No Escape: Freedom of Speech and the Paradox of Rights – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

No Escape: Freedom of Speech and the Paradox of Rights

HWS professor writes book on American civil liberties, which has been praised for its “sophisticated treatment of the complex connections of legal rights and nationalism.”

Nov. 8, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y.—New York University Press just released a book “No Escape: Freedom of Speech and the Paradox of Right” by Paul A. Passavant, assistant professor of political science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The 192-page book evaluates the relationship between civil liberties and the national community at a time in U.S. history when the call has gone out for the nation to defend the freedom to live our way of life. In “No Escape” Passavant challenges the reader to reconsider traditional modes of thought, providing a fresh perspective on seemingly intransigent political and legal debates.

The preface of the book details how the reaction to September 11 in the U.S. hits on the major theme of the book—that rights are recognized according to a logic of American vs. non-American, and that since the end of the Cold War, a racial discourse of “Western civilization” versus the “savage” or “barbarian” has come to define what it means to be “American.”

In his praise of the book, Austin D. Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College, calls Passavant’s use of freedom of speech as a lens onto the meaning of being American “remarkable.”

“”No Escape's” sophisticated treatment of the complex connections of legal rights and nationalism make the book enormously important and timely in its exploration of the ways identity plays out on the terrain of liberal government,” Sarat says. “Sharply argued and theoretically rich, it makes a cutting-edge contribution to interdisciplinary legal scholarship.”

Passavant holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s and Ph. D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has taught at Hobart and William Smith Colleges since 1997.