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Winter 2023 Course

Freedom of Expression and the Race Question

Prerequisites: None

Exam: No Exam

This course will examine racial influences on controversies involving claims to freedom of expression.

The provisional table of contents for the course is as follows:

  • Dissent, Repression, and Race in the Age of Slavery
  • Raising Voices despite Threats: protests against lynching and racial discrimination during wartime
  • Censorship as racial justice? — the campaign against “birth of a Nation”
  • Anti-communism, race, and freedom of expression
  • Dissent, repression, and race in the second reconstruction
  • Can protest against racism go too Far? (Should church be off limits?)(Should homes be off limits?)
  • Reading, writing, and worshipping behind prison walls
  • Censorship as racial justice (ii): critical race theory and other challenges from the left to liberal freedom of expression
  • Problems in liberal free expression ideology ((the disinvitation controversy) (State mandated “freedom”)
  • Attempts to silence progressive race talk: the campaign against critical race theory
  • The road ahead: seeking robust pluralism

The reading for the course will consist of provocative pieces with widely divergent positions on the issues under discussion.

The requirements for the course are two fold: active participation in conversation and a 15 to 20 page, double-spaced paper due within two weeks after the final class. I am not looking for a paper that will require additional research. I am looking for a concise, intense response to a pertinent topic that puts to use the readings and conversations generated by the course.