2017 Princeton University Constitution Day Lecture

Wed, Sep 13, 2017, 4:30 pm
Program in American Studies
Office of the Provost
James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions
Program in Law and Public Affairs
Department of Anthropology

“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.