English R1B

Reading and Composition: Free Speech and You

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
18 Spring 2011 Hausman, Blake M.
Hausman, Blake
TuTh 5-6:30 225 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

The Declaration of Independence; The U.S. Constitution; Anthony Lewis, Freedom for the Thought We Hate; Allen Ginsberg, Howl; George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”; Manufacturing Consent (film); Amy Goodman, selections from Breaking the Sound Barrier; and additional texts by Green Day, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mario Savio, Irving Kristol, Stanley Fish, Naomi Klein, and others


This is the United States, and you hear people across the political spectrum talking about free speech.  You read something offensive or you hear something stupid, and perhaps you resent the fact that you had to be exposed to these words.  You find yourself viewing art or listening to music that seems potentially obscene, and you contemplate the logic and limits of free speech.  Here at Berkeley, you might buy a latte at the Free Speech Movement Café, and perhaps you ponder the significance of these words.  You hear about embedded reporters, or about corporations and large conglomerates that describe their political contributions as expressions of free speech, and perhaps you feel compelled to make an argument of your own.  
We’ll read the U.S. Constitution and analyze the changing contexts and receptions of the First Amendment across the centuries.  We’ll read Ginsberg’s Howl and we’ll discuss the poem’s role in shaping our contemporary sense of the First Amendment, literature, and “obscenity.”  We’ll consider the words and actions of Berkeley icons such as Mario Savio, Green Day, and “the naked guy.”  George Orwell, Noam Chomsky, Amy Goodman, and others will comment on our capacity to think and speak freely in an age of ready-made slogans and pre-packaged sound bites.

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