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Knowledge, Power, and Academic Freedom


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Table of Contents

Introduction: On the Future of Academic Freedom
1. Academic Freedom as an Ethical Practice
2. Knowledge, Power, and Academic Freedom
3. Civility, Affect, and Academic Freedom
4. Academic Freedom and the State
5. On Free Speech and Academic Freedom
Epilogue: In the Age of Trump, a Chilling Atmosphere-an Interview with Joan Wallach Scott by Bill Moyers

About the Author

Joan Wallach Scott is professor emerita in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Her books include Sex and Secularism (2017) and Gender and the Politics of History (Columbia, thirtieth anniversary edition, 2018). She is a long-standing member of the American Association of University Professors Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure.


Knowledge, Power, and Academic Freedom is brilliant and written with admirable clarity and style. This book could not be more timely or important. -- Michael Berube, author of author of What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?: Classroom Politics and "Bias" in Higher Education
For decades, Joan Scott has been a passionate and thoughtful advocate for academic freedom. In these penetrating essays, she explores the often subtle tensions between free inquiry and disciplinary authority, critique and orthodoxy, disruption and civility, as well as the distinctions and interplay between academic freedom and freedom of speech, which underpin academic freedom as an ethical practice essential to the academy's future. -- Hank Reichman, chair of the American Association of University Professors Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure
Joan Scott's incisive account of the numerous assaults on academic freedom is a timely intervention in the so-called free speech debates. Scott reminds us that the search for truth requires freedom on the part of experts to challenge prior knowledge and established theories. The forces arrayed against academic freedom, she reminds us, would love to do away with public education altogether,which in any functioning democracy is simply unacceptable. -- Carolyn M. Rouse, coauthor of Televised Redemption: Black Religious Media and Racial Empowerment
For anyone who cares about the survival of academic freedom in the twenty-first century, this is required reading. Scott deftly outlines the tensions, ambiguities, and paradoxes of academic freedom and proves that it is the oxygen of any healthy democracy. Readers will come away convinced that the crises of our own historical moment call for its reinvention and revitalization. -- Adam Sitze, author of The Impossible Machine: A Genealogy of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission
An erudite, concise polemic that explores fundamental ideas of 'academic freedom,' and describes how academic research
has both shaped and been buffeted by the changing regard of broader society for enduring and fact-based knowledge. * Australasian Journal of American Studies *
Scott is inspired by and hopes to remind us of John Dewey's democratic rationale for academic freedom. Democracy needs its dissenters, its critical thinkers, its gadflies. * Academe *
[A] characteristically sophisticated defense of academic freedom. * Canadian Association of University Teachers *
An astute and critical analysis of the erosion of higher education in the public imagination. * New York Journal of Books *

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