Princeton course accuses ‘far right activists’ of abusing free speech to ‘justify’ hate speech

Princeton University’s Anthropology Department is offering a course with a free speech vs hate speech theme for the fall 2022 semester.

One of the course’s mandatory readings is a book called 'Is Free Speech Racist?'.

This fall, Princeton University’s Anthropology Department is offering the course “Current Issues in Anthropology: Liberalism, Racism & Free Speech,” addressing issues relating free speech and hate speech.

According to the course description, the class will emphasize how “far right activists” take advantage of “free speech” to “justify hate speech.”

We use comparative studies of racist and Islamophobic hate speech to examine different cultural approaches to managing speech and how these rules are contested/challenged by popular countermobilizations,” the description reads.

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One of the course’s required readings is the book Is Free Speech Racist?, which argues that “‘free speech’ has been adopted as a primary mechanism for amplifying and re-animating racist ideas and racializing claims.”

The course will be taught by Visiting Professor Sindre Bangstada published author and writer, who occasionally publishes pieces for The Guardian

Princeton University student Abigail Anthony drew attention to the course via a March 23 Twitter post.

Anthony spoke with Campus Reform about her reaction to the course.

“It would certainly be antithetical to free speech and academic freedom to suggest that this course should be banned or removed from the offerings,” Anthony told Campus Reform.

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However, she expressed concern over the course’s ability to indoctrinate students if not taught in an unbiased manner. 

“The syllabus is currently unavailable, but I hope it offers competing perspectives on the issues of free speech and hate speech; otherwise, education verges on indoctrination.”

Campus Reform contacted Princeton University, the Anthropology Department, and Bangstad for comment. This article will be updated accordingly. 

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