The Limits of Free Speech: Offence, Hate Speech and No Platforming w/ Kenan Malik & Dr Doug Bamford

25 Feb 2023 – 09:45 GMT
Oxford University Department for Continuing Education (online or in person)
Online or Rewley House
1 Wellington Square
This day school explores the many complicated and sometimes emotive issues surrounding free speech. Almost everyone believes that there should be some restrictions on free speech. But where exactly should we draw the line? Join Mr Kenan Malik and Dr Doug Bamford as they unpack and examine the philosophical and political arguments on either side.

Kenan Malik is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and a columnist for the Observer. His main academic interests are in the history of ideas, moral and political philosophy, and the history and sociology of race and immigration. His books include The Search for a Moral Compass, From Fatwa to Jihad, shortlisted for the Orwell Book Prize, and Strange Fruit, nominated for the Royal Society Science Book Prize. His next book Not So Black and White, a history of race from white supremacy to identity politics, will be published in January.

Doug Bamford teaches courses in philosophy and political economy at OUDCE. His main interest is in political philosophy and its application to public policy. He received his PhD in Political Philosophy at the University of Warwick in 2013. He is author of Rethinking Taxation (Searching Finance, 2014) and several papers (including articles in the Journal of Applied Philosophy and Moral Philosophy and Politics). He blogs at Doug Bamford’s Tax Appeal.

About Kenan Malik’s Book Not So Black and White

Is white privilege real? How racist is the working class? Why has left-wing antisemitism grown? Who benefits most when anti-racists speak in racial terms?

The ‘culture wars’ have generated ferocious argument, but little clarity. This book takes the long view, explaining the real origins of ‘race’ in Western thought, and tracing its path from those beginnings in the Enlightenment all the way to our own fractious world. In doing so, leading thinker Kenan Malik upends many assumptions underpinning today’s heated debates around race, culture, whiteness and privilege.

Malik interweaves this history of ideas with a parallel narrative: the story of the modern West’s long, failed struggle to escape ideas of race, leaving us with a world riven by identity politics. Through these accounts, he challenges received wisdom, revealing the forgotten history of a racialised working class, and questioning fashionable concepts like cultural appropriation.

Not So Black and White is both a lucid history rewriting the story of race, and an elegant polemic making an anti-racist case against the politics of identity.


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