Clear and Present Danger - A history of free speech

20 EpisodesProduced by Jacob Mchangama

Why have kings, emperors, and governments killed and imprisoned people to shut them up? And why have countless people risked death and imprisonment to express their beliefs? Jacob Mchangama guides you through the history of free speech from the trial of Socrates to the Great Firewall. Stay up to dat… read more

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Episode 19 – Expert Opinion: Steven Nadler on Spinoza’s ‘book forged in hell” and the right to “think what you like and say what you think”

January 3rd, 2019

47:08

Baruch Spinoza (also known as Benedict de Spinoza) was born in Amsterdam in 1632. While his given name means “blessing” in both Hebrew and Latin, …

Episode 18 - Colonial Dissent: Blasphemy, Libel and Tolerance in 17th Century America

December 14th, 2018

56:48

Americans are more supportive of free speech than any other people. 95 % of Americans think it’s “very important” to be able to criticize the government without censorship and 77% support the right to offend religious …

Episode 17 - Global Inquisition

November 17th, 2018

54:37

In the 16th Century Spain and Portugal globalized the inquisition by spreading the fight for religious orthodoxy and against heresy, blasphemy and apostasy to the Americas, Africa and Asia allowing inquisitors to pry …

Episode 16: Expert Opinion - Michael Shermer

November 2nd, 2018

49:24

In this episode, we join up with historian of science Dr. Michael Shermer to investigate the cross-fertilization between science and free speech.

Episode 15 - Paper-bullets and the forgotten martyrs of radical free speech

October 11th, 2018

56:19

Episode 15 returns to Europe and formative events in 17th Century England, where a mostly forgotten group of radicals demanded a written constitution guaranteeing free speech, liberty of conscience, and democracy. But …

Episode 14 - ‘Universal Peace’: Religious tolerance in the Mughal empire

September 20th, 2018

40:13

Episode 14 leaves the West and heads to 16th and 17th Century India and the Mughal empire. In particular, the rule of Akbar the Great.

A century …

Episode 13: Expert Opinion - Jonathan Haidt

September 6th, 2018

51:38

In this episode, we do a bit of time travel and leave the 17th century for a discussion of free speech on American college and university campuses …

Episode 12: Expert Opinion - Teresa Bejan

August 23rd, 2018

1:11:03

We enter the early modern age with an expert opinion featuring Teresa Bejan, associate professor at Oriel College, Oxford University and author of …

Episode 11: The great disruption - Part II

August 9th, 2018

56:38

In episode 11 we continue to survey the wreckage after hurricane Luther was unleashed on Europe with the Reformation. When the Reformation mutated and spread across the continent a burning question arose: Can people of …

Episode 10: The great disruption - Part I, the printing press and the viral Reformation

June 14th, 2018

42:20

Episode 9: Expert Opinion - Christine Caldwell Ames

May 24th, 2018

58:16

Our last stop in the Middle Ages is an interview with professor Christine Caldwell Ames, who is an expert on medieval heresy and inquisition in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The discussion highlights the …

Episode 8: The hounds of God - medieval heretics and inquisitors

May 17th, 2018

51:56

From the High Middle Ages, Europe developed into a “persecuting society,” obsessed with stamping out the “cancer” of heresy. But questions about how this was accomplished — and the consequences of these developments — …

Episode 7: Expert Opinion - Peter Adamson

April 26th, 2018

51:30

Episode 6: The not-so-Dark Ages, medieval intellectuals, and freethinkers

April 5th, 2018

45:36

In episode 6, we get medieval!

Find out why the Middle Ages were as much a period of reason and inquiry as inquisition and superstition.

Why was the famous medieval intellectual Pierre Abelard castrated, forced to burn …

Episode 5: The Caliphate

March 22nd, 2018

48:32

Why did the medieval Abbasid Caliphs have almost all ancient Greek works of philosophy and science translated into Arabic? How did the long list of …

Episode 4: Expert Opinion - Paul Cartledge

March 8th, 2018

59:54

Episode 3: The Age of Persecution

March 1st, 2018

52:04

Why did the polytheist Ancient Romans persecute the followers of the new Jewish sect of “Christians” in the first three centuries AD”? How high was …

Episode 2: Liberty or License - Free Speech in Ancient Rome

February 15th, 2018

59:58

Rome was the most powerful empire in antiquity. But were the Romans free to speak truth to power? Did history’s first successful Women’s March take …

Episode 1: Who wishes to speak? - Free Speech in Ancient Athens

February 1st, 2018

57:12

The democracy of Ancient Athens was the birthplace of equal and uninhibited speech. Or Isegoria and parrhesia to the Athenians. Jacob Mchangama guides you through how oratory was central to the idea and practice of …

Episode 0: Why free speech?

January 24th, 2018

21:08

Only 13% of the world’s 7,4 billion people enjoy free speech. 45% live in countries where censorship is the norm. Still, more than half the world’s …

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