Frederick Lawrence will visit the UW in October 2017. We will use this occassion to study normative controversies relating to freedom of speech. Among the questions we consider: On what grounds, if any, should governments and universities restrict speech? Should they have a right to prohibit hate speech and restrict offensive speech? What is hate speech? Is it morally wrong, and if so, why? Setting aside legal debates, how should we as ordinary citizens and members of a university community respond to hate speech, offensive speech, false speech, or otherwise harmful or worthless speech? To address these questions, we will read philosophical and legal scholarship (including work by Lawrence) and excerpted court opinions. Students will deepen their understanding of the legal, moral, and philosophical controversy regarding hate speech; learn about and critically engage weighty arguments on different sides of the debate; and develop their own well-informed and well-reasoned positions on the questions raised.
Meeting Times and Location
Tuesday, October 10, 3:30-5 pm
Tuesday, October 17, 3:30-5 pm
Tuesday, October 24, 3:30-5 pm (with Frederick Lawrence)
Tuesday, October 31, 3:30-5 pm
Tuesday, November 7, 3:30-5 pm
Sessions meet in Communications 202.
Frederick Lawrence is the Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and a Visiting Professor of Law & Public Policy at Georgetown University. A leading scholar of civil rights and free speech jurisprudence, Lawrence has served as President of Brandeis University, Dean of the George Washington University Law School, and Visiting Professor and Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School. He is the author of Punishing Hate: Bias Crimes Under American Law (Harvard University Press, 1999). Lawrence recently testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about free speech, academic freedom, and civility on American college campuses.
Jamie Mayerfeld (Professor, Political Science) is the author of The Promise of Human Rights: Constitutional Government, Democratic Legitimacy, and International Law (2016) and Suffering and Moral Responsibility (1999).