Free Space in the Academy

By Bruce B. Janz


What we have called academic freedom is often academic toleration, in the liberal tradition of toleration. Toleration is at best the prelude to freedom, and is often a zero-sum proposition—freedom for one means duty or restriction for another. This essay advances the idea that freedom is the production of Gilles Deleuze’s idea of the “virtuality,” which the article frames as the creation of the “activated concept,” or the concept that opens up the potential for new structures, practices, or institutions. The author gives several examples, from South Africa and elsewhere, and finishes by suggesting several ways that virtualities are or can be derailed. 

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