Susan Sontag (1933-2004) was an American essayist, critic, and social activist. She frequently wrote from and about areas of conflict, as well as on topics ranging from healthcare and illness to human rights. Sontag is often cited as one of the most influential social critics of her generation.

"We live in a culture in which intelligence is denied relevance altogether, in a search for radical innocence, or is defended as an instrument of authority and repression. In my view, the only intelligence worth defending is critical, dialectical, skeptical, desimplifying."

Source: "Women, the Arts, & the Politics of Culture: An Interview with Susan Sontag" in Salmagundi, No. 31-32 (Fall/Winter 1975), p. 29; later published in Conversations with Susan Sontag (1995) edited by Leland A. Poague, p. 77. (via Wikiquote)

Photo credit: "Susan Sontag, Miami Book Fair International, 1994" by MDCarchives - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons