Based on the subject matter, please be aware that some of the books listed may contain explicit language.
Free Speech: What Everyone Needs to Know by Nadine Strossen (2023)
- Not yet published, scheduled for release October 3, 2023
- Publisher's Summary: An engaging guide to the most important free speech rules, rationales, and debates, including the strongest arguments for and against protecting the most controversial speech, such as hate speech and disinformation.
It's Not Free Speech: Race, Democracy, and the Future of Academic Freedom by Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth (2022)
- "It's Not Free Speech" is available online through Cornell University Library
Publisher's Summary: The protests of summer 2020, which were ignited by the murder of George Floyd, led to long-overdue reassessments of the legacy of racism and white supremacy in both American academe and cultural life more generally. But while universities have been willing to rename some buildings and schools or grapple with their role in the slave trade, no one has yet asked the most uncomfortable question: Does academic freedom extend to racist professors? It's Not Free Speech considers the ideal of academic freedom in the wake of the activism inspired by outrageous police brutality, white supremacy, and the #MeToo movement. Arguing that academic freedom must be rigorously distinguished from freedom of speech, Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth take aim at explicit defenses of colonialism and theories of white supremacy—theories that have no intellectual legitimacy whatsoever. Approaching this question from two angles—one, the question of when a professor's intramural or extramural speech calls into question his or her fitness to serve, and two, the question of how to manage the simmering tension between the academic freedom of faculty and the antidiscrimination initiatives of campus offices of diversity, equity, and inclusion—they argue that the democracy-destroying potential of social media makes it very difficult to uphold the traditional liberal view that the best remedy for hate speech is more speech.
Free Speech Handbook by Ian Rosenberg and Mike Cavallaro (2021)
- "Free Speech Handbook" is available in print through Cornell University Library (Three-hour loan time from Olin, Catherwood, and Mann Libraries)
- Publisher's Summary: In this volume of the World Citizen Comics series, Ian Rosenberg and Mike Cavallaro create a practical framework for understanding and appreciating the First Amendment. Freedom of speech is fiercely defended in America and has been since the First Amendment was written. But how does it work, and what laws shape it? Drawing on parallels between ten seminal Supreme Court cases and current events, Free Speech Handbook lays out the fundamentals of First Amendment law in an accessible and engaging way.
Silicon Values: the Future of Free Speech under Surveillance Capitalism by Jillian York (2021)
- "Silicon Values" is available online through Cornell University Library
- Publisher's Summary: How Google, Facebook and Amazon threaten our Democracy. What is the impact of surveillance capitalism on our right to free speech' The Internet once promised to be a place of extraordinary freedom beyond the control of money or politics, but today corporations and platforms exercise more control over our ability to access information and share knowledge to a greater extent than any state. From the online calls to arms in the thick of the Arab Spring to the contemporary front line of misinformation, Jillian York charts the war over our digital rights. She looks at both how the big corporations have become unaccountable censors, and the devastating impact it has had on those who have been censored. In Silicon Values, leading campaigner Jillian York, looks at how our rights have become increasingly undermined by the major corporations desire to harvest our personal data and turn it into profit. She also looks at how governments have used the same technology to monitor citizens and threatened our ability to communicate. As a result our daily lives, and private thoughts, are being policed in an unprecedented manner. Who decides the difference between political debate and hate speech' How does this impact on our identity, our ability to create communities and to protest' Who regulates the censors' In response to this threat to our democracy, York proposes a user-powered movement against the platforms that demands change and a new form of ownership over our own data.
What Universities Owe Democracy by Ronald J. Daniels, Grant Shreve, and Phillip Spector (2021)
- "What Universities Owe Democracy" is available online through Project MUSE Open Access Ebooks
- Publisher's Summary: Universities have historically been integral to democracy. What can they do to reclaim this critical role? Universities play an indispensable role within modern democracies. But this role is often overlooked or too narrowly conceived, even by universities themselves. In What Universities Owe Democracy, Ronald J. Daniels, the president of Johns Hopkins University, argues that—at a moment when liberal democracy is endangered and more countries are heading toward autocracy than at any time in generations—it is critical for today's colleges and universities to reestablish their place in democracy. Drawing upon fields as varied as political science, economics, history, and sociology, Daniels identifies four distinct functions of American higher education that are key to liberal democracy: social mobility, citizenship education, the stewardship of facts, and the cultivation of pluralistic, diverse communities. By examining these roles over time, Daniels explains where colleges and universities have faltered in their execution of these functions—and what they can do going forward. Looking back on his decades of experience leading universities, Daniels offers bold prescriptions for how universities can act now to strengthen democracy. For those committed to democracy's future prospects, this book is a vital resource.
