Dinah Zeiger | » Download Full Abstract
Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Media
One of the most potent narratives of the First Amendment refers to its function as a social safety valve, a principle articulated by Thomas Irwin Emerson in a 1963 essay in which he argued that freedom of expression promotes a means of achieving a more stable community. Emerson died in 1991, but his work remains required reading for students of law, journalism, political science and the social sciences. Yet, despite his rank as one of the nation’s preeminent mid-twentieth century interpreters of the First Amendment, little is known about what and who influenced Emerson’s thinking. This project proposes an intellectual biography of his development as a legal scholar. The UI Seed Grant will fund travel to the Yale Law Library Emerson Archive,Columbia University’s Oral History Archive and UC-Berkeley’s Miekeljohn Civil Liberties Institute to access personal and professional papers and taped interviews.