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Civil Rights and Discrimination

Robert Kahn

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Does It Matter How One Opposes Memory Bans? A Commentary On Liberte Pour L'Histoire, Robert Kahn Feb 2015

Does It Matter How One Opposes Memory Bans? A Commentary On Liberte Pour L'Histoire, Robert Kahn

Robert Kahn

This paper examines Liberté pour l'Histoire, a group of French historians who led the charge against that nation’s memory laws, in the process raising unique arguments not found elsewhere in the debate over hate speech regulation. Some of these arguments – such as a focus on how the constitutional structure of the Fifth Republic encouraged memory laws – advance our understanding of the connection between hate speech bans and political institutions. Other arguments, however, are more problematic. In particular, Liberté historians struggle to distinguish the Holocaust (which is illegal to deny) from the Armenian Genocide (which is not). The Liberté ...