As a philosophical and political doctrine, liberalism is committed to individ­ ual liberties and the protection of privacy. The critical focus on liberalism and the interest in analyzing social identities have led since the 1980s to the­ oretical explorations of the public sphere (Habermas 1989) and public cul­ ture (Black Public Sphere Collective 1995), and of the influence of each on identity formation. In turn, these interests and the material conditions they at once reflected and represented prompted a renewed concern about pub­ lic intellectuals and their commitments.