Freedom of Speech: A Curriculum for Studies into Darkness

Seminar Overview Mon 12 Nov 2018 - Sat 14 Sep 2019 Series of 6 seminars, presented from November 2018 through September 2019.

Each seminar is accompanied by suggested readings, seminar program with speaker biographies and, afterwards, a summary and video documentation.

Admission is free but advance registration is requested.

Please check links below to each individual seminar, which include registration link.
  • åCalendar
  • ,Map
  • Y Share
  • * 0Vote
Freedom of Speech: A Curriculum for Studies into Darkness

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees four specific freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and protest, and freedom of religion. With Indian artist Amar Kanwar's film Such a Morning (2017) as a point of departure--in particular the invitation contained in Letter 7--this seminar series imagines these four freedoms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution as points on the compass rose, which can be overlaid with intersectional thinking from artists, Indigenous peoples, feminists, and innumerable other perspectives, to question current circumstances, and to confront the inequities and uncertainties in our times, especially as they pertain to freedom of speech.

Such a Morning is, in the artist's words, "a modern parable about two people's quiet engagement with truth... Such a Morning navigates multiple transitions between speech and silence, democracy and fascism, fear and freedom. In the cusp between the eye and the mind, shifting time brushes every moment into new potencies. Each character seeks the truth through phantom visions from within the depths of darkness." Rather than a qualifying statement, "darkness" here holds the promise of complexity, discovery and, in Kanwar's words, "visions from within the depths of darkness" that will animate this program.

Structured as an open curriculum, each seminar examines a particular aspect of freedom of speech, reflecting on and informed by recent debates around hate speech, censorship, and racism in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Each seminar builds on the conversations started in previous sessions, and is accompanied by:

- Suggested Readings available on each seminar page;
- Program with speaker biographies;
- Summary; and
- Video documentation.

Admission is free! Advance registration is requested, see event pages below.

Freedom of Speech. A Curriculum of Studies into Darkness is organized by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School as part of the center's 2018–2020 curatorial focus If Art Is Politics. Curated by Carin Kuoni, Director/Chief Curator, Vera List Center, and Laura Raicovich with assistance by Gabriela López Dena, it is developed in collaboration with partner organizations ARTICLE 19; the National Coalition Against Censorship; New York Peace Institute; and Weeksville Heritage Center.

Seminar 1: Mapping the Territory
Monday, November 12, 2018
Partner organization: The National Coalition Against Censorship
Link to Readings, Program, Video Documentation and Summary

Seminar 2: Feminist Manifestos
Monday, December 3, 2018
Link to Readings, Program, Video Documentation and Summary

Seminar 3: Pervasive and Personal: Observations on Free Speech Online
Monday, February 11, 2019
Partner organization: ARTICLE 19
Link to Readings, Program, Video Documentation and Summary

Seminar 4: Say It Like You Mean It: On Translation, Communications, Languages
Monday, March 11, 2019
Link to Readings, Program, Video Documentation and Summary

Seminar 5: A Time for Seditious Speech
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Partner organization: Weeksville Heritage Center
@ Weeksville Heritage Center

Seminar 6: Going Towards the Heat: Speaking Across Difference
Monday, June 10, 2019
Partner organization: New York Peace Institute

Closing Convening: September 2019