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31st Annual Silha Lecture

October 3, 2016 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm


Free Expression Controversies on College Campuses to be Topic of 31st Annual Silha Lecture

October 3, 2016 | 7:30 PM
Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
University of Minnesota East Bank

This event is free and open to the public; no reservations are required.

SilhaCenterFrom “culturally offensive” Halloween costumes to protests over controversial speakers to “trigger warnings” in classrooms, debate over freedom of expression only seems new to America’s college campuses.  These and similar issues have roiled higher education for decades.  Randall L. Kennedy, the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, will revisit key disputes that are likely to continue to challenge First Amendment principles when he presents “The Politics and Law of the Culture Wars in American Higher Education, 1950-2020” at the 31st Annual Silha Lecture on October 3, 2016.

In his op-ed essay, “Black Tape at Harvard Law,” which appeared in The New York Times on Nov. 27, 2015, Professor Kennedy responded to activists who argued that when vandals defaced photographs of African-American law school professors by placing black tape over their faces, it constituted a “racial hate crime.” He wrote that although the taping was disturbing to many, the motives of those who vandalized the photos was unclear.  While acknowledging that the action may have been racist, he argued that “there is a need to calibrate carefully its significance.”  Noting that incidents like the one at Harvard Law inspired “difficult but earnest and probing conversations,” he suggested that “in the long run, reformers harm themselves by nurturing an inflated sense of victimization.” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/27/opinion/black-tape-at-harvard-law.html

The author of numerous books and articles, Professor Kennedy is uniquely qualified to discuss race relations in the United States.  His books include For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law (2013), The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency (2011), Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal (2008); Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity, and Adoption (2003), and Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word (2002).  In 1998, he was awarded the 1998 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Race, Crime and the Law.

Professor Kennedy attended Princeton University, Oxford University, and Yale Law School, followed by clerkships with Judge J. Skelly Wright of the United States Court of Appeals and with United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.  He is also a member of the American Law Institute, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.  Professor Kennedy currently teaches courses on civil rights and civil liberties, Constitutional law, and race and law at Harvard.

The 31st Annual Lecture begins at 7:30 pm at Cowles Auditorium in the Hubert H. Humphrey Center on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. A selection of Professor Kennedy’s books will be available for sale, with a book signing following the Lecture.  The Silha Lecture is free and open to the public. No reservations or tickets are required. Parking is available in the 19th and 21st Avenue ramps. Additional information about directions and parking can be found at www.umn.edu/pts.

The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law is based at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Silha Center activities, including the annual Lecture, are made possible by a generous endowment from the late Otto Silha and his wife, Helen.  For further information, please contact the Silha Center at 612 625 3421 or silha@umn.edu, or visit www.silha.umn.edu.


October 3, 2016
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Event Category:


Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law
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Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
301 19th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455 United States
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(612) 626-8910
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