays out a vision for a dignity movement that will transform society in a way that identity politics cannot. This is not a call for an egalitarian society where all are equal in rank, but rather a road map to a dignitarian society where all are equal in dignity.

Robert W. Fuller may be contacted here.

Entries by Robert Fuller

A Moral Dilemma for Academia: Dignity for Adjuncts

(1) Comments | Posted February 6, 2014 | 12:00 PM

In choosing the academic life, most teachers expect to be part of a community committed to freedom, fairness, and justice. It's the rare academic who does not take pride in belonging to an honorable profession.

I was a young college president during the turmoil of the '60s and early...

Read Post

Curing the Poison of 'Rankism'

(2) Comments | Posted August 13, 2013 | 2:53 PM

I got a close look at the poison of "rankism" at the age of 7, when my classmate Arlene was sent to the hall for the whole school day. Arlene lived on a farm and wore the same dress to school each day. When she spoke, it was in a...

Read Post

The Self Is Dead -- Long Live the Superself

(3) Comments | Posted July 25, 2013 | 2:59 AM

This is the sixth and final post in the series "Why Everything You Know about Your 'Self' Is Wrong." The series explores how our understanding of selfhood affects our sense of individuality, our interpersonal relationships, and our politics.

We must believe in free will. We have no choice. -- Isaac...
Read Post

What Is Man?

(2) Comments | Posted July 22, 2013 | 10:26 AM

This is the fifth post in the series "Why Everything You Know about Your 'Self' Is Wrong." The series explores how our understanding of selfhood affects our sense of individuality, our interpersonal relationships, and our politics.

What Is Man? is the title of a little book by Mark Twain. He...

Read Post

The Superself: Genome, Menome, and Wenome

(0) Comments | Posted July 16, 2013 | 4:10 PM

This is the fourth post in the series "Why Everything You Know about Your 'Self' Is Wrong." The series explores how our understanding of selfhood affects our sense of individuality, our interpersonal relationships, and our politics.

Why are you unhappy?

Because 99.9 percent

Of everything you think,

...

Read Post

What Was the Most Important Thing People Learned in the 20th Century?

(98) Comments | Posted July 10, 2013 | 1:12 PM

What was the principal take-away from the 20th century?

Atomic energy? DNA? Penicillin? Or, something from the world of art or philosophy or psychology? The title question leaves plenty of room for debate.

My answer is that the most important learning of the century was disabusing ourselves of the notion...

Read Post

'Self' Is a Misnomer

(9) Comments | Posted July 2, 2013 | 2:52 PM

This is the third post in the series "Why Everything You Know about Your 'Self' Is Wrong." The series explores how our understanding of selfhood affects our sense of individuality, our interpersonal relationships, and our politics.

As suggested in the two preceding posts in this series, selfhood was on the...

Read Post

Are You a Home for Identities?

(28) Comments | Posted June 30, 2013 | 10:04 AM

This is the second post in the series Why Everything You Know about Your "Self" Is Wrong. The series explores how our understanding of selfhood affects our sense of individuality, our interpersonal relationships, and our politics.

In the first post in this series, we disentangled the notion of selfhood from...

Read Post

Who Am I?

(7) Comments | Posted June 21, 2013 | 8:16 AM

This is the first post in the series "Why Everything You Know about Your 'Self' Is Wrong." The series explores how our understanding of selfhood affects our sense of individuality, our interpersonal relationships, and our politics.

Confusion about fundamental notions such as selfhood, identity, and consciousness distorts personal relationships, underlies...

Read Post

Einstein's Question: Is the Universe Friendly?

(125) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 5:20 PM

This is the 20th and last in the series Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship?

"We are as gods and have to get good at it." -- Stewart Brand

The shift from opportunistic predation to inviolate universal dignity is an epochal one, and arguably, it's one we now find ourselves...

Read Post

The Brotherhood of Man and the Politics of Dignity

(19) Comments | Posted May 31, 2013 | 4:10 PM

This is the 19th in the series "Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship."

As prophets in every religion have tried to tell us, humankind is one big extended family. The simultaneous advent of globalization and the emergence of dignitarian values is no coincidence. Greater exposure to "foreigners" is making their...

Read Post

The Moral Arc of the Universe

(3) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 12:50 PM

This is the 18th in the series 'Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship.'

The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.
-- Martin Luther King Jr.

2012-07-18-AndromedaGalaxy.jpgOne reading of the human story emphasizes war, domination, pillage, rape, slavery,...

Read Post

Rankism vs. the Golden Rule

(3) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 11:01 AM

This is the 17th in the series 'Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship.'

The Many Faces of Rankism

Rankism is a collective name for the various ways power can be abused in the context of a rank difference. It's a name broad enough to cover a wide range of rank-based...

Read Post

Something America and China Could Do Together

(6) Comments | Posted April 29, 2013 | 4:25 PM

It may be an exaggeration to say that as Chinese-American relations go, so goes the world, but it's probably not far from the mark. I'm not only thinking of China's and America's common interest in avoiding war on the Korean peninsula, but looking ahead to a time when, if the...

Read Post

The Source of Indignity

(2) Comments | Posted April 12, 2013 | 4:01 PM

[This is the 16th in the series Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship.]

What People Want - Dignity

2012-07-18-AndromedaGalaxy.jpgWhat people really want in relationships is dignity, not domination. While it's not hard to understand why people who have suffered oppression might fantasize taking a...

Read Post

Peace Dividend: A Model of Morality

(7) Comments | Posted February 21, 2013 | 3:13 PM

This is the 15th in the series Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship.

Somebodies and Nobodies

2012-07-18-AndromedaGalaxy.jpgBullying has always bothered me. Not just being bullied, though that too, of course. I mean the phenomenon of bullying, in all its forms. I think bullying troubles...

Read Post

A New Deal for Religion and Science

(3) Comments | Posted February 11, 2013 | 10:51 AM

This is the 14th in the series Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship.

2012-07-18-AndromedaGalaxy.jpgThose who argue that religion should be counted out are overlooking the role that religious leaders played in overcoming segregation in America, repealing apartheid in South Africa, and ending the communist...

Read Post

The Evolution of Moral Models

(86) Comments | Posted November 13, 2012 | 10:37 AM

This is the 13th in the series 'Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship.'

2012-07-18-AndromedaGalaxy.jpgWhen religion has committed itself to a particular science model, it has often been left behind as the public embraced a new model. That's the position in which the Catholic Church...

Read Post

A Foundation for a Beautiful Friendship

(4) Comments | Posted October 15, 2012 | 4:03 PM

This is the 12th in the series "Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship."

"Live your life as if there are no miracles and everything is a miracle." -- Albert Einstein

The Miraculous

2012-07-18-AndromedaGalaxy.jpgThe allure of mystery points directly to the nature of reality as...

Read Post

Is Anyone Enlightened?

(32) Comments | Posted October 8, 2012 | 12:59 PM

This is the 11th in the series 'Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship.'

2012-07-18-AndromedaGalaxy.jpgIn the aftermath of movement politics, California was teeming with seekers after truth. More than a few political activists had replaced their concerns about social justice with a quest for personal...

Read Post