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When America is more divided now than it has been in generations, how can we overcome our differences and live together peacefully?

First Amendment scholar John Inazu will answer that question at Eastern Kentucky University when he presents “Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference” on Thursday, April 27. His lecture, the final entry in the Chautauqua series “Order and Chaos,” serves as the keynote address for First Amendment Week. The event, free and open to the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building.

Inazu’s new book, “Confident Pluralism,” is the basis of his lecture. In the book, Inazu provides “an original and provocative look at an important constitutional freedom that today is largely forgotten: the right of assembly.” His previous book, “Liberty’s Refuge: The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly,” also explores the potential of the oft-overlooked constitutional right.

In “Confident Pluralism,” Inazu argues that it is possible to live together peacefully in spite of deep, sometimes irresolvable differences. By advocating patience, humility and tolerance over protest and coercion, the book “reminds us that disagreeing with others, even passionately disagreeing with others, without rhetorically vaporizing them is actually part of what it means to live as citizens in a republic.”

Along with his two books, Inazu has written for major publications such as USA Today, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post. He is also a professor of law and religion at Washington University in St. Louis, where he teaches courses in criminal law, law and religion, and the First Amendment. His scholarship focuses on the First Amendment rights of speech, religion, and assembly, and related issues of political and legal theory.       

The Inazu lecture is sponsored by the Department of Communication, the Department of Government and Economics, the African/African American Studies Program and EKU Honors.

For more information on the Chautauqua lecture series, visit or contact Chautauqua Lecture Coordinator Erik Liddell at