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Who's Afraid of Academic Freedom?


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Who Is Afraid of Academic Freedom?, by Akeel Bilgrami and Jonathan R. Cole 1. A Brief History of Academic Freedom, by Geoffrey R. Stone 2. Truth, Balance, and Freedom, by Akeel Bilgrami 3. Academic Freedom and Its Opponents, by David Bromwich 4. Academic Freedom Under Fire, by Jonathan R. Cole 5. Knowledge, Power, and Academic Freedom, by Joan W. Scott 6. Obscurantism and Academic Freedom, by Jon Elster 7. What's So Special About Academic Freedom?, by Michele Moody-Adams 8. Academic Freedom and the Constitution, by Robert Post 9. IRB Licensing, by Philip Hamburger 10. To Follow the Argument Where It Leads: An Antiquarian View of the Aim of Academic Freedom at the University of Chicago, by Richard A. Shweder 11. What Is Academic Freedom For?, by Robert J. Zimmer 12. Academic Freedom: Some Considerations, by Matthew Goldstein and Frederick Schaffer 13. Academic Freedom and the Boycott of Israeli Universities, by Stanley Fish 14. Exercising Rights: Academic Freedom and Boycott Politics, by Judith Butler 15. Israel and Islamic Freedom, by John Mearsheimer 16. Academic Freedom and the Subservience to Power, by Noam Chomsky 17. Academic Freedom: A Pilot Study of Faculty Views, by Jonathan R. Cole, Stephen Cole, and Christian C. Weiss List of Contributors Index

Promotional Information

In Who's Afraid of Academic Freedom?, distinguished senior scholars discuss the conceptual issues surrounding the idea of freedom of inquiry and scrutinize a variety of obstacles to such inquiry that they have encountered in their personal and professional experience. Their discussion of threats to freedom traverses a wide disciplinary and institutional, political and economic range covering specific restrictions linked to speech codes, the interests of donors, institutional review board licensing, political pressure groups, and government policy, as well as such phenomena as intellectual orthodoxy, in which coercion is barely visible and often self-imposed.

About the Author

Akeel Bilgrami is the Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy and a professor on the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. His books include Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment; Self-Knowledge and Resentment; and Belief and Meaning. Jonathan R. Cole is the John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University at Columbia University. For fourteen years, he served as provost and dean of faculties at Columbia. His latest book is The Great American University: Its Rise to Preeminence, Its Indispensable National Role, Why It Must Be Protected.


Who's Afraid of Academic Freedom? is a fantastic compilation of essays about a critically important and understudied topic. It has been one hundred years since the definition of academic freedom was laid out by the academy and seventy-five years since it has been studied and synthesized in any significant way, therefore making this collection of essays one of the most important documents in that last century regarding the academy and its role in our society. I would consider this to be the leading compendium of ideas and thinking on academic freedom yet produced. -- Michael Crow, president, Arizona State University Cogent essays about a topic crucial to the university and to all discourse in a democracy. Kirkus Reviews Academic freedom, the editors of this lively and challenging volume tell us, is a value because 'it enables the pursuit of other values.' It can even be at odds with some of those values, and this is why the topic needs the careful and varied attention it receives in these essays. Is academic freedom a subset of the freedom of speech, and if not, what is it? Who sets the rules for freedom of this or any kind? Who changes the rules when they don't seem to be working? And what does 'working' mean in this context? There are no easy answers in this book, but there are ideas and counter-ideas in abundance, and it handsomely illustrates and defends (and shows it is not afraid of) the value it names in its title. -- Michael Wood, author of Literature and the Taste of Knowledge and Yeats and Violence The phrase 'academic freedom' is often used carelessly: here is a work that will allow a more careful conversation about those many crucial issues facing the academy, in which a well-worked out understanding of conceptions of academic freedom is, as its authors show, an essential tool. -- Anthony Appiah, author of The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen and Lines of Descent: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity This impressive collection of 17 essays, with its broad range of social, scientific, legal and philosophical analyses, will be vitally important to democratic and political dialogue. -- Miriam E. David Times Higher Education A sober reminder that while academic freedom may be a 'given,' its proponents can never rest on their laurels... Recommended. Choice An impressive body of seminal scholarship... an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to community, college, and university library collections. Midwest Book Review

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