Princeton University Constitution Day Lecture
F*#% Free Speech focuses on the recent debates on college campuses where “conservatives” and “liberals” seem to be aligned against “progressive” students. Rather than offer policy solutions, this talk highlights how “free speech,” as currently celebrated in the media, makes little or no sense anthropologically. Language is partial, relies on context for comprehensibility, and can have implications that exceed simply hurting someone’s feelings. And contrary to the ACLU’s statement on their website about the role of free speech on college campuses, the academy has never promoted free speech as its central value. This talk explores how academic freedom, and refusing to relitigate policies such as Nazism or Japanese internment, are not mutually exclusive.
Supported by the Office of the Provost. Cosponsored by the Program in Law and Public Affairs, the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, and the Department of Anthropology.