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Truth is the first casualty in war, and also in politics. This conference will look at how America views honesty and truth today, in light of the recent election and of ongoing trends in literature, law, and journalism. In the international sphere, we’ll also hear about truth, disinformation, and propaganda.

For more information about Future of the Truth, visit the conference website.

The event features:

Maggie Nelson, memoirist and MacArthur fellow, The Argonauts, The Red Parts
Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer-prizewinning author, The Sympathizer
Nicholas Lemann, New Yorker writer, former Dean of Columbia Journalism School
Joel Benenson, chief campaign strategist for Hillary Clinton
Mike Murphy, Republican political consultant for Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush
Bobby Grace, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney

among many others.


The Forum for the Academy and the Public is pleased to announce our 2016 conference, Freedom of Expression in a Changing World: What Cannot Be Said, which will take place on January 22nd, 23rd, and 24th at the UCI and USC campuses.

Timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, this conference will look at the changing parameters of freedom of expression in a rapidly shifting world. We’ll be talking about freedom of expression on campus, and about the digital era, the law, and freedom of expression. Another panel will address problems of freedom of expression and journalism in conditions of repression. A further panel will address the conflicts and possible concords between freedom of expression and religious belief. Edward Snowden will appear via the web in conversation with his biographer, the prize-winning American journalist and author Barton Gellman. The Atlantic’s Caitlin Flanagan, NPR’s Krista Tippett, and Zunar, the embattled Malaysian cartoonist, will be among the many brilliant and insightful participants. Steve Mumford, whose outstanding paintings of secure locations off-limits to photojournalists have broken the boundaries of repression, will be speaking and presenting his work. There will be a roundtable of notable political cartoonists discussing their drawings, censorship, and self-censorship.  Sandra Tsing Loh and Azhar Usman will perform stand-up with Q&A after their performances about the extent of comedians’ freedom of expression. The conference will end with a rap performance by well known artists, and a discussion of the limits of lyrics.

The event is open to students and the public.

Sponsors include:

School of Law, UCI
School of Humanities, UCI
Humanities Commons, UCI
Literary Journalism Program, UCI
The Los Angeles Review of Books
The USC Office of the Provost
USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Center for Asian Studies, UCI
Institute for International, Global and Regional Studies, UCI
Newkirk Center for Science and Society, UCI
Center for Law, History and Culture’s Program on Religious Accommodation, USC
Annenberg Knight Program for Media & Religion, USC
The Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics, USC
Center for Islamic Thought, Culture and Practice, USC
English Department, USC
Center for the Study of Religion, UCLA
Department of English, UCLA
Department of History, UCLA
The Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History, UCLA


Lalo Alcaraz, political cartoonist

Matt Bors, political cartoonist

Steve Brodner, political cartoonist

Rabbi Sharon Brous

Richard Burt, professor, University of Florida

William J. Dobson, political editor, Slate

Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic

Barton Gellman, author

Barry Glassner, president, Lewis & Clark College

Sherman Jackson, King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought and Culture, USC

David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur/Freedom of Expression

Nina Khrushcheva, author, professor, The New School

Laila Lalami, author, professor UC Riverside

Louisa Lim, author, former NPR Beijing bureau chief

Rebecca Mackinnon, Global Voices, Internet freedom advocate

Saree Makdisi, author, professor, UCLA Comparative Literature

Steve Mumford, artist

David Myers, author, professor, UCLA History

Brendan O’Neill, editor, Spiked Online

David Palumbo-Liu, author, professor, Stanford Comparative Literature

Barry Siegel, author, UCI Literary Journalism Program

Paul Smith, attorney

Edward Snowden

Nadine Strossen, professor, New York Law School

Ann Telnaes, political cartoonist

Krista Tippet, NPR, On Being

Sandra Tsing Loh, author, radio commentator, playwright, actress, comedian

Azhar Usman, comedian

Jeff Wasserstrom, author, professor, UCI History

Amy Wilentz, author, professor, UCI Literary Journalism Program

Zunar, political cartoonist


UCI sponsors/participants:

Erwin Chemerinsky, Erika Hayasaki, David Kaye, Arlene Keizer, Barry Siegel, Georges van den Abbeele, Amy Wilentz (awilentz@uci.edu), Jeff Wasserstrom

Los Angeles Review of Books sponsor/participant:

Tom Lutz

UCLA sponsor/participant:

David Myers

USC sponsors/participants:

Jody Armour

Sherman Jackson

Nomi Stolzenberg

The Forum for the Academy & the Public presents:

“Can Mexico Save Itself?” with Francisco Goldman

4 PM
Humanities Instructional Building 135

Death Sentences Flyer

The Forum for the Academy and the Public, the Department of History, the Literary Journalism Program, and the Newkirk Center for Science and Society present “Death Sentences: The Art and Science of Writing about Disease and Disaster”:  a public conversation between epidemiologist Elizabeth Pisani and Erika Hayasaki (UCI Literary Journalism), moderated by Amy Wilentz (UCI Literary Journalism).  This conversation is part of the Newkirk Center’s Communicating Science Series.

