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Speech Acts Series


Fierce debates are erupting across the political spectrum over issues of free speech and social media, truth claims and fake news, justifiable norms and mob action, and they are often fueling more outrage than reasoned discourse. University campuses are a particular focus of the controversies over “cancel culture” and “deplatforming” and “calling out.” But a college campus should be the locus of conversations that can enlighten and educate. 

Fordham University will therefore host a series of panels and speakers during the academic year 2021-22 that will seek to highlight these issues and engage audiences in a challenging yet constructive way. The series is titled “Speech Acts” and it will cover a range of topics and issues. Stay tuned to our events and speakers as they are confirmed and more information is added.


Political Discourse in a Polarized Age
October 7, 2021
Fordham Law School, Costantino Room
A discussion about what polarization has done to public and political discourse in America, and what, if anything needs to, or can be, done about it.
Featured Speakers:
George Stephanopoulos, host and anchor at ABC News
Robert Talisse, professor of philosophy, Vanderbilt University
Kristen Soltis Anderson, political pollster and commentator
Roshni Nedungadi, pollster and researcher at HITstrategies
Moderator: Monika McDermott, Fordham University

View a Recording of the Event (Fordham only)

Free Speech in the Workplace (and Its Limits)
October 15, 2021, 3:30-5 p.m. ET
Location: Bepler Commons (Rose Hill)
Featured Speakers:
Bruce Barry, professor of management at Vanderbilt University 
Jason Brennan, professor of economics and philosophy at Georgetown University 
Moderator: Miguel Alzola, Fordham University; Rachel Jolivette Brown, Fordham University

View a Recording of the Event (Fordham only)

Speech Impacts: ‘Cancel Culture’ and the Consequences of Our Words
November 4, 2021, 4-5:30 p.m.
Location: Webinar
Featured Speakers:
Cornell Belcher, researcher and commentator at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics 
Meredith Clark, Associate Professor and Founding Director of the new Center for Communication, Media Innovation and Social Change, Northeastern University
Suzanne Nossel, is CEO of PEN America 
Moderator: Jesse Baldwin-Phillipi, Fordham University 

View a Recording of the Event (Fordham only)

The Promise and Limits of Our First Amendment
January 26, 2022, 4:00-5:30pm
Location: Law School Room 2-01(A)
Featured Speakers:
Mary Anne Franks, University of Miami
Genevieve Lakier, University of Chicago
Julie Suk, Fordham University
Nelson Tebbe, Cornell University
Moderator: Abner Greene, Fordham University

Nikole Hannah-Jones Event
February 1, 2022, Time: TBA
Location: Fordham Law School
Speaker: Nikole Hannah-Jones, NY Times/Howard University
Moderator: Janai Nelson, Assoc Director-Counsel, NAACP LDF
Introduced by Catherine Powell, Fordham University

Epistemic Bubbles and Echo Chambers: The Epistemic and Political Impacts of Modern Technology
March 24, 2022, Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Featured Speakers:
C. Thi Nguyen, University of Utah
Natasha Schull, NYU
Siva Vaidhyanathan, University of Virginia
Moderator:  Stephen R. Grimm, Fordham University

The Quality of Mercy: Justice, Forgiveness, and Public Discourse
Date and Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Featured Speaker:
Rev. Charles Howard, University of Pennsylvania
Moderator: David Gibson, Fordham University

Academic Discourse and Freedom of Expression on Campus
April 6, 2022, Time: TBA
Location: Rose Hill
Featured Speakers:
Sigal R Ben-Porath, University of Pennsylvania
Radhika Sainath, Palestine Legal
Dennis Tyler, Fordham University
Rafael Zapata, Fordham University
Moderator:  Abner Greene, Fordham University

View the Steering Committee

Pages in Speech Acts Series