21st March: 7.00pm
Free Speech: Debunking the Myths
Free speech is one of the most hotly-debated issues in recent times. Despite the ubiquity of the issue, however, there are many ways in which our understandings of free speech remain unclear.
Some such confusions centre on the following questions: Is freedom of speech in our universities under threat? Is there a problem in today’s world with ‘cancel culture’, and what should be done about it? What is hate speech, and how should we deal with it? In responding to some of these questions, this panel discussion aims to ‘debunk’ some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding free speech today.
Our panelists are:
Lorna Finlayson: Lorna got her PhD at King’s College Cambridge and is now a lecturer at the University of Essex. She is the author of The Political Is Political: conformity and the illusion of dissent in contemporary political philosophy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), and An Introduction to Feminism (CUP 2016). She also writes occasionally for outlets including the London Review of Books, the Guardian and the New Left Review.
Sarah Mazouz: Sarah completed a PhD in sociology at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris) in 2010 and is tenured researcher at the CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research). Her main research topics are anti-discrimination policies in different European countries, and citizenship politics in France and Germany. Her work draws on ethnography. It also leans on Critical Race theory, sociology of law, and anthropology of the State. She is the author of La République et ses autres. Politiques de l’altérité dans la France des années 2000, Lyon, ENS Éditions and Race, Paris, Anamosa, 2020. She is the co-author of Pour l’intersectionnalité, Paris, Anamosa, 2021.
Gavan Titley: Gavan is Senior Lecturer in the Dept of Media Studies, Maynooth University, and a Docent in the Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki. His books include Is Free Speech Racist? (Polity 2020), Racism and Media (Sage 2019), After Charlie Hebdo: Terror, Racism, Free Speech (ed. Zed Books 2011) and The Crises of Multiculturalism? Racism in a Neoliberal Age (with Alana Lentin, Zed Books 2011).
Suzanne Whitten: Suzanne completed her PhD in Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast in 2019, following which she worked at the University of Limerick. She is now Lecturer in Political Theory and Philosophy at Queen’s. Suzanne has recently published her first monograph, A Republican Theory of Free Speech (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022). She was also part of the Core Expert Group for the Northern Ireland Hate Crime Review (2020).