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Graduate School Conference: Free speech at higher education institutes

The 13th of April, the chair Education is organizing this year’s Graduate School Conference on 'Free speech at higher education institutes'. Professor Sigal Ben-Porath (University of Pennsylvania, USA) will give the keynote-speech: 'It's a thin line: Free Speech at higher education institutes in polarized times'.

Free speech, a staple of modern democracy, has become the focal point for political and cultural forces impacting institutes for higher education. Universities (of applied sciences) are charged with the mandate to expand the boundaries of knowledge; to disseminate knowledge through teaching and other modes; and to serve the public by training citizens and leaders. But, should all speech be protected in the name of free inquiry? Recent speech controversies around the globe expose the difficulty in carving a response in this polarized time. Recognizing that the struggle over the  boundaries of speech at education institutes is a struggle over core democratic values, and designing a response anchored in the mission of those institutes, can help alleviate these tensions by creating guidelines that align with the unique role and work of higher education institutes. A democratic framework of inclusive freedom that reflects the values of protecting free thought, inquiry and expression, and maintaining a commitment to the dignity of all members of the institute, will be  presented and defended.

The afternoon program of the GS Conference day (13.30 till 16.50)  is primarily for PhD students and staff of the UvH. Others interested are certainly welcome to stay and enjoy three rounds of paper and poster presentations. PhD students and staff have been invited to submit a proposal by 16 March.

Meld je aan


10.00:  Welcome by dr Caroline Suransky

10.05:  Short introduction of the speaker by prof. Doret de Ruyter

10.10:  Lecture professor Sigal Ben-Porath 

10.55:  Short break with coffee and tea

11.15:  First respons by Kors Visscher MA (PhD student UvH)

11.30:  Second respons by dr. Isolde de Groot

11.45:  Plenary discussion

12.45-13.30: Lunch

13.30-14.30: First round poster and paper presentations

14.40-15.40: Second round poster and paper presentations

15.50-16.50: Third round poster and paper presentations

16.50: Drinks

About professor Sigal Ben-Porath

Dr. Sigal Ben-Porath is Professor of Political Philosophy in the Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division at Penn GSE in Philadelphia (USA). She received her doctorate in political philosophy from Tel Aviv University in 2000. Since 2004 she has been teaching at Penn GSE. She is currently an associate member of the political science department and the philosophy department at Penn. Her research focuses on citizenship education, normative aspects of educational and social policy, and the social and educational effects of war. Her areas of expertise include philosophy of education and political philosophy. Dr. Ben-Porath is a prolific author and frequent key-note speaker at conferences. At the University of Humanistic Studies she will give a lecture related to her book Free speech on campus (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).

For more information, see

Contactpersoon Ronja Kapitza, studentassistent,
Locatie University of Humanistic Studies, Kromme Nieuwegracht 29, Utrecht
Datum 13-4-2022
Openingstijden Morning session 10.00-12.45, afternoon 13.10-17.00 hrs
Toegankelijkheid mensen met een beperking Yes, but please contact the reception first: 030 2390100