Our participants come from many professions and fields, from authors, publishers, and activists to scholars and librarians.
CEO, IDW Media Holdings
Ted Adams is the CEO of IDW Media Holdings, which includes IDW’s publishing, games, and entertainment divisions – all founded by Adams — as well as CTM Media, a digital print and advertising firm. As the CEO of IDWM, Adams develops and oversees the execution of IDWM’s strategic growth plans, including development of its key media properties, publishing titles, and licensing initiatives. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. More.
Historian, University of Chicago
A historian of violence, Kathleen Belew specializes in the recent history of the United States, examining the long aftermath of warfare. Her first book, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, explores how white power activists wrought a cohesive social movement through a common story about warfare and its weapons, uniforms, and technologies. She examines how what we may consider minor information technologies, such as the copy and ditto machine, enabled new forms of community building at the heart of the rise of America's White Power Movement. More.
Executive Director, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
Charles Brownstein has served as the Executive Director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund since 2002. During his tenure the organization has achieved numerous legal victories, been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, and has become the leading source of education and advocacy for combating the rising tide of comics censorship in libraries and schools. In addition to his work at CBLDF, he also writes extensively about comics. He currently serves as the president of the Freedom to Read Foundation, chair of the Banned Books Week Coalition, as well as on the Board of Directors of the Media Coalition, and on the Steering Committee of the alternative comics festival SPX. More.
East Asian Languages & Civilizations, University of Chicago
A literary scholar, Kyeong-Hee Choi studies the relationship between the culture of publication and the historical experiences of modern Koreans, including the experiences of Japanese colonial rule, national division, the Korean War, the Cold War, and democratization, with a strong interest in gender. Her first book examines the role Japanese colonial censorship played in shaping modern Korean literature. Another project, tentatively titled “Rewritten in Divided Korea: Colonial Literature as a History, 1945-1960,” investigates the emergence of separate versions of the canon of modern national literature in a divided Korea. More.
Journalist, media historian, Elon University
After working for seven years in North Carolina as a reporter, photographer, sports editor and news editor for both daily and weekly newspapers, David Copeland turned to Media Studies and is now program director of Elon's graduate program in interactive media. His recent books include The News Media and The Media's Role in Defining the Nation: The Active Voice, and he is the series editor of Mediating American History, a multi-volume series on the media's role in shaping the direction of the nation. His 2006 book The Idea of a Free Press: The Enlightenment and Its Unruly Legacy traces the problematic history of the idea of a "free press" and its role in the evolution of information control. More.
A writer and journalist with a Ph.D. in socio-cultural anthropology, Joshua Craze has lived in Britain, Cambodia, Egypt, France, the Netherlands, Kenya, America, and South Sudan. He works on redaction of state documents, and produced a Grammar of Redaction for the New Museum in New York, focusing on the aesthetic logic of redacted documents from the American War on Terror. He has published numerous op-eds, articles, and book chapters, and has a forthcoming nonfiction book, Line Language: On the Borders of the Middle East. He was a Harper-Schmidt Fellow at the University of Chicago, and a 2014 UNESCO Laureate Artist in Creative Writing. More.
Historian, Oxford University
Nicholas Davidson studies the religious divisions created by the Reformation, and the cultural challenges generated by the increased interchange of people and ideas between Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe in the Renaissance and early modern Europe. He works with the records of Inquisition trials, primarily in Rome and Venice, examining the methods and practices of pre-modern interrogations, and the institutional evolution of the Inquisition and its efforts to exert centralized control over an enormous and unwieldy series of Christian empires. Anchored in the archives, his work exposes institutional and public attitudes toward religious minorities, immigrant populations, radical science, sexuality, desire, sodomy, and homosexuality, and how all these concerns affected the Inquisition's censorship project. More.
