English R1B

Free Speech and You

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2010 Hausman, Blake M.
Hausman, Blake
MWF 1-2 225 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

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; additional essays and short pieces.


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 with heretical implications, and you hear people debating the logic and limits of free speech.  Here at Berkeley, you might buy a latte or a sandwich at the Free Speech Movement Café, and perhaps you contemplate the significance of these words.  You read 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 and literature.  George Orwell, Mario Savio, Noam Chomsky, Amy Goodman, and others will comment on the freedoms of thought and expression that we seem to revere, even in an age when ready-made slogans and pre-packaged sound bites threaten to stifle our abilities to think and express ourselves freely.

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