The recent controversy at Wilfrid Laurier University has set off another debate about free speech. But free speech can’t override the human rights of marginalized people. (AP Photo file photo/David Goldman)

University debate is really about power

Human memories are malleable. U.S. President Donald Trump seems aware of this truism as he effectively moulds and shapes American minds with deceptions and exaggerations. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump’s manipulation of mass consciousness

He’s not dumb. He’s not crazy. Donald Trump is instead a mind manipulator, using his Twitter magic wand to exploit so-called malleable memory effect that helps him achieve ultra-right goals.
Developmental psychology suggests that fantastical beliefs in children are associated with positive developmental outcomes. And parents need not worry, children will bust the Santa myth themselves, when the time is right. (Shutterstock)

Lies about Santa could be good for your child

There's no need for parents to bust the Santa myth. Children figure out the truth themselves, at a developmentally appropriate time. In the process, they build their reasoning skills.
A woman lights candles in honour of women killed by gun violence during an event in Toronto marking the anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal that left 14 women dead. (CP PHOTO/Adrian Wyld)

Remembering the École Polytechnique massacre

On the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, Concordia Research Chair on Intersectionality, Violence and Resistance, Yasmin Jiwani reflects on violence and action.
The apparently growing practIce of governments and government officials blocking critics on social media has serious implications for freedom of expression. (Shutterstock)

Social media criticism & governments

Citizens should be free to criticize government authorities on social media platforms, and muzzling such criticism may well be unconstitutional.
We can learn a lot from the business practices and ethical stance of newspaper publishing in the 1830s. This image of a New York City newsroom is from the book, “Industries of to-day.” (Martha Luther Lane/Library of Congress)

Lessons from the news industry of the 1800s

Solutions to fake news and financial support for media may come from newspapers of the early 1800s.
The framing of Motion 103, combatting Islamophobia, may seem like a distant concern to the free speech debate in universities, but it is in fact related in the way the so-called “alt-right” uses free speech as a rhetorical prop in their campaigns of ideological intimidation. Here: Protesters rally over motion M-103, the Liberal anti-Islamophobia motion, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in March. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Transphobia, Islamophobia and the free speech alibi

Right-wing ideologues use free speech as an alibi for their transphobic and Islamophobic rhetoric.
A review of the prevalence of child sex abuse around the world shows that one in five females are affected and one in 13 males. (Shutterstock)

We must listen to male sexual abuse victims #too

In the wake of the #Metoo movement, and with the goal of transforming toxic masculinity into compassionate masculinity, we must create new spaces to listen to male victims of child abuse too.
Two young Brazilian men at a carnival street party in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro wearing traditional Indigenous feathers. (Shutterstock)

A guide: Think before you appropriate

Taking a practical and pragmatic approach by posing a series of questions to consider, this summary of the IPinCH guide unpacks important questions about cultural appropriation.
A statue of John A. Macdonald is shown covered in red paint in Montreal in November 2017. Canada’s first Prime MInister, he has been criticized for his treatment of Indigenous peoples and attitudes towards those of Chinese origin. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

Why history education is central to the survival of democracy

In a time of populism and political polarization, children and young adults need to learn to think critically, with complexity and nuance. History, as a subject, is more important than ever.
Current medical inadmissibility rules for newcomers are out of touch with Canadian values and need to be reformed. Here, candles around an AIDS symbol on World AIDS Day in Quezon city, Philippines 2016. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

A ray of hope on World AIDS Day for immigrants

World AIDS Day is an opportunity to discuss how current medical inadmissibility rules for newcomers are out of touch with Canadian values and need to be reformed.
Cirque du Soleil is one of the many Canadian artist groups that have received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts. (Cirque du Soleil)

Creative Canada reunites art and technology

The new creative framework policy put forth by the Canadian government has been criticized for its capitalist and Silicon Valley leanings. But it's actually Canada's best creative policy to date.
Scene from the movie, Troy, loosely based on Homer’s Iliad. (Troy)

Toxic masculinity & the classics

A classics professor is haunted by the co-optation of his discipline by the so-called "alt-right," toxic masculinity and other self-styled “defenders of Western civilization.”
Wooden stakes representing the 2,224 confirmed overdose deaths in British Columbia - many of them young Indigenous people - over the last three years, are placed on the ground at Oppenheimer Park, in Vancouver on September 29, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Indigenous women suffer greatest risk of injury

Research shows that Indigenous women are at greatest risk of injury within Canada. Income, education and housing inequities play a role. So does systemic racism and post-colonial trauma.

Quote of the Day

The subtext of free speech advocacy often nuzzles up with white supremacy, transphobia and sexism. And notions of free speech become even more complicated once we understand our identities are not treated equally. Abigail Curlew, PhD candidate, sociology, Carleton University, "University debate is really about power."

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  1. Lies about Santa? They could be good for your child
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  5. University free speech debate is really about power

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