Divinity School, University of Chicago
Wendy Doniger (O'Flaherty) is the author of over forty books, most recently The Hindus: An Alternative History (2010), the Indian edition of which prompted a lawsuit for blasphemy; Against Dharma: Dissent in the Ancient Indian Sciences of Sex and Politics (2018, retitled Beyond Dharma: . . . for the Indian edition); and The Donigers of Great Neck: A Mythologized Memoir (2019). In progress are Horses in Indian Mythology and Letters from India, 1963-2018. More.
Historian, Princeton University
Antony Grafton’s special interests lie in the cultural history of Renaissance Europe, the history of books and readers, the history of scholarship and education in the West from Antiquity to the 19th century, and the history of science from Antiquity to the Renaissance. He also studies the long-term history of scholarly practices, such as forgery and the citation of sources, and has worked on many other topics in cultural and intellectual history. His current project is a large-scale study of the science of chronology in 16th- and 17th-century Europe: how scholars attempted to assign dates to past events, reconstruct ancient calendars, and reconcile the Bible with competing accounts of the past. More.
Modern Arabic Literature, University of Chicago
Ghenwa Hayek's research spans the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the Arab Middle East, and focuses on the entangled relationships between literary and cultural production, space and place, and identity formation. She is interested in the ways that literary texts intervene in the cultural and social landscape. She is also a translator, and her translations have appeared in the literary magazine Banipal, and in the anthology Beirut 39: New Writing From the Arab World, as well as in mainstream publications like The New York Times and The International New York Times. More.
St. John's University Law School
Kate Klonick is an Assistant Professor of Law at St. John's University Law School. She holds a PhD from Yale Law School and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. Her research and writing on the Internet's effect on freedom of expression and private governance has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, New York Times, Slate, The Atlantic and numerous other publications. More.
Alan Charles Kors
Historian, University of Pennsylvania
Alan Charles Kors specializes in European intellectual history of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with a general interest in the deep intellectual transformation of European thought and a special research interest in the relationships between orthodox and heterodox thought in France after 1650. He co-founded the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and has worked as an advocate in the defense of academic freedom. More.
Jamie LaRue is the director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, and the Freedom to Read Foundation. Author of The New Inquisition: Understanding and Managing Intellectual Freedom Challenges, LaRue was a public library director for many years, as well as a weekly newspaper columnist and cable TV host. He has written, spoken, and consulted on leadership and organizational development, community engagement, and the future of libraries. He is current President of the Board of the Media Coalition. More.
History of Science, Harvard University
Hannah Marcus studies the Inquisition's archives, especially the censorship of medical books and the Inquisition's practice of granting certain individuals (usually elites) licenses to study and possess banned books, creating an intentionally penetrable censorship system. Her forthcoming books include Forbidden Knowledge: Science and the Paradox of Censorship in Early Modern Europe, and Galileo’s Letters: Experiments in Friendship, co-authored with Paula Findlen. More.
Mary Anne Mohanraj
Author, editor; University of Illinois at Chicago
A prolific author of both mainstream and genre fiction, Mary Anne Mohanraj is editor-in-chief of the South Asian literary journal Jaggery, founder of the prominent genre fiction magazine Strange Horizons, and works as a Clinical Assistant Professor of fiction and literature and the Associate Coordinator of Asian and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her works include Bodies in Motion, The Stars Change, and Without a Map, co-authored with Nnedi Okorafor. Raised in the USA, she was born in Sri Lanka, and much of her fiction deals with the legacy of Sri Lanka's past and modern tumults. More.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Editor-in-Chief, Tor Books
Patrick Nielsen Hayden is an American science fiction editor, fan, fanzine publisher, essayist, reviewer, anthology editor, teacher and blogger. He is a World Fantasy Award and Hugo Award winner (with nine nominations for the latter award), and is an editor and the Manager of Science Fiction at Tor Books. He also plays guitar and sometimes sings, most recently in a band called Whisperado. More.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Consulting editor, Tor Books
Teresa Nielsen Hayden is an American science fiction editor, fanzine writer, essayist, and workshop instructor. She is a consulting editor for Tor Books and is well known for her weblog, Making Light. She has also worked for Federated Media Publishing, when in 2007 she was hired to revive the comment section for the blog Boing Boing. More.
