Past Event

Should We Tolerate the Intolerant? A debate between Denis Lacorne and Bernard Harcourt

November 7, 2019
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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East Gallery, Buell Hall 515 West 116th St Maison Francaise New York, NY 10027

In the increasingly divided political and social landscape that surrounds us today, the idea of tolerance seems to be more relevant than ever. Beyond the acrimonious debates on migration, hate speech, or religious symbols in public places, the ideal of tolerance offers the vision of a social order that accommodates diversity while preserving common principles that bind citizens together. But are there limits to tolerance? Are there circumstances when free speech should be curtailed? What should be done when extremist voices threaten the very order tolerance is founded upon? How do social media and digital threats to privacy change the terms of the debate on hate speech and tolerance? What can history teach us about the conditions needed to build a tolerant society?

Denis Lacorne, Professor of History at Sciences Po and author of The Limits of Tolerance, and Bernard Harcourt, Professor of Law and Political Science at Columbia University and author of Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age, will draw on their research and experience to debate what tolerance means today.

Event co-sponsored by the Maison Française, Alliance Program, Columbia University Press, CCCCT, and European Institute.

Denis Lacorne is senior research fellow with the CERI (Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales) at Sciences Po, Paris. His books in English include Religion in America: A Political History (Columbia, 2011) as well as Language, Nation, and State: Identity Politics in a Multilingual Age (2004) and With Us or Against Us: Studies in Global Anti-Americanism (2005), both coedited with Tony Judt.

Bernard E. Harcourt is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Professor of Political Science, Executive Director of the Eric H. Holder Initiative for Civil and Political Rights, and Founding Director of the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought at Columbia University. He has authored several books, including: The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens (Basic Books, 2018), Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age, Harvard University Press, 2015. He is editor of many works by Michel Foucault. Harcourt is also a directeur d’etudes at the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales in Paris. Harcourt represented death row inmates in Montgomery, Ala., at what is now the Equal Justice Initiative.