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On Borders and Academic Freedom: Noncitizen Students and the Limits of Rights

By Abigail Boggs


This article explores the limits of the discourse of “academic freedom” in the contemporary US university by centering the particular position and experiences of international students. A focus on the question of rights presumes that all participants in campus life have the capacity to claim said rights and thus fails to effectively comprehend how campuses function, for whom they function, and how legal and administrative policies stemming from US immigration law condition campus life for noncitizens and the broader campus community. This article illustrates how the invocation of “rights” operates in ways that both obfuscate and, at times, oddly animate the very figures such a focus implicitly renders both insignificant and exploitable—noncitizen students, faculty, staff, and other campus workers.

View the entire article "On Borders and Academic Freedom: Noncitizen Students and the Limits of Rights."

Note: This is an early-release article from volume eleven of the Journal of Academic Freedom, which focuses on "Academic Freedom on the Managed Campus." We will publish the complete volume online on September 22, 2020.

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