Convening 24 May 2021 Online (Zoom)
Free Speech, Its Primacy and Challenges

Venice Summer School May 24th – 28th, 2021 | Click here for information on how to apply

Venice Seminars May 25th – 28th, 2021 | Register here


Where does freedom of speech end and offence begin? To what extent should Western democracies regulate public discourse flowing endlessly on social media? What is the state of the fights for freedom of expression across the Middle East? And what tools have authoritarian and populist regimes employed to control the narrative? Such are the pressing questions for our societies that the Venice Seminars organized by Reset DOC with Ca’ Foscari University will address this year.

The idea of absolute freedom – most radically defended in world history by John Stuart Mill – today faces growing criticism from different directions as new culture wars have flared up around the issue of free speech. Meanwhile, last year, the freedom of expression score worsened again globally, as authoritarian regimes across the globe continue to violate it every day.

In Western democracies, free speech has particularly come under attack with the publication of Muhammad cartoons in Europe. The issue has also arisen in the context of fake news, cancel culture, hate speech, and the populist backlash against women’s and minority rights. In all these cases it is argued that the right to free speech has no primacy and that it must be limited in the name of respect for the other and truth.

Through its lectures, workshops and the Seminars, the Summer School will aim to address the foundations for a truly global and cross-cultural conversation about the primacy of freedom of speech and where to draw its limits. It will aim to analyze not only its importance in Western democracies, but also explore free speech and its place in non-western contexts from a comparative perspective.

**Participation in the Seminars and Summer School is completely free of charge**


You can request a certificate of attendance for the Seminars upon their conclusion by writing to In order to receive this certificate attendance is mandatory for all sessions.

2021 Speakers and Faculty *

Gilbert Achcar, Giuliano Amato, Devrim Kabasakal Badamchi, Masooda Bano, Stefano Beggiora, Gautam Bhatia, Matteo Bonotti, Giancarlo Bosetti, Daniele Brombal, José Casanova, David Elstein, Alessandro Ferrara, Daniel Gamper, Timothy Garton Ash, Amel Grami, Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab, Volker Kaul, Matthew Kramer, Jonathan Laurence, Tiziana Lippiello, Stephen Macedo, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Toshio Miyake, Maria Cristina Paciello, Bhikhu Parekh, Tim Pringle, David Rasmussen,Jonathan Seglow, Marcella Simoni, Debora Spini, Cass Sunstein, Francesca Tarocco, Richard Quang-Anh Tran, Nadia Urbinati, Ananya Vajpeyi, Michel Wieviorka, Sophia Woodman

*The list of speakers and faculty may be subject to change


Seminars Registration

Summer School Information and Application Details


2021 Scientific Committee

Stefano Beggiora (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice), Daniele Brombal (Ca’ Foscari), José Casanova (Georgetown University), Volker Kaul (LUISS/Reset DOC), Stephen Macedo (Princeton University),Toshio Miyake (Ca’ Foscari), Maria Cristina Paciello (Ca’ Foscari), Marcella Simoni (Ca’ Foscari), Francesca Tarocco (Ca’ Foscari).