College of Humanities perspective series to shine a spotlight on free speech on college campuses

By Eric Swedlund, School of Humanities


The School of Humanities The first Perspectives series will address the issue of free speech on college campuses.

The event on April 26 in At the National Press Club in Washington, DC, speakers from academia, journalism, and nonprofit organizations will answer the questions “How Free is Speech on Campus, and Does it Matter?” speak to. The event will be moderated by Keith AllredExecutive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona.

The event will broadcast livewith a Discussion guide available, called Alain Philippe Durand, Dorrance Dean of the College of Humanities. The Perspectives Series begins at 3:00 p.m. Arizona time.

“What are the unique ways the liberal arts can inform this conversation about free speech on college campuses? This is often framed around legal or political arguments, but the humanities perspective is fascinating and unique that can bring new insights and understanding to the topic,” Durrand said. “Our hope is that this connects to larger questions about how people interact within a culture and how we overcome differences.”

Designed to bring together Thought leaders representing a variety of viewpoints The Perspectives series aims to do just that provide an in-depth and multi-faceted discussion of pressing issues and possible new solutions. Speakers present a wide range of ideas and opinions, while audiences are encouraged to challenge their own ideas as they consider a variety of other perspectives, Durand said.

Speakers at the opening event include:

  • Jeff Chang is a leader in racial justice movements and regularly speaks and writes on history, culture, politics and music. As Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts, he has experience leading student-centric programs at Stanford. He is currently the senior advisor to Race Forward, a national non-profit organization building policy and movement focused on racial justice.
  • Michelle Deutchman is Executive Director of the UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, working on all 10 UC campuses to shape and respond to the national and campus discourse on free speech. A law instructor at UCLA, she previously served as the Western States Attorney for the Anti-Defamation League, training administrators and law enforcement officials in upholding free speech while maintaining an inclusive campus environment.
  • Bill Kristol is a journalist and commentator for national news channels, who speaks on a wide range of topics, including foreign policy, constitutional law and political philosophy. He was the founder and editor-in-chief of The Weekly Standard and is currently the editor-in-chief of The Bulwark. Before running The Weekly Standard, Kristol ran the Project for the Republican Future. He has had many free speech conversations on his video platform, Conversations with Bill Kristol.

“The experts we have invited to this first Perspectives series are widely recognized and present a wide range of viewpoints. We are excited to introduce these speakers and show how important the humanities are for generating new insights, connections and solutions create,” said Durand. “We are offering the campus community and beyond a thoughtful way to address this complex issue.”

UArizona will also host the Humanities Leadership Summit in DC

That The Perspectives Series is part of the Fearless Inquiries Project, an ongoing flagship effort by the UArizona College of Humanities that aims to foster a national culture that values ​​open discussion, independent judgment, and challenging assumptions. The project is supported by a donation of $5.4 million from alumni Jacquelynn and Bennett Dorrance to endow the deanship of the philosophical faculty.

“People see the humanities as a way to think through different challenges and find answers and solutions in new ways,” Durand said. “Our goal is to show the power of the humanities, to spark these kinds of conversations, to open people’s minds to new perspectives and concepts, and to provide a framework for the synthesis and understanding of different viewpoints.”

That The Fearless Inquiries Project also includes faculty awards for research and teaching. The first Dorrance Dean’s Award for Opening the Canon was presented to Jacqueline Barrios, Assistant Professor at the Department of Public and Applied Humanities. And the Dorrance Dean’s Award for Research & Entrepreneurialism went to Kristy SlominskiAssistant Professor at the Institute for Religious Studies and Classical Philology.

In addition to the Perspectives Series, the College of Humanities is hosting a Humanities Leadership Summit on April 27 with prominent guests Shelly C. Lowe, a UArizona graduate recently appointed Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities; Robert B. Townsend, who directs humanities, arts, and culture programs for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and leadership of other humanities programs around the country. The Summit will be held at the University of Arizona’s Center for Outreach & Collaboration in Washington, DC.

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