Editor's Introduction - Volume 1

By Cary Nelson

With this issue we introduce a new online project—The AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom. Scholarship on academic freedom—and on its relation to shared governance, tenure, and collective bargaining--is typically scattered across a wide range of disciplines. People who want to keep up with the field thus face a difficult task. Moreover, there is no one place to track the developing international discussion about academic freedom and its collateral issues. Edited collections and special issues of journals have helped fill the need for many years, but there remains no single journal devoted to the subject. Now there is. It is published by the organization most responsible for defining academic freedom.

Publishing free and online gives us many advantages, the first being the ability to offer this service free to everyone interested.  A link to this inaugural issue will go out by email to nearly 400,000 faculty members. We hope they forward it to students and colleagues everywhere. Online publication also gives us the freedom to publish quite substantial scholarly essays, something that would be much more costly in print.

We invite people to submit essays for our next issue. Whether the journal is published as an annual volume or twice a year will depend in part on the number of quality submissions we receive. We will also maintain a continuing relationship with the AAUP’s annual conference on the state of higher education, itself founded in 2009. We are publishing three essays from the 2009 conference but expect to increase that number next time.

This first issue is devoted to essays solicited by the editor, with members of the editorial board checking essays for historical errors. The next issue will be conventionally refereed. Neither the editor nor the board members are ex officio. All were appointed on the basis of their publishing history and expertise.

We have done our best to gather a diverse range of essays. They range from historical studies to analyses of contemporary conflicts, from accounts of individual faculty experiences to institutional histories. Thus Phillip Deery details a case from the McCarthy era, whereas Ellen Schrecker analyzes the Ward Churchill case. Four essays deal with institutional crises—Jan H. Blits’s, Jean Gregorek’s, Cary Nelson’s, and one jointly authored by Nancy D. Campbell and Jane F. Koretz. Dan Colson breaks new ground in discussing graduate student academic freedom, whereas Larry G. Gerber reviews the history of the relationship between academic freedom and shared governance. We welcome your responses and suggestions.

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