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David Moshman
David Moshman is a professor of educational psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studies and teaches cognitive and adolescent development. He is the book review editor of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology and has served as president of ACLU Nebraska and of the Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska. He is the author of Liberty and learning: Academic freedom for teachers and students (2009), Adolescent rationality and development (3rd edition, 2011), The daughters of the Plaza de Mayo (political science fiction, 2006), and Epistemic cognition and development: The psychology of justification and truth (forthcoming in 2015).

Entries by David Moshman

20 Years Ago, Genocide in Rwanda

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2014 | 10:47 AM

On April 6, 1994, the president of Rwanda was killed when his plane was shot down as it prepared to land in Kigali, the capital of this tiny central African country of 8 million people. Over the next hundred days some 200,000 Rwandans killed over 500,000 others, typically by slashing...

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Academic Boycotts and Counterboycotts

(2) Comments | Posted February 28, 2014 | 4:41 PM

Higher education has been roiled over the past few months by boycotts of colleges, conferences, viewpoints, and academic organizations, followed in some cases by counterboycotts of the boycotters. Most of these academic boycotts, but not all, have involved Israel.

Many individuals and organizations have strongly opposed academic boycotts of...

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Zero Tolerance for Intolerance

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 12:19 PM

Chris Rock may not be welcome at the University of Nebraska−Lincoln.

Not that he's planning to come. But what he has to say would not be welcomed by the Chancellor and student government leaders, who don't like his kind of unwelcoming language.

On November 13, 2013, the UNL student senate...

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Christian Football in Nebraska

(1) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 4:18 PM

Ron Brown, assistant coach of the University of Nebraska−Lincoln football team, acknowledged at UNL's Big Red Breakfast this month that he reads scripture to his players daily. An article in the November 2 Lincoln Journal Star summarizes and quotes from his response to a question about how he...

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Eichmann in Jerusalem: 50 Years Later

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2013 | 12:11 PM

Fifty years ago, controversy raged over philosopher Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Her analysis remains shocking today.

Subsequent research, however, has supported and extended her central thesis. Arendt was not just right about Eichmann's banality. She was right about what we now call...

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Students: Exercise Your Intellectual Freedom

(2) Comments | Posted August 19, 2013 | 5:27 PM

With a new academic year beginning, here is some advice for students. These suggestions were written with college students in mind, but they apply to any student old enough to read them.

Come to school to think. Of course you should come to school to learn. But you should think...

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Student Rights: A Philosophical Framework

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2013 | 4:09 PM

Student rights are usually addressed as a matter of law. In Understanding Student Rights in Schools (Teachers College Press, 2013), philosopher Bryan Warnick addresses student rights as an ethical issue. His concern is what elementary and secondary schools should do with regard to students' freedom of expression, religious liberty, and...

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Affirmative Action for Republicans

(4) Comments | Posted June 28, 2013 | 12:30 PM

The big affirmative action news for June was the Supreme Court decision in Fisher v. Texas, which turned out less than momentous when the Court sent the case back for further proceedings. It remains unclear just how far affirmative action can go in the case of African Americans and other...

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Sexual Harassment and Academic Freedom

(6) Comments | Posted May 24, 2013 | 2:14 PM

The University of Montana has received a 31-page letter from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education. It's not a love letter. And it's not just for them.

The letter puts higher education on notice that mere speech can be sexual harassment if any listener is offended by...

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Young Africans Speaking Up

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2013 | 5:39 PM

Estelline says her participation in performances of her local culture club "helps the audience, especially those who became orphans because this shows that they are not alone."

She adds, "while laughing they forget their past. And maybe they forget what things they were planning to do, bad things to do...

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Ernie Chambers: Not Pledging Allegiance

(2) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 1:46 PM

Nebraska's Defender of the Downtrodden is back.

That's not quite an official title but it's a widely recognized one. State Senator Ernie Chambers has been defending downtrodden Nebraskans against racism, sexism, homophobia, the death penalty, and government establishment of religion since he was elected to the legislature in 1970.

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Deliberative Democracy Outreasons Enlightened Dictatorship

(3) Comments | Posted March 15, 2013 | 12:18 PM

A recently published study compared tiny democracies to tiny dictatorships. The democracies, on average, were more rational.

Of course we are all aware of myriad ways democracies fall short of rational ideals. Nevertheless, research in cognitive and social psychology supports the view that democracy, whatever its shortcomings, is the least...

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An Anti-Censorship Handbook for Educators

(1) Comments | Posted February 1, 2013 | 11:34 AM

The first academic freedom book of 2013 is, I'm glad to say, an excellent one. Its subtitle is "An Anti-Censorship Handbook for Educators."

There are many titles that could precede a subtitle like that. Teacher advocates might look for something like "Defend Your Rights: An Anti-Censorship Handbook for Educators." Civil...

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Unlearning Liberty: Hazelwood at 25

(1) Comments | Posted January 6, 2013 | 2:15 PM

Jan. 13 will be Hazelwood's 25th birthday. If I were sending a card, it would read, "Hazelwood, I wish you had never been born."

Yes, these are harsh words. I'm not usually that nasty, but we'd all be better off without Hazelwood. In fact, I'm proud to say that my...

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ACLU on Campus Protests Against Israel

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2012 | 12:10 PM

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, an affiliate of the national ACLU, has written a letter to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR). No, it was not just a friendly greeting in the spirit of the season.

But the letter is not unfriendly. Its...

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A University Administrator Who Supported Academic Freedom

(0) Comments | Posted November 14, 2012 | 5:22 PM

Sometimes administrators do the right thing. One who supported intellectual freedom on multiple occasions was E. Benjamin Andrews, who was honored November 3 by the Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska (AFCON) at its 25th annual membership meeting.

Andrews, who headed both Brown University and the University of Nebraska, could not...

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Hate Speech, Islam and Israel

(49) Comments | Posted October 2, 2012 | 11:21 AM

There was a moment of laughter at the United Nations on September 24 when President Obama, addressing the General Assembly, said "I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day." As the laughter subsided he went on "and I will always defend their right to do...

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Free Speech for College Students: FIRE's Guide Updated

(1) Comments | Posted September 12, 2012 | 10:10 AM

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has published a second edition of its outstanding Guide to Free Speech on Campus, one of its five Guides to Student Rights on Campus. Every college student should read this book.

I hasten to add that I'm not the only one who...

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Israel, Palestine and the Teaching of History

(83) Comments | Posted July 10, 2012 | 12:15 PM

During a 1996 visit to Rwanda, two years after the 1994 genocide, Columbia University Professor Mahmood Mamdani asked to be taken to a school so he could speak with a history teacher. He was told that Rwandan schools no longer taught history due to unresolvable disputes over the curriculum.


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Ward Churchill in the Journal of Academic Freedom

(0) Comments | Posted June 14, 2012 | 10:58 AM

The 2012 issue of the online Journal of Academic Freedom (JAF) has just appeared. Published annually since 2010 by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the JAF is available free of charge -- and certainly a bargain at that price!

The latest issue includes articles on a...

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