Open Dialogue Visiting Fellow Rauch to discuss ‘Why Free Speech Is the Only Safe Space for Minorities’

Jonathan Rauch

Jonathan Rauch, a distinguished Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution, will visit Vanderbilt as an Open Dialogue Visiting Fellow for a discussion on Jan. 22. The event, “Why Free Speech Is the Only Safe Space for Minorities,” promises a thought-provoking exploration of the crucial role free speech plays in safeguarding the interests of minorities and fostering inclusivity and understanding within society. 

Hosted by the Open Dialogue Visiting Fellows program as a part of the chancellor’s Dialogue Vanderbilt initiative, the event will be on Monday, Jan. 22, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. CT in the Central Library Community Room. It will provide a platform for attendees to delve into the intersection of free speech, minority rights and societal well-being. Attendees are invited to stay for a reception after the event.  

Rauch, an accomplished author with eight books to his name and numerous articles on public policy, culture and government, is a contributing writer for The Atlantic and was recognized with the prestigious 2005 National Magazine Award. Rauch’s extensive body of work includes the 2021 book The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth, and the 2015 ebook Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy. Notably, he has contributed to critical discussions on political parties, marijuana legalization, LGBT rights, religious liberty and more. 

About Open Dialogue Visiting Fellows 

A collaboration between the Stanton Foundation and Vanderbilt University launched the Open Dialogue Visiting Fellows program in late 2023; the series is designed to equip students for engaged and informed citizenship in a fractured world. 

Through the program, Vanderbilt hosts a cohort of thought leaders with competing and sometimes conflicting views on policy issues and social problems. These visitors engage with students, faculty, the public and each other to model reasoned, evidence-based civil debate. 

The fellows are part of Dialogue Vanderbilt, an initiative that provides a range of programs to students, faculty and the public that promote civil discourse and help them better understand and address political polarization. 

The Open Dialogue Visiting Fellows program is directed by John Geer, a senior advisor to the chancellor on key strategic initiatives that promote democracy, free expression and open dialogue; Sarah Igo, holder of the Andrew Jackson Professorship, dean of strategic initiatives for the College of Arts and Sciences, and professor of history, political science and law; and Jonathan Metzl, holder of the Frederick B. Rentschler II Chair, professor of sociology, of history, of medicine, health and society, and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and director of the Department of Medicine, Health and Society.