Voices For Liberty: Free Speech, Civil Rights & Social Progress
Voices for Liberty, an initiative of the Liberty & Law Center at the Antonin Scalia Law School, seeks to examine the ways in which free speech propels civil and social progress. Authors are invited to submit proposals for original articles that will ultimately appear in academic journals and explore the role free speech plays in advancing civil rights movements, especially for marginalized or underrepresented groups.
PRIORITY DEADLINE of August 15th 2023, 5:00 ET for full consideration, with review on a rolling basis through September 8th.
All proposals should include a summary of issues to be addressed, the proposed methodology, and feasibility of having a completed draft by June 2024, with final submission by September 2024. Selection includes participation in a series of support and writing events. Full application details follow.
What role has freedom of speech played when it comes to the legal and social progress of groups that have been historically disadvantaged and/or socially marginalized? In the current public debate, some view freedom of speech as detrimental to minority groups, while others champion it as a necessary condition for protecting underrepresented voices. The former view is more often espoused in both the academy and the popular press. As a result, freedom of speech is frequently seen as a countervailing force in tension with civil rights. But is it?
Voices for Liberty aims to:
• Highlight and focus attention on important contributions to the welfare of minority and underrepresented groups made by the ability to speak throughout history;
• Analyze the effects of restricting speech;
• Assess the argument that limiting speech will help minority groups achieve greater equality; and
• Share evidence of the impact of robust speech protections on current and future civil rights movements.
Original scholarship of specific interest includes, but is not limited to:
• A historical examination of the relationship between social progress on minority rights and concerns and freedom of speech for groups and movements such as (but not limited to) abolition, women's suffrage, women’s liberation, religious minorities, the Civil Rights Movement and LGBTQ rights.
• The role free speech plays in advancing the causes of contemporary social movements such as Black Lives Matter, transgender rights, the MeToo movement, etc.
• The role of free speech in making possible new and future civil rights movements.
• The impacts of speech regulation, including hate speech provisions, on civil rights movements and underrepresented groups.
• The impacts of social media and technology on the relationship between civil rights of minority and underrepresented groups and free speech.
Snapshot (details below):
Rough Draft and Research Roundtable
Paper published on SSRN
Paper Published or Placement Secured
Op-Ed, Webinar(s), etc.
September 2024-April 2025
1. Research Roundtable, Antonin Scalia School of Law, Arlington, VA (June 2023, Date TBD)
The Initiative will host a research roundtable for rough drafts of papers, which will bring together scholars and experts to provide feedback on drafts prior to completion. Authors will receive expert feedback to improve their final product. The Liberty & Law Center shall pay for reasonable travel costs to attend the roundtable.
2. Publication of Working Draft on SSRN (September 2024)
Authors are expected to revise their paper based on feedback from the Research Roundtable and have a working draft suitable for publication on SSRN by September 1, 2024. Papers will also be housed on the Initiative’s and Center’s website.
3. Voices for Liberty Panel (Fall 2024, Date TBD)
Authors will be expected to present their papers at a public panel to be held in the Washington, D.C. region. The Liberty & Law Center shall pay for reasonable travel costs to attend the panel.
4. Paper Published or Placement Secured in an Academic Journal (April 2025)
Authors are responsible for completing papers by September 2024 and publishing or securing placement in a law review or academic journal by April 2025. The Liberty & Law Center may arrange to have the papers published in a symposium issue of a law journal.
5. Op-Ed, Webinars, and Other Media (Sept. 2024-Apr. 2025)
Authors will produce at least one op-ed summarizing their work and be prepared to discuss their work in public forums.
Application Process and Selection Criteria:
Priority deadline of August 15th 2023, 5:00 ET for full consideration, with review on a rolling basis through September 8th.
To submit a paper proposal for Voices for Liberty, please email your application to VFLI@gmu.edu as a single Word doc or PDF. All proposals are treated confidentially. Application must include all of the following:
- First and last name, position title, email, organization, and a brief bio.
- A summary of the issue to be addressed, the proposed methodology, and the feasibility of a completed draft by June 2024 and final submission by September 2024.
- Citizenship status (confirmation of current U.S. citizenship or current visa status). Please note that there is a difference in the honorarium payment process and travel processing for authors without U.S. citizenship; this will vary based on the individual’s visa status.
- Notice that applicant has checked with their university or employer before applying to ensure they are cleared to participate in the full program and that their university or employer understands the program’s requirements.
Please note, accepted applicants will be required to sign an agreement confirming they understand the program requirements and payment details.
The Liberty & Law Center will offer an honorarium to paper authors during the writing process and once papers are placed for publication. Precise amount will depend on selection and final funding, at a minimum of $5,000.
Successful paper proposals will address any issue(s) described above (or those adjacent); stem from the author’s expertise; relay a rigorous, knowledgeable, and manageable approach suitable for a law review or academic journal article; and follow the stated submission process.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.