Greensboro, NC—UNCG’s Department of Communication, with major funding from the National Communication Association, presents “Finding Expression in Contested Public Spaces: Free Speech Conference 2019” on Thursday and Friday, October 24 and 25 in the Virginia Dare Room of the Alumni House on UNCG’s campus.

The conference is designed to affirm principles of free speech, highlight scholarly contributions, and feature community presentations addressing current day concerns about, debates on, and promises for free expression. Students, community members, and faculty will share their scholarship, creative products, and activist interventions surrounding contested campus and community issues. Conference organizer, Dr. Spoma Jovanovic, is a professor of Communication Studies and a 2019-2010 Fellow with the University of California’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement.

Thursday night activities, 7-9 pm, will feature remembrance of the Greensboro Massacre with 40 seconds of silence and a keynote address, “Tribalism, Voicelessness and the Problem of Free Speech” presented by Dr. Eric King Watts of UNC-Chapel Hill before concluding with light refreshments. Dr. Watts will examine the role that post-truth plays in the production and amplification of intensely antagonistic publics. He will discuss recent incidents of racialized violence and controversies regarding (anti)immigration policies and practices—acts that materialize who counts and who does not—to consider how loud and angry voices are aroused that make democratic politics increasingly voiceless.

On Friday, sessions on the hour from 8am to 3pm, will probe a variety of issues as related to controversies and teaching of the first amendment, free speech, and public expression, including: free speech and popular music, video gaming, participatory democracy, controversies surrounding public monuments, rights of the homeless, speakers’ corners around the world, mass nonviolent movements, and campus free speech laws. Each session will include time for questions and answers.

The conference extends UNCG’s Department of Communication Studies’ commitment to deepening civic learning in the discipline and builds on the success of three, previous communication and democracy themed symposiums hosted by the department since 2017.

Finding Expression in Contested Public Spaces
Free Speech Conference Oct. 24-25, 2019 Virginia Dare Room, UNCG

THURSDAY – 10/24/19

7:00 pm-9:00 pm: Welcome, Greensboro Massacre 40th Commemoration, & Keynote Address

Welcome and 40 Seconds of Silence for Greensboro Massacre Commemoration

Dr. Spoma Jovanovic, UNC Greensboro

Keynote Address: Tribalism, Voicelessness, and the Problem of Free Speech

Dr. Eric King Watts, UNC Chapel Hill

FRIDAY – 10/25/19

8:00 am-8:50 am: Pedagogy and the 1st Amendment

Moderator: Dr. Spoma Jovanvoic, UNCG Department of Communication Studies

Welcome Remarks

Dr. John Kiss, UNCG Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

Music as Communication Activism: Educating for Freedom Through an Interdisciplinary Service-Learning Project

Mark Congdon Jr. and Lamera Palmer, The College of Saint Rose

Video Games as Free Speech: Reproducing Inequalities and Pushing Justice to the Margins

Marina Lambrinou, UNC Greensboro and Yacine Kout, University of North Georgia

9:00 am-9:50 am: Academic Freedom & Campus Free Speech

Moderator: Michael Frierson, UNCG Chapter of AAUP

The Freedom to Listen

Lisbeth Lipari, Denison University

The First Amendment and the NC Campus Free Speech Act: Their Application to Public Universities in North Carolina

Jerry Blakemore. UNC Greensboro

Circumventing the Clear and Present Danger Test

Craig Smith, California State University, Long Beach

10:00 am-10:50 am: Contested Public Spaces

Moderator: Anna Fesmire, League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad

Legislating Memory: Accommodating Contestations of Public Monuments

Laura Ricciardi, State University of New York at Purchase College

Social Power and the Right to the City: Homelessness, Access to Public Space, Activism and the

First Amendment

Marcus Hyde, UNC Greensboro and Gary Kenton and Zalonda Woods, Community Members

Activists Video of Greensboro grassroots leaders funded by UNCG-Mellon Foundation

11:00 am-11:50 am: Boundaries of Free Speech and Expression

Moderator: Dr. Roy Schwartzman, UNCG Department of Communication Studies

Greensboro, 1963: Mass Nonviolence at the Boundaries of Free Speech

Thomas Jackson, UNC Greensboro

Money, Speech, and Power: Participatory Budgeting as a Path to Free Expression in Public Spending

Vincent Russell and Therese Gardner, University of Colorado, Boulder

Speakers’ Corners Around the World

Spoma Jovanovic, UNC Greensboro

1:00 pm-1:50 pm: Violence, Hate, Control of Free Speech

Moderator: Holly Williams, UNCG Department of Communication Studies

Identity and Free Speech: African-American Women’s Social Justice Rhetoric

Sarah Hollingsworth, Oklahoma State University

Balancing the Goods of Speech In a Postmodern Historical Moment

David Errera, Duquesne University

A Safe Space for the White Race: An Interrogation of White Nationalist Propaganda on College Campuses

Gabriel Cruz, High Point University and Patrick Sawyer, UNC Greensboro

2:00 pm-2:50 pm: Talking about Race

Moderator: Doris Wesley, UNCG Department of Communication Studies

Performatively Unpacking the Race Talk

Sonny Kelly and Elizabeth M. Melton, UNC Chapel Hill

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