Four Westmont professors will explore the freedoms and limits of the First Amendment in a lecture Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m.in Hieronymus Lounge at Westmont’s Kerrwood Hall. The panel discussion, “‘You Offend Me, So Shut Up:’ Rethinking Free Speech in a Polarized Age,” features Jesse Covington, associate professor of political science, Chandra Mallampalli, Fletcher Jones Foundation professor in social science (history), Sandra Richter, Robert H. Gundry professor in biblical studies, and Jeff Schloss, director of the Center of Faith, Ethics and Life Sciences and T.B. Walker professor in the natural and behavioral sciences. The Westmont Forum, a series of discussions on important issues, is free and open to the public.
“A number of recent cases, including NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, right-wing speakers at UC Berkeley, and the protests at Charlottesville, have sparked a national debate over free speech,” says Tom Knecht, professor of political science and lecture organizer. “We hope you join us as we consider the state of public discourse in America.”
Covington, who chairs the political science department, teaches and writes in the fields of political theory and constitutional law. He earned a Master of Arts and doctorate in political science from the University of Notre Dame, an Master of Arts in Religion at Westminster Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Arts from Pepperdine University.
Mallampalli, who earned a doctorate in modern South Asian history at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, studies a range of interests at the intersection of religion, law and society in colonial India. His books include “A Muslim Conspiracy in British India? Politics and Paranoia in the Early Nineteenth Century Deccan” and “Race, Religion and Law in Colonial India: Trials of an Interracial Family.”
Schloss, known for his scholarship on interactions between evolutionary theory and religious faith, co-edited several major books, including “Understanding Moral Sentiments: Darwinian Perspectives. He graduated from Wheaton College and earned a doctorate in ecology/evolutionary biology from Washington University in Saint Louis.
Richter’s research includes economies of the Iron Age I, II and III; agriculture and animal husbandry in the Levant; military methods in the Ancient Near East; family systems in tribal communities; and the literary expertise of the biblical writers. She earned a doctorate in Hebrew Bible from the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department of Harvard University.