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David Moshman
David Moshman writes about intellectual freedom, human rights, human development, and education. A professor emeritus of educational psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he is 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: Cognition, morality, and identity (3rd edition, 2011), Epistemic cognition and development: The psychology of justification and truth (2015), and The daughters of the Plaza de Mayo (political science fiction, 2006).

Entries by David Moshman

Fighting "Genocide Ideology" in Rwanda

(2) Comments | Posted April 17, 2016 | 5:56 PM

Each year in April Rwanda commemorates its 1994 genocide, in which at least half-a-million Rwandans were killed in a hundred days. The theme this year is "Fighting Genocide Ideology," which sounds, on the face of it, like a good thing to do, especially in Rwanda. But much depends...

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Mohamedou Takes Tea with his Torturers: A Guantánamo Fantasy

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2016 | 3:18 PM

President Obama is still trying to close Guantánamo. And Mohamedou Slahi, author of Guantánamo Diary, is still there.

Which reminds me, I have a message from Mohamedou. If you are among the dozens of people who interrogated, brutalized, and tortured him in Senegal, Mauritania, Jordan, Bagram Air Base...

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Palestinians Erased from Space and Consciousness

(16) Comments | Posted February 24, 2016 | 3:54 PM

Noga Kadman is a licensed Israeli tour guide. She is also the author of a book, based on her masters thesis, that tells us about each and every one of the 418 Palestinian villages depopulated in 1948 in order to make Israel a Jewish country.

The book is no ordinary...

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Adopt the University of Chicago Free Speech Statement

(0) Comments | Posted January 31, 2016 | 7:25 PM

In July 2014 the president and provost of the University of Chicago, "in light of recent events nationwide that have tested institutional commitments to free and open discourse," appointed a Committee on Freedom of Expression to draft a statement "articulating the University's overarching commitment to free, robust, and uninhibited debate...

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Martin Luther King on the First Amendment

(0) Comments | Posted January 4, 2016 | 5:35 PM

The fall 2015 semester saw two overlapping student movements: one for intellectual and emotional safety and one for racial justice. The movement for safety insisted that colleges should be "safe spaces" where students are protected from "microaggressions" and can count on "trigger warnings" about anything in the curriculum they might...

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Safe From Salaita at Illinois

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 12:05 PM

In recent weeks many colleges have faced issues of what can or can't be said, and how. The college campus, many argue, must be a safe space for students. Students themselves, in fact, often seem to think they should be protected from shocking ideas and uncivil modes of expression.


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The Holocaust in Genocide Studies

(6) Comments | Posted October 20, 2015 | 1:59 PM

California State University at Sacramento has announced that it will begin offering a minor in Genocide and Holocaust Studies. In the interest of conceptual coherence, I urge that it shorten the title to Genocide Studies.

The announcement follows a September complaint from sophomore Chiitaanibah Johnson that her...

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Genocide Denial in History Education

(3) Comments | Posted October 8, 2015 | 10:18 AM

History education includes education about genocide. But all nations, including the United States, teach patriotic histories. Such histories highlight some genocides and ignore or deny others.

On September 2 at California State University--Sacramento, Professor Maury Wiseman apparently told his history class that the term "genocide" was "too strong" to describe...

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A Generic Trigger Warning for College Students

(0) Comments | Posted September 2, 2015 | 10:17 AM

This is a post about trigger warnings. If the mere thought of a trigger warning upsets you, this post will upset you. You may also be upset by references below to the diverse things about which trigger warnings warn. Yes, this paragraph is a trigger warning. Read on at your...

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Torture, Psychology and the Real APA

(2) Comments | Posted August 10, 2015 | 1:36 PM

As a graduate student in developmental psychology in the 1970s I joined the American Psychological Association, known as the APA. But Harold Rubenstein, a graduate student in philosophy who lived in my dorm, maintained that my APA was a false APA. The real and true APA was the American Philosophical...

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Free Speech at Connecticut College

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2015 | 8:10 PM

In August 2014, Professor Steven Salaita lost a tenured position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign because his tweets criticizing the ongoing Israeli assault on the Palestinian population of Gaza were deemed uncivil. That same month Andrew Pessin, a philosophy professor at Connecticut College, wrote...

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The Pro-Death Movement in Nebraska

(2) Comments | Posted June 8, 2015 | 6:29 PM

On May 27, the Nebraska legislature, overturning a gubernatorial veto, repealed the state's death penalty. For opponents of state execution, there was a brief moment of rejoicing. But many Nebraskans were instantly nostalgic for the good old days of killing bad people. The movement to restore the death penalty is...

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Free Speech at Duke

(7) Comments | Posted May 22, 2015 | 10:12 AM

Once again, a professor is widely condemned for racist speech. Once again, the university has properly declined to take any official action against the faculty member. But once again, the university officially joins in condemning the speech, and once again I have doubts about the need for and wisdom of...

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Free Speech at Boston University

(8) Comments | Posted May 18, 2015 | 2:29 PM

This could have been "Salaita 2: A Censorship Sequel." Once again, a new college faculty member whose appointment has not yet officially begun has been denounced for offensive speech. Once again, the speech consists entirely of tweets. Once again many alumni and donors are in an uproar. Once again, the...

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'My ISIS Is the Police': Race and Guns in Nebraska

(2) Comments | Posted April 29, 2015 | 11:14 AM

State senator Ernie Chambers was first elected to Nebraska's unicameral legislature in 1970. Representing a largely African American neighborhood of Omaha in a largely white legislature, he often says what others don't want to hear. He serves on the Judiciary Committee.

This spring he upset many with comments...

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Bibi and I Discuss the One-State Solution

(4) Comments | Posted March 25, 2015 | 10:40 AM

My recent post, "Israel Palestine: A Constitutional Democracy" rejected the two-state solution to the problem of Israel and Palestine. This was a busy time for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was schmoozing with U.S. Republicans while campaigning to consolidate his position as prime minister of Israel. Nevertheless,...

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Israel Palestine: A Constitutional Democracy

(1) Comments | Posted March 6, 2015 | 12:09 PM

The only possible solution to the problem of Israel and Palestine, it is generally assumed, is to recognize the two peoples and divide the land between them. The only question, it appears, is where to draw the line and what happens to people who end up on the wrong side.

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Stanley Fish on Academic Freedom

(0) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 4:33 PM

Interested in academic freedom? If so, you should read Stanley Fish's new book, Versions of Academic Freedom: From Professionalism to Revolution. I hasten to add that you should disagree with much of it, and you probably will. But Fish is often right, in my view, and always interesting, even when...

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Civility and Free Speech in Education

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 11:51 AM

Charlie Hebdo could be published in the United States. But what if it were distributed in schools or assigned for students to read?

Is uncivil speech protected by the First Amendment? This is a question not so easily answered. The short answer is this: In general, yes; but in education,...

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English Teachers Adopt Statement on Academic Freedom

(1) Comments | Posted December 21, 2014 | 8:38 PM

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has adopted a new position statement on academic freedom. The statement consists of two introductory paragraphs and five principles.

I can't object to any of the principles, which were adapted from those proposed in my book Liberty and Learning. But...

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