Free speech on college campuses topic of convocation

December 13, 2018
By Leander Cohen '22

University of Pennsylvania professor and author Sigal Ben-Porath will present Carleton’s weekly convocation address on Friday, January 11 from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. Her presentation, titled “Free Speech on Campus,” will offer a framework for approaching contentious issues of free speech on college campuses. 

Carleton convocations are free and open to the public. They are also recorded and archived for online viewing on the Convocations website

Free speech is an increasingly contentious topic on college campuses and universities, with some disputes in recent years leading to large-scale protests. In her latest book, Free Speech on Campus (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), Ben-Porath discusses a useful framework she calls “Inclusive Freedom” for thinking about free speech controversies inside and outside the classroom. This framework shifts the focus away from disputes about legality and harm surrounding free speech and toward democracy and inclusion. She provides strategies to de-escalate tensions and negotiate highly-charged debates.

Ben-Porath is a professor in the Literacy, Culture and International Education Division of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, where she holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Political Science. Her research focuses on citizenship education, educational and social policy, and the social and educational effects of war. She has written five books, including “Citizenship under Fire: Democratic Education in Times of Conflict” (2006), “Tough Choices: Structured Paternalism and the Landscape of Choice” (2010), and “Varieties of Sovereignty and Citizenship” (2012).

Ben-Porath received her doctorate in political philosophy from Tel Aviv University in 2000. She is an executive committee member of the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy, and since 2015 has served as the chair of Penn State's Committee on Open Expression.

This event is sponsored by Carleton College Convocations. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located at First and College Streets in Northfield.