The Cult of the Constitution by Mary Anne Franks (2019)
- "The Cult of the Constitution" is available online through Cornell University Library
- Publisher's Summary: In this controversial and provocative book, Mary Anne Franks examines the thin line between constitutional fidelity and constitutional fundamentalism. The Cult of the Constitution reveals how deep fundamentalist strains in both conservative and liberal American thought keep the Constitution in the service of white male supremacy. Constitutional fundamentalists read the Constitution selectively and self-servingly. Fundamentalist interpretations of the Constitution elevate certain constitutional rights above all others, benefit the most powerful members of society, and undermine the integrity of the document as a whole. The conservative fetish for the Second Amendment (enforced by groups such as the NRA) provides an obvious example of constitutional fundamentalism; the liberal fetish for the First Amendment (enforced by groups such as the ACLU) is less obvious but no less influential. Economic and civil libertarianism have increasingly merged to produce a deregulatory, 'free-market' approach to constitutional rights that achieves fullest expression in the idealization of the Internet. The worship of guns, speech, and the Internet in the name of the Constitution has blurred the boundaries between conduct and speech and between veneration and violence. But the Constitution itself contains the antidote to fundamentalism. The Cult of the Constitution lays bare the dark, antidemocratic consequences of constitutional fundamentalism and urges readers to take the Constitution seriously, not selectively.
HATE: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship by Nadine Strossen (2018)
- "HATE: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech" is available online through Cornell University Library
- Publisher's Summary: The updated paperback edition of HATE dispels misunderstandings plaguing our perennial debates about "hate speech vs. free speech," showing that the First Amendment approach promotes free speech and democracy, equality, and societal harmony. As "hate speech" has no generally accepted definition, we hear many incorrect assumptions that it is either absolutely unprotected or absolutely protected from censorship. Rather, U.S. law allows government to punish hateful or discriminatory speech in specific contexts when it directly causes imminent serious harm. Yet, government may not punish such speech solely because its message is disfavored, disturbing, or vaguely feared to possibly contribute to some future harm. "Hate speech" censorship proponents stress the potential harms such speech might further: discrimination, violence, and psychic injuries. However, there has been little analysis of whether censorship effectively counters the feared injuries. Citing evidence from many countries, this book shows that "hate speech" are at best ineffective and at worst counterproductive. Therefore, prominent social justice advocates worldwide maintain that the best way to resist hate and promote equality is not censorship, but rather, vigorous "counterspeech" and activism.
Free Speech on Campus by Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman (2017)
- "Free Speech on Campus" is available online through Cornell University Library
- Publisher's Summary: Hardly a week goes by without another controversy over free speech on college campuses. On one side, there are increased demands to censor hateful, disrespectful, and bullying expression and to ensure an inclusive and nondiscriminatory learning environment. On the other side are traditional free speech advocates who charge that recent demands for censorship coddle students and threaten free inquiry. In this clear and carefully reasoned book, a university chancellor and a law school dean (both constitutional scholars who teach a course in free speech to undergraduates) argue that campuses must provide supportive learning environments for an increasingly diverse student body but can never restrict the expression of ideas. This book provides the background necessary to understanding the importance of free speech on campus and offers clear prescriptions for what colleges can and can't do when dealing with free speech controversies.
So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (2015)
- "So You've Been Publicly Shamed" is available online through Cornell University Library
- Publisher's Summary: This is the perfect time for a modern-day Scarlet Letter--a radically empathetic book about public shaming, and about shaming as a form of social control. It has become such a big part of our lives it has begun to feel weird and empty when there isn't anyone to be furious about. Whole careers are being ruined by one mistake. A transgression is revealed. Our collective outrage at it has the force of a hurricane. Then we all quickly forget about it and move on to the next one, and it doesn't cross our minds to wonder if the shamed person is okay or in ruins. What's it doing to them? What's it doing to us?