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Freedom of Speech and Higher Education: The Case of the Academic Boycott of Israel

Trinity College Dublin 11-12 September 2017

All sessions in the JM Synge Lecture theatre, Arts Building, unless otherwise stated


Monday 11 September 2017

3.30-4.15        Registration and coffee
4.15                  Welcome
4.30-6.00        Roundtable    Robert Emmet Lecture Theatre, Arts Building

University governance and the possibility for discussing BDS. Comparative perspectives

(Contributers:  Paola Rivetti, School of Law and Government, Dublin City University / Mark LeVine, Department of History, University of California, Irvine / Kathleen Cavanaugh, NUI Galway) 

6.30-8          Keynote speaker 1

Steven Salaita, Independent scholar: Freedom to Boycott: BDS and the Modern University

8.30             Dinner


Tuesday 12 September 2017

9.30                  Introduction: Senator Ivana Bacik
09.45-11.15      The neoliberal university and freedom of speech

Whose university? Neoliberalism, counter-extremism and the academic boycott of Israel (Hilary Aked, Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath)

Precarity in higher education and its implications for taking part in academic boycotts (Sinead Pembroke, TASC, Dublin)

Navigating BDS Activism on Campuses in Lebanon; Struggles and Challenges
(Tala Makhoul, American University of Beirut)


11.15-11.45      Coffee
11.45-1.00        Keynote speaker 2

Kathleen Lynch, Equality Studies, UCD: Academic Freedom: New and old challenges

1.00-2.00           Lunch
2.00-3.45           Intellectual praxis, lawfare and academic freedom

Protecting academic freedom through legal mobilization (Jeff Handmaker, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam / Selma Rekik, Law Department, University of Maastricht)

Representations of the intellectual: Praxis, politics and solidarity (John Reynolds, Department of Law, Maynooth University)

‘Civil’ civility and ‘uncivil’ civility: On the social epistemology of academic freedom (Arianne Shahvisi, Brighton and Sussex Medical School)


3.45-4.15          Coffee
4.15-5.45        Parallel session I: Free speech on campus and its discontents   JM Synge Lecture Theatre, Arts Building

Academia and the case of Palestine: On academic responsibility and political engagement (Eleonora Roldán Mendivil, Social Sciences Department, University of Hamburg)

Between Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism: The limits of free speech on campus (Joanna Williams, independent academic and author, UK)

Free speech vs Freedom: Neoliberalism, the colonial university, and Palestinian liberation (C. Heike Schotten, Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Boston)

Parallel session II: Academic freedom: comparative perspectives    Robert Emmet Lecture Theatre, Arts Building

Perspectives on academic boycott of Israel in Poland (Karolina Agnieszka Dobosz, Centre for Research in Social Communications, University of Lodz)

The PACBI: free speech, hate speech and protest (Nadia Silhi Chahin, University Carlos III of Madrid)

Striking a similar chord: Questioning the shrinking spaces of free speech, dissent in public universities in India in relation to Israeli academic institutions (Sounita Mukherjee, Centre for the Studies of Social Sciences, Calcutta)

6.00      Book launch – John Reynolds (2017) Empire, Emergency and International Law, Cambridge University Press.
National University of Ireland, 49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2

Launch by Kathleen Cavanaugh, The Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUIG


The conference is hosted by the MPhil in Race, Ethnicity and Conflict,  Department of Sociology, Trinity College Dublin.