Date: Fri, 3 May 2002 15:23:03 -0700 (PDT)

Academic Freedom and Controversial Views

Irvine -- For expressing controversial views on the politics of sexuality, a political scientist, and his university, have both come under attack. The scholar wrote an article on sexual politics that included the word "pedophilia" in the subtitle title.

The Missouri legislature has cut $100,000 from the academic's university appropriations while some members of the public call for his firing. But university admnistrators stand firmly behind his academic freedom.

UM Chancellor Martha W. Gilliland told the NY Times, "We got out of the Dark Ages when we said we can challenge belief, we can investigate." The scholar's right to free speech has also been endorsed by the faculty senate and the AAUP. The general counsel of the American Council on Education told the NY Times that "Today's heresy often becomes tomorrow's orthodoxy."

Harris Mirkin, who head's the University of Missouri Kansas City political science department, is unperturbed by all the controversy. He wants folks to know that there is a moral panic over sex, specifically over pedophilia, and that not all contact between an adult and minor is abuse. The notion of an innocent child is a social construct, he argues.

We chat with Prof. Mirkin on today's edition of Subversity, a KUCI public affairs program, that often delves into controversial issues. The show airs today, May 3, 2002, from 5-6 p.m. west coast time on KUCI, 88.9 fm in Orange County, and via the Web at

We ask Mirkin about the hypocrisy the established gay movement has over the issue of sexual attraction to teenagers and the inability of American society to address taboo topics in a non-hysterical manner. Mirkin came to the legislature's attention after a controversy over author Judith Levine's "Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex" book was covered in the local media.

NY Times profile on Mirkin:

Mirkin is the author of "The Pattern of Sexual Politics: Feminism, Homosexuality and Pedophilia," Journal of Homosexuality, 37/2 (1999), 1-24.

Harmful to Minors' University of Minnesota Press site:

While I serve on the Journal of Homosexuality editorial board, I was not involved in the publication of Mirkin's article.

Thanx for listening.


Daniel C. Tsang
Host, Subversity, Fridays, 5-6 p.m.
KUCI, 88.9 FM and Web-cast live via 
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Daniel Tsang, KUCI, PO Box 4362, Irvine CA 92616
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