Vladimir Nabokov

IVNS Civility Principles

IVNS Civility Principles

These principles were drafted and unanimously approved by a Working Group appointed by the President of the International Vladimir Nabokov Society. Unanimously adopted by the Board of IVNS in November 2023, these principles must be referenced and upheld by all organizers of IVNS-sponsored events. Calls for papers and other public communications related to IVNS-sponsored events should contain a link to this page.


The International Vladimir Nabokov Society is an intellectual community committed to the principle of academic freedom. We believe that intellectual inquiry requires open discourse, where views can be refined or refuted without fear of retribution. Each member is accountable for upholding a community of free inquiry by practicing responsible speech, forbearance, good will, and mutual respect.

The following principles operate in tandem to give scope and definition to the first principle of academic freedom. The Society expects them to be honored at all of its sponsored events.

Principle of Responsibility

Freedom is inseparable from responsibility. Free and rigorous scholarship may require grappling with ideas that are challenging, uncomfortable, or even painful where they interface with historical or personal trauma. As such, free expression can only exist in an environment that is respectful and inclusive.

Principle of Respect

Free expression can only occur where participants demonstrate an equal respect for one another. The right to freedom of expression is not license to offend and, therefore, precludes hostile speech and threatening behavior (harassment, intimidation, obstruction, interference, or silencing).

Principle of Inclusion

A commitment to freedom of expression is also a commitment to inclusion. The Society welcomes people of any race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability level, religion, political persuasion, or scholarly discipline who are committed to the free expression of ideas through civil discourse.

Organizers of Society-sponsored events are asked to think about these principles as a key component of their event planning. These principles should be linked to in all communications related to the event and acknowledged verbally at the beginning of the event.

A designated ombudsperson or ombudspersons shall be appointed in advance by the event-organizing committee. With the support from the Society and event organizers, the role of the ombuds is as follows: consult with participants about sensitive material; receive complaints in rare cases where participants believe that the above principles have been violated; listen confidentially to participant concerns; act as liaisons with event organizers for the purpose of adherence to the above principles with minimal disruption of planned events. Ombuds do not pass judgment on sensitive or controversial matters. Contact information for the ombudspersons must be made available to participants in advance of and during the event.