The War over the Future of Academic Freedom

By Libby Lewis


A war over the future of education is raging at school board meetings, in news media, and in classrooms, despite the implementation of short-term solutions to disparities caused by white supremacist ideological practices and policies. Attacks on academic freedom today are shaped by the politics of respectability, the desire to evacuate issues of race from racialized subjects, the fear of “the Great Replacement,” or gains made by racialized people and shifting cultural norms that benefit historically marginalized populations. To secure the future of academic freedom in this sociopolitical climate, I advocate for methods of redress including more audacious organizing, legislation, political agitation, and knowing when to say no to unnecessary interventions and innovations that ultimately undermine the agency of academics.

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