From the University of California, Berkeley, to Middlebury College, institutions of higher learning increasingly find themselves on the front lines of cultural and political battles over free speech. Repeatedly, students, faculty, administrators, and politically polarizing invited guests square off against one another, assuming contrary positions on the limits of thought and expression, respect for differences, the boundaries of toleration, and protection from harm.
In Free Speech on Campus, political philosopher Sigal Ben-Porath examines the current state of the arguments, using real-world examples to explore the contexts in which conflicts erupt, as well as to assess the place of identity politics and concern with safety and dignity within them. She offers a useful framework for thinking about free-speech controversies both inside and outside the college classroom, shifting the focus away from disputes about legality and harm and toward democracy and inclusion. Ben-Porath provides readers with strategies to de-escalate tensions and negotiate highly charged debates surrounding trigger warnings, safe spaces, and speech that verges on hate. Everyone with a stake in campus controversies—professors, students, administrators, and informed members of the wider public—will find something valuable in Ben-Porath's illuminating discussion of these crucially important issues.
University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.; July 2017
- ISBN: 9780812294927
- Read online, or download in secure ePub format
- Title: Free Speech on Campus
- Author: Sigal R. Ben-Porath
Imprint: University of Pennsylvania Press
In The Press
"Ben-Porath's Free Speech on Campus firmly sets aside the sensationalism and venom we often see in off-campus discussion of university speech, in favor of a careful defense of 'inclusive freedom.' Her argument persausively emphasizes the fundamental compatibility between universities' commitments both to open inquiry and to open participation in the community of inquiry. This is not splitting the difference, but a principled argument that inclusion doesn't require censorship, and academic freedom is a value that can be open to all on America's diversifying campuses. A wise and valuable book."—Jacob T. Levy, McGill University
About The Author
Sigal R. Ben-Porath is Professor of Education, Political Science, and Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. She is author of Citizenship under Fire: Democratic Education in Times of Conflict and Tough Choices: Structured Paternalism and the Landscape of Choice. With Rogers M. Smith, she edited the volume Varieties of Sovereignty and Citizenship, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.