Minicurso "FREEDOM OF SPEECH – Historical and Actual Perspectives

com o Frederik Stjernfelt (Universidade de Aalborg - Dinamarca)

This 5x3 hours course gives an overview over the historical development of Press Freedom and Freedom of Faith during the development of the Enlightenment in order to address a number of contemporary issues with free speech, such as religious pressure and Tech Giant censorship.

  1. 1.      The origin of Free Speech and Freedom of Belief during 16-17-18 Centuries.

The idea of free speech has roots in antiquity and began to develop further in the post-Reformation Europe. This lecture follows the intimate connection between Free Speech and Freedom of Religion in different currents in Early-Enlightenment Europe of the 17 Century – such as dissenters, spinozists, freethinkers. etc. in Holland, Britain, France, Germany.

  1. 2.      Lutheranism vs. Radical Enlightenment – Denmark as a case.

Denmark was the first country in the world to completely abolish censorship in 1770. This lecture charts the main tensions in the development of Danish Free speech during the 17 and 18 centuries up to the democratic constitution of 1849.

  1. 3.      Actual issues – Free Speech versus resurgent religion.

This lecture highlights freedom of faith as a central motivation for Free Speech and investigates the current international pressure on free speech, primarily from islamist currents of different stripes, but also found in extreme versions of evangelical Christianity.

  1. 4.      Actual issues – American Free Speech and the age of Tech Giants.

This lecture highlighs the special history of free speech in the US from the 1791 First Amendment to the important 20C interpretations of the US Supreme Court. This forms the background of a discussion of current Free Speech problems on the internet, orginiating in the business models and removal policies of the American-based Tech Giants.

  1. 5.      Actual issues – left and right wing populism and the Chinese Challenge.


Based on a discussion of the role of free speech in modern, liberal democratic constitutions and practices, recent political challenges to free speech are discussed: those of populisms and identity politics on the Western left as well as right wing currents, and the increasing pressure emanating from China on international freedom of speech.

1)Jonathan Israel:

Jonathan I. Israel: ”Libertas Philosphandi in the Eighteenth Century: Radical Enlightenment versus Moderate Enlightenment (1750–1776)”, in in Elizabeth Powers (ed.) Freedom of Speech: The History of an Idea, Lewisburg 2011 (attached as pdf)

Margaret Jacob:

2) F. Stjernfelt: “Danish Clandestina from the early 17th Century? Two Secret Manuscripts and the Destiny of the Mathematician Christoffer Dybvad” (attached as pdf)

John Christian Laursen: “Cynicism as an Ideology behind Freedom of Expression in Denmark-Norway”, in Elizabeth Powers (ed.) Freedom of Speech: The History of an Idea, Lewisburg 2011 (attached as pdf)

Henrik Horstbøll “The Politics of Publishing: Freedom of the Press in Denmark, 1770–1773”, in Pasi Ihalainen, Michael Bregnsbo etc.. Scandinavia in the Age of Revolution. Nordic Political Cultures 1740-1820. Ashgate, Farnham, 2011, p. 145-156 (attached as pdf)

3) Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam:

Kenan Malik:

Kenan Malik and Nahda Shabout:

4) Elizabeth R. Purdy:

Anne Mette Lauritzen and Frederik Stjernfelt: Your Post Has Been Removed: Freedom of Speech and Tech Giants, Springer: 2019. Open access book available here:

5) Uri Berliner:

Nadine Strossen:

Rua Marquês de São Vicente, 255, Gávea
Rio de Janeiro, RJ - Brasil - 22451-900

Ed. Cardeal Leme - 10º andar – sala 1063
t. [55 21] 3527-1294 - f. [55 21] 3527-1296

Todos os direitos reservados
© 2016