Saturday, March 5, 2016


Freedom of Expression Scholars Conference to be Held April 30

The Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression and the Information Society Project at Yale Law School will hold the fourth annual Freedom of Expression Scholars Conference on April 30-May 1, 2016. The conference, which will take place at Yale Law School, brings together academics, practitioners, and others to discuss their scholarly works-in-progress concerning freedom of speech, expression, press, association, petition, assembly, and related issues of knowledge and information policy. Anyone interested in submitting a paper should respond by February 26, 2016.

The conference has become the premier gathering of First Amendment scholars in the United States and at past conferences, dozens of papers have been presented with more than 50 scholars in attendance.

“The Conference provides a unique opportunity for scholars of free expression to meet with each other, to discuss issues of ongoing importance and to exchange views about those issues,” said Floyd Abrams ’60, one of the country's leading experts in freedom of speech and press issues, who both graduated from and has taught at Yale Law School.

The conference offers participants an opportunity to receive substantive feedback through group discussion. Unlike a traditional conference, authors do not give formal presentations of their work. Rather, each accepted paper is assigned a discussant, who briefly introduce the paper, provides feedback to the author, and leads a discussion among participants. This format permits substantive and lively discussion of ideas and writings that may be inchoate or not yet fully developed. 

Accepted papers will be circulated to all conference attendees before the conference so that participants can read papers in advance and contribute to the workshop-style discussions. 

Participation in the conference is by invitation only, but organizers welcome paper submissions and applications to participate from a wide range of scholars, practitioners, advocates, and other members of the First Amendment community.

  • Titles and abstracts of papers should be submitted electronically to heather.branch@yale.edu no later than February 26, 2016.
  • Those interested in attending the conference to serve as a discussant or otherwise attending without submitting a paper should also contact Heather Branch by February 26, 2016.
  • Workshop versions of accepted papers will be due on March 31, 2016 so that they can be circulated to discussants and other conference participants in advance.

The paper titles and attendees from prior years’ conferences are available here: 20152014 and 2013

The Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression at Yale Law School promotes freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and access to information as informed by the values of democracy and human freedom. The Abrams Institute is made possible by a generous gift from Floyd Abrams, one of the country's leading experts in freedom of speech and press issues, who both graduated from and has taught at Yale Law School. The program is administered by the Information Society Project, directed by Professor Jack Balkin.

The Information Society Project (ISP) at Yale Law School is an intellectual center that explores the implications of the Internet and new information technologies for law and society. The ISP is guided by the values of democracy, development, and civil liberties. Our work includes copyright, media law and policy, transparency, and privacy.

If you have any questions please email heather.branch@yale.edu or visit the ISP website.