Clemson University

Prof. Bernard Harcourt (University of Chicago): Rereading George Orwell's 1984 in the Age of NSA Surveillance

Lemon Lecture in Social, Legal, and Political Thought


In the wake of the Snowden revelations, interest in George Orwell’s novel 1984 soared, leading to an exponential rise in sales. Less than a week after the first leaks were revealed by The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times reported that sales of Orwell’s book had increased by nearly 6,000%. Editorialists around the globe instantly drew the connection, and President Obama fueled the analogy, immediately referencing Orwell’s novel on 14 June 2013: “In the abstract, you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential program run amok, but when you actually look at the details, then I think we’ve struck the right balance.” The renewed attention to 1984 has triggered a robust public debate as to whether the comparison is apt—whether Orwell’s dystopian vision accurately captures our political condition today, whether it exceeds or minimizes it, and whether it is a useful lens through which to analyze the present. This lecture will continue the conversation…

Friday, April 4, 2014 at 1:30pm to 2:30pm

Lee Hall, 100
323 Fernow St., Clemson, SC 29634, USA


College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, Philosophy and Religion

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Candice Delmas

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