Book Talk: Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces: Diversity and Free Expression in Education with John Palfrey, Tue. Oct. 24, at 5 pm

Book Talk: Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces: Diversity and Free Expression in Education with John Palfrey, Tue. Oct. 24, at 5 pm

The Harvard Law School Library staff in co-sponsorship with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces: Diversity and Free Expression in Education (MIT Press, 2017) by John Palfrey, Head of School at Phillips Academy and previously, the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
5:00-6:15 pm Book Talk, followed by 6:30-7:30 pm Reception
Harvard Law School Wasserstein 1023
(Map & Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
RSVP required to attend in person

Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces poster

About Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces

“Safe spaces, trigger warnings, microagressions, the disinvitation of speakers, demands to rename campus landmarks—debate over these issues began in lecture halls and on college quads but ended up on op-ed pages in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, on cable news, and on social media. Some of these critiques had merit, but others took a series of cheap shots at “crybullies” who needed to be coddled and protected from the real world. Few questioned the assumption that colleges must choose between free expression and diversity. In Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces, John Palfrey argues that the essential democratic values of diversity and free expression can, and should, coexist on campus.

Palfrey, currently Head of School at Phillips Academy, Andover, and formerly Professor and Vice Dean at Harvard Law School, writes that free expression and diversity are more compatible than opposed. Free expression can serve everyone—even if it has at times been dominated by white, male, Christian, heterosexual, able-bodied citizens. Diversity is about self-expression, learning from one another, and working together across differences; it can encompass academic freedom without condoning hate speech.

Palfrey proposes an innovative way to support both diversity and free expression on campus: creating safe spaces and brave spaces. In safe spaces, students can explore ideas and express themselves with without feeling marginalized. In brave spaces—classrooms, lecture halls, public forums—the search for knowledge is paramount, even if some discussions may make certain students uncomfortable. The strength of our democracy, says Palfrey, depends on a commitment to upholding both diversity and free expression, especially when it is hardest to do so.” — MIT Press

About John Palfrey

John is the Head of School at Phillips Academy, Andover.  He serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Knight Foundation and LRNG.  He also serves as a Board member of the Data + Society Research InstituteSchool Year Abroad, and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

John’s research and teaching focus on new media and learning.  He has written extensively on Internet law, intellectual property, and the potential of new technologies to strengthen democracies locally and around the world.  He is the author or co-author of several books, including Born Digital: How Children Grow Up in a Digital Age (Basic Books, revised edition, 2016) (with Urs Gasser); BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google (Basic Books, 2015); Interop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems (Basic Books, 2012) (with Urs Gasser); Intellectual Property Strategy (MIT Press, 2012); (with Urs Gasser); and Access Denied: The Practice and Politics of Global Internet Filtering (MIT Press, 2008) (co-edited).

John served previously as the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School.  At the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, he served as executive director from 2002-2008 and has continued on as a faculty director since then. John came back to the Harvard Law School from the law firm Ropes & Gray, where he worked on intellectual property, Internet law, and private equity transactions. He also served as a Special Assistant at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration.  He previously served as the founding President of the Board of Directors of the Digital Public Library of America.  He also served as a venture executive at Highland Capital Partners and on the Board of Directors of the Mass2020 Foundation, the Ames Foundation, and Open Knowledge Commons, among others.  John was a Visiting Professor of Information Law and Policy at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland for the 2007-2008 academic year.

John graduated from Harvard College, the University of Cambridge, and Harvard Law School.  He was a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar to the University of Cambridge and the U.S. EPA Gold Medal (highest national award).

More About Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces

“Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces is a must read for faculty and administrators, but also for students, parents, and the wider public. Grounded in history, attuned to new technologies, honest about the challenges of an increasingly diverse society, Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces charts a path forward that is realistic, but ultimately hopeful. Building inclusive educational institutions that honor freedom of expression and create an environment for learning and growth is the path forward to a healthy and inclusive democracy.”
Jonathan Fanton, President, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; author of The University and Civil Society

“This is a sophisticated exploration of two crucial values—diversity and free expression—and a cogent, persuasive argument that the two are inextricably intertwined. Palfrey’s sketch of a society in which citizens enjoy liberty and equality in equal measure is appealing and even inspiring.”
Jameel Jaffer, Executive Director, Knight First Amendment Institute, Columbia University; former Deputy Legal Director, ACLU

Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces is a useful, balanced summary of some of the most contentious issues on college campuses in the United States today. Recognizing the opportunity and the responsibility that learning communities have to educate about the value of diversity, inclusion, equity, and freedom of expression, the author takes on the challenge of this topic with courage, empathy, and a call to action for all of us to understand what is really at stake for how we educate citizens for democracy. I recommend it to leaders and scholars both in and outside of the academy who genuinely want to honor both sides of the debate and who want to be part of the urgent change needed for a more just society.”
Marilyn Sanders Mobley, Vice President, Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity, Case Western Reserve University

This event is being co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

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