Censorship Awareness Week

Presented by the Freedom Project


Monday, March 6 - Thursday, March 9 (Monday-Wednesday 4:30pm, Thursday 7:00pm)
Margaret Clapp Library Lecture Room

The Freedom Project is pleased to present Censorship Awareness Week. The week’s events include talks by the following distinguished speakers.

Jodie Ginsberg presents "Freezing Speech: Global Trends in Censorship"
Tom Cushman presents "Censorship and the Prevention of the Mind"
Monday, March 6, 4:30 PM
Margaret Clapp Library Lecture Room


Jodie Ginsberg is the chief executive officer of Index on Censorship, a UK-based organization that promotes freedom of expression and campaigns against censorship worldwide. Ginsberg joined Index from the think-tank Demos, where she was deputy director of Demos Finance, a financial services research unit. A former London bureau chief for Reuters news agency, Ginsberg worked for more than a decade as a foreign correspondent and business journalist in southern Africa and Ireland. She was previously head of communications for Camfed, a nonprofit organization working in girls’ education.

Tom Cushman is Deffenbaugh de Hoyos Carlson Professor in the Social Sciences and professor of sociology at Wellesley College, founder of the Journal of Human Rights, and director of the Freedom Project at Wellesley.


Catherine Ross: The Censorial Impulse on Campus
Tuesday, March 7, 4:30 PM
Margaret Clapp Library Lecture Room

Catherine J. Ross, professor of law at the George Washington University Law School, will discuss the roots of insensitivity to free expression in our public schools, the reasons why private colleges should also follow first amendment norms, and more.

Ross is the author of Lessons in Censorship: How Schools and Courts Subvert Students’ First Amendment Rights (Harvard University Press 2015). She is also a past visiting scholar at the Harvard School of Education.


Laura Kipnis: Sexual Paranoia Comes To Campus (Intellectual Freedom Takes a Curtain Call)
Wednesday, March 8, 4:30 PM
Margaret Clapp Library Lecture Room


According to Laura Kipnis, feminism is broken if anyone thinks the sexual hysteria overtaking American campuses is a sign of gender progress. As a longtime feminist, Kipnis was surprised to find herself the object of a protest march by student activists at her university for writing an essay about sexual paranoia on campus. She was then brought up on Title IX complaints for creating a "hostile environment." While writing about this process, Kipnis uncovered an astonishing netherworld of accused professors and students, campus witch hunts, and a sexual bureaucracy run amok. Without minimizing the campus assault issue, Kipnis argues that there has to be far more honesty about the complicated sexual realities and ambivalences hidden behind the notion of "rape culture." Instead, Kipnis believes regulation is replacing education, and women’s right to be treated as consenting adults is being repealed by feminist paternalism and well-meaning bureaucrats.

Laura Kipnis is a cultural critic and former video artist whose work focuses on sexual politics, aesthetics, emotion, acting out, bad behavior, and various other crevices of the American psyche. Her books include Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation; How to Become a Scandal; Against Love: A Polemic; The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability; and Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America. Her next book, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, will be out in April from HarperCollins. Kipnis is a professor in the Department of Radio/TV/Film at Northwestern University, where she teaches filmmaking.


Flemming Rose: Censorship and Self-Censorship (What's the Difference and Which Presents the Gravest Threat to Freedom of Speech?)
Thursday, March 9, 7:00 PM
Alumnae Hall Ballroom

Twenty-five years ago, the pioneers of the Internet believed that they had created a tool to do away with censorship once and for all. Today, anyone with a smartphone is able to publish and communicate whatever they want, and yet, censorship still exists online. Just as the printing press, radio, and TV that came before it, while the Internet promised to be a breakthrough for freedom of speech, the government has found ways to control and limit our ability to freely disseminate information online. What does censorship in the 21st century look like? How does digital technology affect the way we communicate today? Is outright censorship easier to deal with than soft censorship and self-censorship? In this lecture, Flemming Rose will explore these questions and more.

Flemming Rose, Danish journalist, author and senior fellow at Cato Institute, Washington D.C. Graduated in Russian language and literature from University of Copenhagen, worked as a translator of Russian literature before he became a journalist. He has spent 14 years abroad as a foreign correspondent in Moscow and Washington D.C. In 2004, he returned to Denmark to become the culture and later foreign editor of Jyllands-Posten, Denmark’s leading newspaper. Mr. Rose contributes to international media and is the author of several books, such as The Tyranny of Silence: How One Cartoon Ignited a Global Debate on the Future of Free Speech (2010 in Danish and 2014 in English), which was listed among the 10 best non-fiction books of 2014 by the Economist, Hymn to Freedom (2015) and The Possessed (2016), for which Flemming Rose was awarded the Danish newspaper Weekendavisen’s Literary Prize of 2016. In 2016 he was awarded the Milton Friedman Prize for advancing liberty.


Censorship Awareness Week is sponsored by the Freedom Project at Wellesley College. The Freedom Project is dedicated to the exploration of the idea of freedom in all of its manifestations, but especially in the tradition of Western classical liberalism. This tradition emphasizes the sanctity of individual rights, freedom of contract and economic rights, constitutional democracy, and the rule of law. The Freedom Project also promotes interdisciplinary understandings of the idea of freedom, and values expansive intellectual pluralism and debate, especially on contentious issues.