Earlier this month LARB co-sponsored a forum at UC Irvine: What Cannot Be Said: Freedom of Expression in a Changing World. Timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, the conference featured panels, interviews, and performances on the topic of freedom of expression and its relationship to media and satire, to the digital era, to campus politics, to repressive conditions around the world, and to a number of other topics in the realm of law and freedom.
One of the most anticipated panels, The New Correct: Freedom of Expression on Campus, addressed a topical subject, considering we were on a college campus: are growing student movements, especially ones that are concerned with identity politics, microaggressions, and safe spaces threatening freedom of expression on college campuses?
First to speak was Brendan O’Neill, editor of spiked, columnist for the Big Issue and Reason, and a self-described free speech absolutist.
The strongest rebuttal came from David Palumbo-Liu, Professor of Comparative Literature at Stanford University and frequent writer on issues relating to cultural studies, ethnic studies, and literary theory.