Theatre, University of Sheffield
Much of Steve Nicholson's work centers on British political theatre and playwrights in the twentieth century, and the interplay between politics, morality and aesthetics. He spent a lot of time exploring the history of theatre censorship in Britain between 1900 and 1968. Most recently, he has been writing about images of Hitler and the Nazis on the British stage during the 1930s, and about political drama written during the early months of the First World War. More.
Communication Studies, American University
Aram Sinnreich's work focuses on the intersection of culture, law and technology, with an emphasis on subjects such as emerging media and music. He is the author of two books, Mashed Up (2010), and The Piracy Crusade (2013), and has written for publications including The New York Times, Billboard, Wired, The Daily Beast, and The Conversation. He is also a bassist and composer, and has played with groups and artists including progressive soul collective Brave New Girl, dub-and-bass band Dubistry, and Ari-Up, lead singer of the Slits. Along with co-authors Dunia Best and Todd Nocera, Sinnreich was a finalist in the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Contest, in the jazz category. More.
Managing editor, Fireside
Elsa Sjunneson-Henry is a deafblind speculative fiction writer, editor, and historian. She has an MA in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied burlesque and obscenity law, a subject on which she's spoken at The Henry Art Museum, various conferences, and given workshops. She ran the Oral History Project at the Burlesque Hall of Fame for three years. Sjunneson-Henry is the current managing editor of Fireside Magazine, and guest edited Uncanny Magazine’s DPDSF nonfiction section. Her nonfiction, including her work on burlesque, has appeared in venues such as: The Boston Globe, Uncanny Magazine, and tor.com. She also participates in organizing for disability justice at the grassroots level.
Historian, University of Paris Diderot
Will Slauter is a historian of publishing, media, and copyright law. He teaches at Université Paris Diderot and is a junior member of the Institut universitaire de France (IUF). His book "Who Owns the News? A History of Copyright" is forthcoming from Stanford University Press. More.
Artistic Director, Owle Schreame theatre company
Brice Stratford is an English director and actor-manager. He has worked primarily in classical and Shakespearean theatre, particularly with the Owle Schreame theatre company, which he founded in 2008 to explore historical and experimental techniques for performing Shakespearean theatre. The Owle Schreame theatre company presents plays known as Drolls, unpredictable and semi-improvised raucous and bawdy short (illegal) plays from the 16th and 17th centuries, written for clandestine performance in back alleys and hidden rooms while theater was briefly banned in England. Brice will speak about his experiences with these plays, but will also bring his troop to perform one for us, so everyone in the project can experience it.
Historian, Hoover Institution
Glenn Tiffert’s research interests center on 20th century China, particularly its experience of revolution. At the vanguard among scholars of modern Chinese legal history, he has published works in English and Chinese on the construction of the modern Chinese court system and judiciary, the drafting of the 1954 PRC Constitution, the legacies of Nationalist judicial modernization to the PRC, and the hidden genealogy of current PRC legal policy. He is also pioneering the integration of computational methods drawn from data science into the study of Chinese history. Using China as an illustrative case, his latest research empirically documents the alarming synergies between digitization, intellectual property law, censorship, and authoritarianism, and exposes how emerging technologies could spur Orwellian manipulation of the historical record and memory on a global scale. More.
Media Studies, University of Virginia
After five years as a journalist, Siva Vaidhyanathan turned to Media Studies and now directs the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia, which produces a television show, a radio program, several podcasts, and the Virginia Quarterly Review magazine. He works on the development and effects of copyright policies, in such works as Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy; Intellectual Property: A Very Short Introduction; The Googlization of Everything -- and Why We Should Worry; Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity; and The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash between Freedom and Control is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System. More.