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Academic Freedom 15 June 2006

Posted by Todd in Academia & Education, Cultural Critique, Politics.
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In the now stunningly long thread about Prof. Nielsen's dismissal from BYU, much of the argument has been revolving around the issue of Academic Freedom. I've been trying to take large, complex issues and squeeze them into little blog comments, to little effect. And so I thought it would be worthwhile to put some great articles up here for those readers interested in thinking through issues of Academic Freedom with more care and detail.

First, an important print debate between David Horowitz (a right-wing culture crusader, and author of the so-called “Academic Bill of Rights” which would seek to exert state control over university education) and Stanley Fish (a long-time professor and university administrator and erstwhile commentator at the Chronicle of Higher Education).

The Chronicle's news article about the issue.

David Horowitz's, “In Defense of Intellectual Diversity”

and

Stanley Fish's “'Intellectual Diversity': The Trojan Horse of a Dark Design”

And finally, a couple weeks ago, Michael Bérubé delivered a speech to the AAUP in which he addressed the Horowitz campaign and the meaning of Academic Freedom in our current political climate, and the importance of defending academia from state control. [I would also highly recommend reading the comments section to Berube's piece.]

Michael Bérubé, “Academic Freedom Again”

These will give you a feel for the debates going on both within the academy and in state legislatures around the country right now. Hopefully, it will also illustrate what is at stake in this struggle and illuminate what academic freedom should actually be.

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