Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

Events & Workshops

  • Monday, February 26, 2018 - 4:30pm

    Silverstein Forum, Stiteler Hall First Floor (Accessibility)
    Free and open to the public / Food Provided

    SINCE THE FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT OF THE 1960S, freedom of expression at colleges and universities has been seen not only as a necessary element of academic inquiry, but as a key tool to further social and political justice.  At the same time, recognition of the harm and exclusionary effects of certain types of unrestrained speech has prompted calls, often by students themselves, to limit expression on campuses. And with the alt-right seeking to shatter norms of political discourse, campus speech has become a battleground once again.  In the midst of these battles, the Andrea Mitchell Center has convened a set of prominent academics who have struggled with the complexities of the issue to help find a way forward: Sigal Ben-Porath and Keith E. Whittington, who will share the insights of their recent books, with George Ciccariello-Maher as discussant and Rogers Smith serving as moderator. Questions from the audience are encouraged.

    SIGAL BEN-PORATH is Professor of Education, Political Science, and Philosophy at Penn, as well as a member of the Mitchell Center’s Executive Committee. Her research focuses on citizenship education, normative aspects of educational and social policy, and the social and educational effects of war.  She is the author of Free Speech on Campus (2017), which offers a framework for thinking about free-speech controversies both inside and outside the college classroom that seeks to shift the focus away from disputes about legality and harm and toward democracy and inclusion. 

    KEITH E. WHITTINGTON is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University and a leading authority on American constitutional theory and law. He is the author of Speak Freely (forthcoming April 2018), which examines such hot-button issues as trigger warnings, safe spaces, hate speech, disruptive protests, speaker disinvitations, the use of social media by faculty, and academic politics. Putting free speech and civil discourse at the heart of the university’s mission of creating and nurturing an open and diverse community dedicated to learning, Whittington highlights the dangers of empowering campus censors to limit speech and enforce orthodoxy.

    GEORGE CICCARIELLO-MAHER (discusssant) is an activist and former Associate Professor of Politics and Global Studies at Drexel University, as well as a lecturer in philosophy and political economy at the Venezuelan Ministry of Planning and Finance's School of Planning. In October 2017, he became the center of a media storm after tweeting, “All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide” (a term the alt-right uses to refer to interracial procreation). On December 28, Ciccariello-Maher announced his resignation from Drexel, effective December 31, citing "nearly a year of harassment by right-wing, white supremacist media outlets and Internet mobs, after death threats and threats of violence directed against me and my family.”  He is the author of Decolonizing Dialectics (2017), which brings the work of Georges Sorel, Frantz Fanon, and Enrique Dussel together to formulate a dialectics suited to the struggle against the legacies of colonialism and slavery.

    ROGERS M. SMITH (moderator) is Penn SAS Associate Dean for the Social Sciences, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science, and former Director of the Andrea Mitchell Center.

  • Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 4:30pm

    Silverstein Forum, Stiteler Hall First Floor (Accessibility)
    Free and open to the public / Food Provided
    Co-sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania Department of Religious Studies

    Discussant: Donovan Schaeffer (Penn Religious Studies)

    All attendees are encouraged to read Prof. Adcock's paper, available here.

    RECENT EVENTS UNDERSCORE THE THREAT OF COW PROTECTION in India: as laws against cow-slaughter are tightened, religious and caste minorities are being brutally assaulted or killed. How should we combat this politics? One strategy challenges cow protection on religious freedom grounds, as an imposition of Hindu religious preferences in violation of the religious rights of non-Hindus. Drawing on contemporary and historical material, Professor Adcock argues that a religious approach is counter-productive. Analytically, it yields an inadequate description of cow protectionist politics, past or present. Politically, it makes an unstable basis from which to resist Hindu majoritarianism.

    CASSIE ADCOCK is Associate Professor in the Department of History and in the religious studies program at Washington University in St. Louis. She specializes in religion in the political culture of modern north India. Her first book, The Limits of Tolerance: Indian Secularism and the Politics of Religious Freedom (2013), addresses the politics of religious conversion in India by providing a critical history of tolerance, a secularist ideal central to the Gandhian tradition. Her current book project traces the long history of cow protection in north India from 1881 until 1969. Her work has been supported by a Fulbright Scholar Award, an NEH-AIIS Senior Research Fellowship, and a Kluge Fellowship.

