Polymathic Book Club


The Short Life and Curious Death of Free Speech in America

Applications due Friday, March 19, 9pm PT

The USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, in partnership with the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy (CCLP), is accepting applications to be part of a book club discussing Ellis Cose’s The Short Life and Curious Death of Free Speech in America (2020). The book is a concise study of how traditional norms surrounding this constitutional right have evolved throughout America’s history, exploring free speech battles in the context of political polarization, big tech, and misinformation. The Washington Post published this review.
The book club will meet twice: Wednesday, April 14th from 6-7 pm [PST] where student members will meet to discuss the book as a whole; and then on Wednesday, April 21st from 6-7 pm, author Ellis Cose will join us for an in-depth, polymathic conversation about his research for the book and how free speech relates to the current fraught state of democracy and its role in civic life.
If interested, please email your name, major, and a short paragraph (<100 words) describing your interest to Hanna Fahsholtz (fahsholt@usc.edu) and  Karin Huebner (khuebner@usc.edu). Applications are due Friday March 19 at 9pm PT. Selected students will be notified and sent a Kindle copy of the book free of charge.

Ellis Cose is a critically-acclaimed journalist and the bestselling author of a dozen books on issues of national and international concern, including Democracy, If We Can Keep It, the definitive history of the American Civil Liberties Union, where he was also the inaugural writer in residence. For 17 years, Cose was a columnist and contributing editor for Newsweek magazine. Today he is a contributing columnist for USA Today and Yahoo News. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy (CCLP).