making feminist sense of no-platforming
- 2.8k Downloads
On 18 November 2015, feminist stalwart Germaine Greer delivered the prestigious Hadyn Ellis Distinguished Lecture to Cardiff University. Although the lecture itself passed with little incident, the invitation sparked a bitter debate over the right to protest speakers invited to university campuses.
Cardiff students were unhappy with the invitation because of Greer’s trans-exclusionary feminist1 views and subsequently organised a petition calling for the lecture’s cancellation. ‘Universities should prioritise the voices of the most vulnerable on their campuses, not invite speakers who seek to further marginalise them’, the petition argued. ‘Allowing Greer a platform endorses her views, and by extension, the transmisogyny which she continues to perpetuate’.2 The university ignored the petition despite the collection of over 3,000 signatures. Greer initially withdrew from the event in anticipation of student pickets but eventually reconsidered, and the event went ahead as planned.
This article benefited from conversations with Aidan Rowe, Aline Courtois and Gavan Titley.
- Ahmed, S., 2016. You are oppressing me. feministkilljoys, 17 February. Available at: http://feministkilljoys.com/2016/02/17/you-are-oppressing-me/As [last accessed 28 February 2016].Google Scholar
- Anthony, A., 2016. Is free speech in British universities under threat? The Guardian, 24 January. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/24/safe-spaces-universities-no-platform-free-speech-rhodes [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Barrett, N., 1999. The anti-fascist movement in south-east Lancashire, 1933–1940: the divergent experiences of Manchester and Nelson. In T. Kirk and A. McElligott, eds. Opposing Fascism: Community, Authority and Resistance in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 48–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bindel, J., 2015. No platform: my exclusion proves this is an anti-feminist crusade. The Guardian, 9 October. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/09/no-platform-universities-julie-bindel-exclusion-anti-feminist-crusade [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Byrne, K., 2015. Young, well educated—and permanently offended. Irish Independent, 10 November. Available at: http://www.independent.ie/life/young-well-educated-and-permanently-offended-34184042.html [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Courtois, A. and O’Keefe, T., 2015. Precarity in the ivory cage: neoliberalism and casualisation of work in the Irish higher education sector. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 13(1), pp. 43–66.Google Scholar
- Dandridge, N., 2015. A ban on Germaine Greer would be a threat to the universities’ unique role. The Guardian, 13 November. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/13/ban-germaine-greer-universities-free-speech [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Dickinson, J., 2015. Freedom to speak or freedom from harm? The history of the No Platform debate. Wonkhe, 17 February. Available at: http://wonkhe.com/blogs/freedom-to-speak-or-freedom-from-harm-the-history-of-no-platform/ [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Dunt, I., 2015. Safe space or free speech? The crisis around debate at UK universities. The Guardian, 6 February. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/feb/06/safe-space-or-free-speech-crisis-debate-uk-universities [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Goodmark, L., 2013. Transgender people, intimate partner abuse, and the legal system. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, 48, pp. 51–104.Google Scholar
- Grayling, A.C., 2015. Whimpering students need to grow up or get out of university. The Telegraph, 04 December. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationopinion/12034288/Wimpering-students-need-to-grow-up-or-get-out-of-university.html [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Harding, E., 2015. Universities ‘dominated by Left-wing hate mobs’. Daily Mail, 30 November. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3338867/Universities-dominated-Left-wing-hate-mobs-Professor-says-free-speech-stifled-challenging-views-shouted-down.html [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Harding, E., 2016. Mollycoddled ‘snowflake generation’ of students scared people disagree. Daily Mail, 20 February. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3455610/Mollycoddled-snowflake-generation-students-fuelling-campus-zealotry-education-tsar-warns.html [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Hoffman, B., 2014. An overview of depression among transgender women. Depression Research and Treatment, 2014, pp. 1–9.Google Scholar
- Kenney, M., 2001. Mapping Gay L.A.: the Intersection of Place and Politics. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
- Lewis, H., 2015. What the row over banning Germaine Greer is really about. New Statesman, 27 October. Available at: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2015/10/what-row-over-banning-germaine-greer-really-about [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Meredith, F., 2016. Thought police on beat in a college campus near you. Belfast Telegraph, 17 February. Available at: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/fionola-meredith/thought-police-on-beat-in-a-college-campus-near-you-34459886.html [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Movement Advancement Project, Center for American Progress, Human Rights Campaign, and National Center for Transgender Equality, 2013. A broken bargain for transgender workers. Movement Advancement Project, September. Available at: http://www.lgbtmap.org/a-broken-bargain-full-report#sthash.pkzGwnBd.dpuf [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- National Union of Students, 2010. Hidden marks: a study of women students’ experiences of harassment, stalking, violence and sexual assault. Available at: http://www.nus.org.uk/Global/NUS_hidden_marks_report_2nd_edition_web.pdf [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- National Union of Students, 2014. Education beyond the straight and narrow. Available at: http://www.nus.org.uk/Global/lgbt-research.pdf [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- National Union of Students, 2015. Society and citizenship report and proposals. Available at: http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/resources/society-and-citizenship-report-and-proposals [last accessed 15 February 2016].
