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Wintersession 2020

Wintersession 2020 Schedule

Theme: Freedom at Home and Abroad

Venue: Humanities Common Room (Third Floor Link Between Founders and Green Halls), Wellesley College

Wintersession 2020 features an exciting and diverse range of speakers exploring freedom in its various forms in the United States, and other parts of the world. Topics will include freedom of speech and culture policing in the United States, the legacy of campaigners for freedom in the United States and southern Africa, the war on terror, the debate between fossil fuels, renewable energy, and climate change, the importance of freedom of speech and controversial ideas on campus, and the unmasking style in social theory.

Day 1. Tuesday 21 January 2020 The Politics of Social Change

0830hrs: Continental Breakfast

0930hrs: Session 1

“Social Justice or harmful self-righteous wrath? Political correctness and the fate of free speech”, by Cathy Young, Author and Journalist.

This lecture explores the dynamics of the social justice and political correctness movements, which have gained prominence in the last few years in the United States. It will unpack the nature and origin of culture policing and its manifestations on college campuses and society in general. The talk also explores the ways in which political correctness is intertwined with identity politics on race, gender, and religious beliefs, and the overall impact of these contemporary political movements on free speech.

1200hrs: Lunch

1300hrs: Session 2

Reflecting on the legacies of campaigners for freedom in the US and beyond: What does Freedom mean for the youth today? By Chipo Dendere, Assistant Professor, Africana Studies at Wellesley College and Sindiso Mnisi-Weeks, Assistant Professor, School of Global Inclusion and Social Development, University of Massachusetts Boston.

This session, which is also our Martin Luther King memorial talk, presents two Ted Talk-style lectures that focus on the legacy of the campaigners of freedom in the United States and southern Africa, particularly Zimbabwe and South Africa. It reflects on what freedom means to young people today, and the ways in which they may exercise and promote freedom in our changing societies.

Day 2. Wednesday 22 January 2020 Global Industrial Policy and Security

0830hrs: Continental Breakfast

0930hrs: Session 1

“Engineering Rules: Global Standard Setting since 1880,” by Craig Murphy, Betty Freyhof Johnson ’44 Professor of Political Science, Wellesley College.

This book talk gives insight into the realm of global standard setting, that has shaped global industries, from technology, trade, construction and the environment. It reveals the ways in which the committees of global stakeholders, which include manufacturers, users, and unaffiliated engineers collaborated to develop these standards of compliance, and the impact of these standards on human livelihoods worldwide.

1200hrs: Lunch

1300hrs: Session 2

“Is the “war on terror” a war in perpetuity?” By Jason Warner, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences and Combating Terrorism Centre, United States Military Academy at West Point

This lecture delves into the United States’ war on terror, how it began, and how it has evolved over time. It also looks at the impact of the war on the United States’ domestic and foreign policy and politics, its seemingly unending nature, and the new frontiers for the war against terrorism. The talk will also discuss the ways in which the war on terror is intertwined with the exercise of freedom, particularly the nexus between security, state surveillance, privacy, freedom of speech, movement, and association.

Day 3. Thursday 23 January 2020. Campus and Environmental Politics

0830hrs: Continental Breakfast

0930hrs: Session 1

"Understanding the dynamics of campus politics" By Jonathan Zimmerman, Professor of History of Education, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania

Although universities and colleges have long been considered sites for open enquiry and free exchange of ideas, the wave of controversy that has swept the American academy in recent years contradicts this belief. In this book talk, Dr. Zimmerman unpacks the history, causes, and manifestations of these contemporary political developments, analysing the implications of the goals of social justice such as political correctness, affirmative action, speech policing, in-loco parentis administration, trigger warnings and safe spaces on academic freedom, and free speech. 

1200hrs: Lunch

1300hrs: Session 2

“Can the renewables sector coexist with the fossil fuel industry?” By Nadege Compaore, Provost Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, and Todd Moss, Executive Director for the Energy for Growth Hub.

The fossil fuels industry has come under increasing scrutiny and criticism in recent years, with the renewables energies sector gaining more prominence. However, since the debate on climate change is a political hot potato, this has often obscured facts and truth regarding the actual impact of the fossil fuels industry, and whether the renewable sector is a realistic and immediate alternative that will completely replace the fossil fuels industry. This conversation brings together two experts on the subject, who will discuss the extent to which the two energy sectors can coexist, and the future of energy policies in general in the United States and beyond.

Day 4: Friday 24 January 2020. Freedom of Speech and Civil Discourse

0830hrs: Continental Breakfast

0930hrs: Session 1

"Civility, Self-Censorship, and the Freedom of Expression" By JP Messina, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of New Orleans

Norms of civility restrict what one can say and when one can say it. Put differently, being civil requires a measure of self-censorship. So understood, perhaps recent claims that civility is no requirement of morality (or that only a very thin form of civility is so required) are good news for free expression. Unfortunately, these skeptical arguments against civility are subject to stiff empirical challenges. Messina argues that some measure of self-censorship is morally required, but that this is compatible with the ideals of free expression and the good life.

1200hrs: Lunch 

1300hrs: Session 2

“The Unmasking Style in Social Theory”, by Peter Baehr, Research Professor in Social Theory, Lingnan University, Hong Kong.

In this book talk, Dr Baehr examines the nature of unmasking in social theory, revolutionary movements, and popular culture. “Unmasking” is the practice of revealing the truth beneath by claiming to remove a disguise, and this can be aimed at groups or individuals.  Dr. Baehr unpacks the intellectual origins of unmasking, how it has evolved, and its techniques, such as micro-aggressions, and how these contribute to social polarization and bitterness of public discourse.

1530hrs: End of Program and Pizza Party

 

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