Unfettered Expression: Freedom in American Intellectual Life

By Chemerinsky, Erwin | Academe, September/October 2001 | Go to article overview

Unfettered Expression: Freedom in American Intellectual Life


Chemerinsky, Erwin, Academe


Peggie J. Hollingsworth, ed. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000, 192 pp.

ERWIN CHEMERINSKY

IN THE FIRST WEEK OF APRIL 2001, the University of Southern California arrested a student for distributing leaflets outside the university bookstore. The student's handbills protested the sale of USC apparel that was made in sweatshops and by slave labor. The message obviously was uncomfortable to the university, so it reacted as institutions often do when they don't like the speech: it tried to silence the speaker. The student now faces university disciplinary charges and possibly criminal prosecution for not heeding an order from a university security officer to stop doing something that was classic peaceful free-speech activity.

The reality is that universities and other institutions often feel the desire to stop and to punish speech that they and others dislike.

Sometimes the censorship efforts are defended in the noblest of terms, such as to preserve American democracy during the McCarthy era or to advance equality in enacting hate-speech codes in the 1990s. Universities, of course, are not unique in this impulse to censor. But the dedication to freedom of expression is perhaps the greatest in colleges and universities where there is a professed commitment to academic freedom.

Unfettered Expression: Freedom in American Intellectual Life, edited by Peggie Hollingsworth, is a fascinating collection of essays on various aspects of academic freedom. The book consists of a series of lectures delivered on the topic at the University of Michigan over a ten-year period. The origin of the lecture series, described by Hollingsworth in the first chapter, is one of the most interesting and compelling aspects of the book. During the McCarthy era, three University of Michigan professors were suspended and two of them were ultimately fired for invoking their constitutional rights and refusing to answer questions before the House Un-American Activities Committee. The book begins movingly with a photograph and biography of each: H. Chandler Davis, Clement L. Markert, and Mark Nickerson. Strikingly, and this is not explicitly mentioned elsewhere in the book, their biographies show that each went on to great success at other universities in their respective fields of mathematics, biology, and pharmacology.

In 1990 the faculty senate at the University of Michigan resolved to create a lecture series named after these three men. The book consists of the nine lectures delivered between 1991 and 1999 as the University of Michigan Senate's Davis, Markers, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom. The nine lecturers include First Amendment scholars Robert O'Neil and Lee Bollinger; history professors Walter Metzger, Roger Wilkins, and David Hollinger; a federal judge, Avern Cohn; and a former managing editor of the New York Times, Eugene Roberts. One of the most powerful essays is by Catharine Stimpson, university professor and dean of the graduate school at New York University, who recounts her own tenure fight in which opposition to her was based on her political views and her sexuality.

The book has all of the virtues and all of the flaws to be expected of a collection of essays. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Unfettered Expression: Freedom in American Intellectual Life
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.