- Nelson, N., 2015. Why student bans on free speech will turn the world into the Dull Men’s Club. The Mirror, 14 November. Available at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/student-bans-free-speech-turn-6833745 [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- New Statesman, 2016. We must defend free debate in our universities. New Statesman, 18 February. Available at: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/education/2016/02/leader-we-must-defend-free-debate-our-universities [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- O’Neill, B., 2014. Free speech is so last century. Today’s students want the ‘right to be comfortable’. The Spectator, 22 November. Available at: http://www.spectator.co.uk/2014/11/free-speech-is-so-last-century-todays-students-want-the-right-to-be-comfortable/ [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- O'Neill, B., 2015. Trouble on campus: the rise of ban-happy student leaders. Telegraph, 31 October. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/11658770/Trouble-on-campus-the-rise-of-ban-happy-student-leaders.html [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- O’Neill, B., 2016. Peter Tatchell has discovered just how cowardly the NUS can be. The Spectator, 15 February. Available at: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/02/peter-tatchell-has-discovered-just-how-cowardly-the-nus-can-be/ [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Press Association, 2014. Transphobic hate crimes rising in UK, police say. The Guardian, 26 December. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/26/transphobic-transgender-hate-crime-rise-uk-police-figures [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Raymond, J., 1979. The Transsexual Empire. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
- Reisz, M., 2016. Should there be a right to offend on campus? Times Higher Education, 17 February. Available at: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/should-there-be-right-offend-campus [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Smith, E., 2015. ‘By whatever means necessary’: the origins of the ‘no platform’ policy. Hatful of History, 3 November. Available at: https://hatfulofhistory.wordpress.com/category/national-union-of-students/ [last accessed 28 February 2016].Google Scholar
- Tatchell, P., 2016. The intolerant student Left has even turned on me—a lifelong civil rights campaigner. The Telegraph, 15 February. Available at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/12158352/The-intolerant-student-Left-has-even-turned-on-me-a-lifelong-civil-rights-campaigner.html [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Taylor, M., 2015. Attempts to ban speakers ‘put mission of universities at risk’. The Guardian, 13 November. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/13/banning-shouting-down-speakers-universities-risk [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- Titley, G., 2015. The debatability of racism. Networked participative media and postracialism. Keynote lecture made at Erasmus University, 19 November. Rotterdam. Available at: http://raster.fi/2016/02/17/the-debatability-of-racism-networked-participative-media-and-postracialism/ [last accessed 28 February 2016].
- van Griensven, F., Na Ayutthaya, P.P. and Wilson, E., 2012. HIV surveillance and prevention in transgender women. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 3(13), p. 13.Google Scholar
- Williams, C., 2014. TERF: what it means and where it came from. The Transadvocate, 15 March. Available at: http://www.transadvocate.com/terf-what-it-means-and-where-it-came-from_n_13066.htm [last accessed 28 February 2016].