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Academic Freedom

Academic Freedom and the Common Good: A Review Essay

This review essay discusses issues of academic freedom in the books of Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth, Akeel Bilgrami and Jonathan Cole (editors), Stefan Collini, Alice Dreger, Stanley Fish, Greg Lukianoff, Robert Post, and Hans-Joerg Tiede.

Academic Freedom, Political Interference, and Public Accountability: The Hong Kong Experience

This article provides an analysis of academic freedom in Hong Kong, addresses some systemic problems, and engages the debates between academic freedom and accountability of publicly funded institutions. It argues that the interference is not a one-off incident but forms part of a general trend toward a more restrictive regime of control over tertiary institutions in Hong Kong.

Editor's Introduction - Volume 7

In the movie The Big Short, Steve Carell’s character Mark Baum interviews a group of Florida brokers. When they speak openly about preying on immigrants and strippers for subprime mortgages, he turns to his own colleagues in astonishment: “I don’t get it. Why are they confessing?” “They’re not confessing,” they tell him. “They’re bragging.” Released in 2015, this movie about the financial meltdown of 2008 arguably also goes some way towards explaining the political meltdown of 2015-2016.

Professionalism and Unionism: Academic Freedom, Collective Bargaining, and the American Association of University Professors

This article traces the history of the relationship between professionalism and union organizing within the AAUP, whose founders initially eschewed unionism. Interest in unionism did not become a significant force until the mid-1960s, when the AAUP was compelled to respond both to intensified discontent among faculty with their economic status and to increasingly vigorous organizing by union rivals.

A New Hope? Pope Francis, the Academy, and LGBT Scholars and Scholarship

For many years now, scholars of religion and/or sexuality at Catholic colleges and universities have had their academic freedom challenged by the orthodoxy of the church—especially LGBT scholars, or works of scholarship that promote LGBT lives. However, with the rise of Pope Francis a new hope of academic freedom appears.

The “Textbook Controversy”: Lessons for Contemporary Economics

The “textbook controversy” involved the political suppression of the first Keynesian textbook to appear in the United States, in 1947. This historic event highlight the issue of who “owns” and participates in economic discourse and how the fruits of this discourse are—or should be—disseminated to the broader public.

Title IX, Sexual Harassment, and Academic Freedom: What No One Seems to Understand

Institutions all over the United States are currently revising and implementing policies concerning sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. But both “sexual harassment” and “sexual misconduct” are used in very different ways in different contexts, often by the same entity. The result is a mess. 

The Canadian Model: A Potential Solution to Institutional Review Board Overreach

This article discusses how institutional review boards, which began as safeguards against the abuse of human subjects, now impose so many restrictions that they constitute a genuine threat to academic freedom. Nichols considers the Canadian approach to review boards as a reasonable alternative.

Risking Responsibility paper attempts to refocus the conversation about academic freedom around the companion concept of “responsibility.” Considering the peculiar symmetry that defines the discussion of “freedom and responsibility” in the works of Friedrich Hayek and Jean-Paul Sartre, it concludes by teasing out a countervailing account of responsibility that might be said to have been at stake in the recent controversy concerning Professor Salaita.

The Personal Ethics of Academic Freedom: Problems of Knowledge and Democratic Competence

The following essay takes up Robert Post’s influential account of academic freedom in order to consider the role of personal ethics in practices surrounding academic freedom. The essay begins by outlining and proposing some revisions of Post’s account. It then considers three topics that are connected with academic freedom: the responsibilities of academics in extramural speech; in professional evaluation of research; and, finally, in tenure decisions.


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