Free and open to the public; no reservations required.  For more information or for disability accommodations, please contact Patricia Pierson ay (949) 824-6876 or piersonp@uci.edu.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015
5-6:30 PM
Humanities Gateway 1010
(first floor, Humanities Gateway building)

Recommended parking location:  Mesa Parking Structure.  Visit www.parking.uci.edu for maps and directions.

About Elizabeth Pisani:

Elizabeth Pisani has worked as a correspondent (for Reuters, the Economist and the Asia Times) in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, China, Indochina, Brussels (EU) and Kenya, where she covered everything from stock market meltdowns and cholera epidemics to the arrival of troops in Tiananmen Square. She has run or advised on research studies — mostly related to HIV and conducted among transgender and female sex workers, gay men and drug injectors — in Indonesia, East Timor, China, the Philippines and elsewhere. She’s advised the WHO, UNAIDS, the World Bank and several governments on HIV surveillance and prevention. She’s a visiting Senior Fellow at the Policy Institute at Kings College London, and at KITLV in Leuven. She’s currently working on studies of corruption, health policy diffusion and anti-microbial resistance.

About Erika Hayasaki:

Erika Hayasaki is an assistant professor in the Literary Journalism Program at the University of California, Irvine, where she teaches workshops in narrative nonfiction writing, as well as classes in digital storytelling.  She is the author of The Death Class: A True Story About Life (published in 2014 by Simon & Schuster), which has been featured in The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, on NPR, MSNBC, USA Today, and many others.  Hayasaki is a contributing health and science writer for The Atlantic and Newsweek, and has been a Los Angeles editor for Narratively, a digital publication devoted to in-depth feature stories. Erika spent nearly a decade as a reporter covering breaking news and writing feature stories for the Los Angeles Times, where she was a staff metro reporter, education writer, and New York-based national correspondent. She has published more than 900 articles for the LA Times and various other publications including The Wall Street Journal, Time, Los Angeles and Glamour magazines, and The Big Roundtable. She has published two Kindle Singles, Dead or Alive (2012), and Drowned by Corn (2014), both Amazon bestsellers.

About Amy Wilentz:

Amy Wilentz is the author of Farewell Fred Voodoo: A Letter From Haiti (2013), The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier (1989), Martyrs’ Crossing (2000), and I Feel Earthquakes More Often Than They Happen: Coming to California in the Age of Schwarzenegger (2006). She is the winner of the Whiting Writers Award, the PEN Martha Albrand Non-Fiction Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Award, and also was a 1990 nominee for the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2014, she won the National Book Critics Circle Award (Autobiography) for Farewell, Fred Voodoo. Wilentz has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Time magazine, The New Republic, Mother Jones, Harper’s, Vogue, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, The San Francisco Chronicle, More, The Village Voice, The London Review of Books and many other publications. She is the former Jerusalem correspondent for The New Yorker and a long-time contributing editor at The Nation. She teaches in the Literary Journalism program at the University of California at Irvine, and lives in Los Angeles.


Join the Forum for the Academy & the Public for a talk by Michael Meyer.

March 3, 2015

5-6:30 PM

Humanities Gateway 1030

With an introduction by Amy Wilentz, followed by a Q and A with the author and a book sale and signing.  Co-sponsored by the Department of History, the Illuminations series, and the Center for Asian Studies.  Free and open to the public.  For more information, contact Patricia Pierson at piersonp@uci.edu.

Michael Meyer is the author of the acclaimed nonfiction book “The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed.” He first came to China in 1995 with the Peace Corps, and for over a decade has contributed from there to The New York Times, Time, the Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Architectural Record, Reader’s Digest, Smithsonian and many other outlets. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing, as well as residencies at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. He recently taught Literary Journalism at Hong Kong University’s Journalism and Media Studies Center, and wrote the foreword to The Inmost Shrine: A Photographic Odyssey of China, 1873, a collection of Scottish explorer John Thomson’s early images. He is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches nonfiction writing.



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