The 2021 Joseph P. del Tufo Annual Lecture Dangerous Speech and Cowardly Suppression: Censorship, Class, and the Impact of Technology will be presented via Zoom by Eric Berkowitz. Berkowitz is a San Francisco-based author, human rights lawyer, and journalist. This year’s lecture is brought to you in partnership with the Delaware Libraries.
In his lecture, Berkowitz will discuss several recurring themes driving censorship throughout the ages, including the fragility of power, the use of censorship to remake the past, the impact of technology, and the suppression of speech to guard feelings—from those of American slaveholders to marginalized groups today. The talk will dive deeply into the use of censorship in the 19th century to cement class, race, and gender privileges, and to prevent the lower orders in Europe from receiving information that might lead them to rise up in revolt. The anecdotes range from the egregious to the absurd, and the resonance to contemporary controversies is direct.
About Eric Berkowitz
Eric Berkowitz is a San Francisco-based author, human rights lawyer, and journalist. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as outlets such as Salon and the Huffington Post.
Over the past decade, Eric has devoted his legal practice exclusively to human rights and the representation of the poor and refugees, particularly asylum seekers from Central America, Djibouti, Iran, and Mexico. Against all odds, he has never lost an asylum case.
Eric has now turned his attention to the history of censorship in the West, a project that resulted in Dangerous Ideas: A Brief History of Censorship from the Ancients to Fake News. The book brings all of Eric’s analytical and storytelling talents to bear, focusing on the travails of the people, famous and obscure, who played central roles in the formation of our right to express ourselves, and exposing the motivations of both the suppressors and the suppressed.