Freshman/Sophmore Seminar

Free Speech, Censorship, and Civil Rights
Course Number: 
238 Kroeber
Th 2:00 - 5:00

Freshman/Sophomore Seminar- This Lower Division undergraduate seminar for 20 students is participating in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech movement at Berkeley.  Beyond the life and work of Mario Savio, the seminar will explore moments when free speech, censorship, civil rights and human rights are in contention.

What does it means to be a free human being in a democratic or non-democratic or transitional democratic society? What are the forces that create a false consensus? What is censorship? How and in what forms is it tolerated in a mature democracy? How and why and for what ends do individuals learn to police and censor their own thoughts and actions?

The seminar is organized around several historical moments and themes: (1) The Birth of Civil Rights and Nonviolent Resistance: What was the US South like in the early 20th century? Resistance: Freedom Riders, Mississippi Summer, SNCC and the rise of Black Power, and the unfinished struggle for civil rights today (2) The Free Speech Movement - its historical and philosophical origins-free speech-the meaning of consent, coercion, consciousness/ false consciousness, and hegemony (3) The US in War and Peace: the Cold War, the Vietnam War, draft resistance and the founding of the Peace Corps. What motivated the idea of a ‘Peace Corps’ during a violent period of US aggression in Vietnam, Cambodia, and the imposition of police states in Central American and the Southern Cone? (4) Global Resistance: South Africa and the global struggle against apartheid, the Truth and Reconciliation process; The Middle East crisis –Israel, Palestine and the US (5) The Birth of Human Rights; (6) Cultures of Madness and Violence; the carceral society; maximum Security Prisons & madness on the streets; the militarization of everyday life (6) The Middle East Crisis and Anthropology; (7) The University in Crisis: From Free Speech to Self-Censorship and the Meaning of Civility.