Liberal Arts Plus Free Speech Reading Group
The Spring 2018 Free Speech Reading Group: "Fearless Speech"
This semester, WDPD will be reintroducing the Free Speech Reading Group and focusing on the theme of "Fearless Speech."
The idea of fearless speech is at the heart of rhetorical study and democratic practice. A free society cannot function absent the people's ability and willingness to speak out on controversial issues or voice unpopular views.
This notion is a vital part of American political culture, but its roots can be traced back millennia to the ancient Greek word parrhesia. Parrhesia describes not only the freedom to speak boldly, but the ethical obligation to do so--even when it is inconvenient or dangerous. For this reason, 20th century philosopher Michel Foucault describes parrhesia as "speaking truth to power."
By centering our readings and discussions on fearless speech, broadly construed, the Free Speech Reading Group will explore dissent, protest, laws, and cultural norms relating to free speech. Readings will be an accessible mix of scholarly works and popular press materials.
The Free Speech Reading Group is open to all members of the Wabash community. Group meetings typically last one hour.
March 1, 2018: "Call-Out" Meeting & Planning Discussion
March 15, 2018: Balancing Free Expression and Inclusion on Campus (w/ guest Dr. Joel W. Martin)
Reading: John Palfrey, Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces
March 22, 2018: Fearless Speech and the State: Exploring Censorship and Social Consequences
- Whitney v. California
- University of Chicago "Statement on Free Expression"
- Erwin Chemerinsky, "Hate Speech is Protected Free Speech, Even on College Campuses" (link)
- The Economist, "Free Expression v. Offensive Speech at the Supreme Court" (link)
- Karol Markowicz, "What Free Speech Isn't" (link)
March 27, 2018: Speech, Sport, and Dissent (w/ guest Dr. Michael Butterworth)
- Michael Butterworth, "Protesters vs. Props for Freedom: College Athletes Can't Breathe Either" (link)
- Laura Wagner, "Confederate Army No Longer The Only Thing Ole Miss Glorifies After Coach Vows To Respect American Flag And National Anthem" (link)
- Dave Zirin, What's My Name, Fool? (Ch. 10)
April 12, 2018: Fearless Youth
Check back for more details on shared readings.
April 17, 2018: Theme TBD
April 26, 2018: Theme TBD
How to Get Involved
The Free Speech Reading Group is a participant-driven series that brings together students, faculty, staff, and guests to discuss issues of free speech, dissent, social issues, and democratic practice. We welcome your involvement and feedback as we shape the ongoing conversation. For more information, contact Democracy Fellow Charles Frey or Dr. Michael Bergmaier, WDPD's Program Coordinator.
Check this page for updated information on the Free Speech Reading Group.
WDPD's Free Speech Reading Group Project Team:
Dr. Michael Bergmaier, WDPD Program Coordinator and Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric
Charles Frey '19, Democracy Fellow and Team Leader