Dangerous Words: Feminist Debates on Speech, Harm, and Representation





What does it mean to strike a balance between the democratic foundations of freedom of speech and rights of marginalized peoples to resist the subordinating words of the privileged? This course examines key debates in feminism, speech, and representation. Topics include pornography, cancel culture, trigger warnings, hate speech, slurs, and cultural appropriation. We will begin by orienting ourselves to the legal frameworks in the North America and Europe context around freedom of speech before turning to intersectional feminist, philosophical and critical theories analyzing the impacts of linguistic violence on our democratic ideals and political discourse. Our goal is to use an interdisciplinary feminist lens to unpack the civic foundations of our democracy and interrogate the ethical obligations we have to resist the subordinating normative forces producing inequality in our society. No philosophical or legal background is assumed prior to enrollment.


Additional Information:
Faculty: C. Wells
Semester: Full Fall Term
Time: Monday, 3:00 - 5:45 pm