Opportunities of Our Own Making: The Struggle for "Academic Freedom"

By Adria Battaglia


This essay examines David Horowitz’s “Academic Freedom” campaign, specifically exploring how “academic freedom,” a narrative that appears alongside “free speech” discourse frequently since September 11, 2001, can be understood as a site of struggle, a privileged label that grants legitimacy to those controlling it. This analysis includes public debates, interviews, and blog postings spanning the 2003 launch of Horowitz’s campaign, discussions of the proposed legislation in 2007, and his publication in 2009 of One-Party Classroom. By exposing the various ways Horowitz’s campaign is framed in the media by interested parties, I demonstrate how the link between “academic freedom” and “free speech” becomes a rhetorical strategy by which we can gain political and economic legitimacy.

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