By Joanna Williams
Universities, as soon as on the vanguard of campaigns for highbrow liberty, are actually bastions of conformity. This provocative ebook lines the loss of life of educational freedom in the context of fixing rules concerning the function of the college and the character of information and is a passionate name to fingers for the facility of educational idea today.
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Additional info for Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity: Confronting the Fear of Knowledge
107; emphasis in original) The conﬁdence with which Anderson declares ‘we can tell you’ is underpinned by a disciplinary framework: it is a conﬁdence built upon the expertise of the professional subject expert. Parallels can be seen between this assertion and the AAUP Statement from 1940; both represent a strong defence of academic freedom albeit one that is restricted to a more narrowly focused terrain. Although the McCarthy era was relatively short-lived, it left a marked legacy upon higher education in America.
Growing increasingly angry at the slow pace of change, Gossett argued that Black Power meant, ‘selfdetermination, self-respect and self defense, by any means necessary’ (in Schaefer, 2015). The BSU argued for changes within educational 48 Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity institutions, including the establishment of a black curriculum and greater rights for students. At Cornell University on 19 April 1969, students from the AfroAmerican Society responded to heightened racial tensions by taking over the students’ union building on campus.
This gave academics an unprecedented degree of academic freedom. In 1957, the philosopher John Anderson declared that academic freedom does not mean that academics have the same standing “before the law” as any other citizen; it means that they have a special province, a ﬁeld in which they can say: “We are the experts here; 46 Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity we can tell you (the Law, the State) what has force, what runs, in this department of social activity”. (in Hayes, 2009, p. 107; emphasis in original) The conﬁdence with which Anderson declares ‘we can tell you’ is underpinned by a disciplinary framework: it is a conﬁdence built upon the expertise of the professional subject expert.
Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity: Confronting the Fear of Knowledge by Joanna Williams