Aarhus Universitets segl

Public lecture with Matei Candea: Comparative imaginaries of Freedom of speech: Counting to two and counting to three

Oplysninger om arrangementet


Torsdag 27. oktober 2022,  kl. 15:00 - 17:00


DPU Emdrup, room D169


Human Futures, Department of Educational Anthropology (Aarhus University), Dansk PEN

Human Futures, Department of Educational Anthropology and Dansk PEN are happy to announce a public lecture with Professor of Social Anthropology at University of Cambridge, Matei Candea, on October 27 at DPU, Emdrup. 

Registration is free. The lecture is organized in collaboration with SHAPE (Shaping Digital Citizenship)

It is also possible to attend the lecture in Aarhus through af video link in building 1483-556 Inspiratoriet, Nobelparken, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4., 8000 Aarhus C.


Debates over freedom of speech and its proper limits have become a recurrent feature of European and American public life in recent years. This talk examines the inherently comparative logics of these debates, the ways in which they figure and refigure differences between countries, legal systems, periods, generations, societies, cultures, sometimes ‘epochs’ or ‘civilisations’. Building on earlier work on the comparative logics of anthropology, this paper suggests that, while some forms of comparison can help us discover new objects and imagine new possibilities, others rehearse the same problems and assumptions over and over again to no clear benefit. Taking the example of debates which followed the Charlie Hebdo killings in 2015, this paper points to the limits of a recurrently binary comparative imaginary in these debates. By tracing a more entangled story of divergent and recombinant visions and versions of freedom of speech in contemporary France, the paper suggests that it might be worth learning to count to (at least) three.


Matei Candea is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Corsican Fragments (Indiana 2010) and Comparison in anthropology (Cambridge 2019), and the editor (with Fedirko, Heywood and Wright) of the forthcoming volume Anthropologies of Free Speech (Toronto University Press).