    All attendees are encouraged to read Prof. Adcock's paper, available here.

  • Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

    College Hall, Room 209 (Accessibility)
    Free and open to the public / Lunch provided

    Tina Irvine (University of Pennsylvania, History)
    “‘The Mountain Problem Solved in One Generation’: Alice Lloyd’s Eugenic Settlement Program and the Cultivation of Citizenship in the Mountains, 1917-1962”

    Dalaina Heiberg (University of Chicago, Political Science)
    World-Building in Settler Colonial Contexts: The Doukhobors’ Settlement on Indigenous Land and Collective Future Politics"

  • Thursday, March 22, 2018 - 4:30pm

    Silverstein Forum, Stiteler Hall First Floor (Accessibility)
    Free and open to the public

    HUSSEIN ALI AGRAMA is Associate Professor of Anthropology and of the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. His ongoing research interests are in the anthropology of law, religion, Islam, and the Middle East; in secularism, law and colonial power, and in the genealogies of sovereignty and emergency states. His work has been published in the journals Political Theory, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and American Ethnologist, and in several edited volumes. He is the author of Questioning Secularism: Islam, Sovereignty and the Rule of Law in Egypt (2012).

  • Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

    College Hall, Room 209 (Accessibility)
    Free and open to the public / Lunch provided

    Rajgopal Saikumar (New York University, English)
    “Jurisdictional Thinking in Kashmir-Literature: Tying up the Three L’s- Law, Land and

    Samuel Garrett Zeitlin (UC-Berkeley, Political Science)
    “Tyranny and the Jurisprudence of Value: Carl Schmitt’s Tyranny of Values (1960/1967/1979)”

  • Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 4:30pm

    Silverstein Forum, Stiteler Hall First Floor (Accessibility)
    Free and open to the public / Food provided

    IN HIS RESEARCH, Jonthan Fox has examined the extent of religious discrimination against 313 religious minorities in 68 Christian-Majority democracies. Despite expectations that liberal democracies should have religious freedom, religious discrimination is common. Also, despite Western democracies being considered the most liberally democratic democracies and the source of the liberal democratic ideology that supports religious freedom, religious discrimination is higher in Western democracies than in Christian-majority democracies in the developing world.

    JONATHAN FOX is the Yehuda Avner Professor of Religion and Politics, director of the Religion and State (RAS) project (, and a senior research fellow at Bar-Ilan's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He specializes in the influence of religion on politics which he examines using both quantitative and qualitative methodology. His research also investigates the impact of religion on domestic conflict, terrorism, international intervention, and international relations. His other research interests include the quantitative analysis of Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" theory, nationalism, and ethnic conflict. His recent books on these topics include An Introduction to Religion and Politics: Theory & Practice, Second edition (Routledge, 2018); Political Secularism, Religion and the State: A Time Series Analysis of Worldwide Data (Cambridge University Press, 2015); and The Unfree Exercise of Religion: A World Survey of Discrimination against Religious Minorities (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

  • Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

    College Hall, Room 209 (Accessibility)
    Free and open to the public / Lunch provided

    Shom Mazumder (Harvard University, Government)
    “The Slave Order in American Political Development: Evidence from the New Deal Era”

    Nick Millman
    (University of Pennsylvania, English)
    “Fitful Transitions: Memory Museums and Transitional Justice in Peru”

  • Friday, May 4, 2018 - 9:00am to 5:00pm

    Houston Hall, Bodek Lounge (1st Floor)

    THE ANDREA MITCHELL CENTER CAPS ITS 2017-18 THEME YEAR ON “STATES OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM" by addressing a series of challenging questions: What is religious freedom? Can it truly be universal? What are the rights of religious minorities when set against a nation's popular majority?  And when religious liberties seemingly conflict with gender and sexuality rights, which should prevail if the conflict cannot be resolved?  Panelists include Lori G. Beaman (University of Ottawa), Heiner Bielefeldt (University of Erlangen), W. Cole Durham (Brigham Young University), Mayanthi Fernando (UC Santa Cruz), R. Marie Griffith (Washington University in St. Louis), Nadia Marzouki (Harvard Kennedy School), Joshua Matz (Gupta Wessler PLLC), and Daniel Philpott (University of Notre Dame).