Academic Freedom after September 11
Are the attacks on academic freedom after 9/11 a passing storm, or do they represent a structural shift that undermines one of the pillars of democratic societies? This book brings together some of this nation's leading scholars to analyze the challenges to academic freedom posed by post-9/11 political interventions and the market-driven commercialization of knowledge, examining these issues in light of the major transformations in the system of higher education since the Second World War, including conflicting interpretations of what constitutes academic freedom.
Following an analysis of the historical significance of the post-9/11 threats to academic freedom, three strongly argued and not easily reconcilable essays by Robert Post, Judith Butler, and Philippa Strum discuss what visions of academic freedom can be defended and the best strategies for doing so. Three case studies—Kathleen J. Frydl on the loyalty-oath and free-speech controversies at the University of California, Amy Newhall on the tortured relationship between universities and the government as seen in language acquisition programs, and Joel Beinin on the policing of thought in the academy in relation to the Middle East—deepen our understanding of what is at stake.
In clear and powerful prose, these essays provide a solid platform for informed classroom and public discussions on the philosophical foundations, institutional practices, and political dimensions of academic freedom on the threshold of the twenty-first century.
About the Editor
Beshara Doumani is Professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900 and editor of Family History in the Middle East: Household, Property and Gender.
"Academic freedom is under a sustained assault following the terrorist attacks of September 11. The free flow of information has been restricted, unreasonable barriers to academic materials have been erected, and foreign students and faculty have come under increased surveillance. Such actions are a misguided response to the threat of terrorism. Hamstringing the free exchange of ideas and information will do little if anything to prevent terrorist attacks, but will certainly diminish the capacity of the academic community to address threats to public safety. In Academic Freedom after September 11, the consequences and implications of the reduction of academic freedom are examined in a thoughtful and trenchant manner covering many different facets of this timely and important debate."
—Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union
"Academic freedom is under greater attack today than at any time since the McCarthy era fifty years ago. These original and remarkably intelligent and profound essays, representing diverse analytical perspectives, should be read by anyone interested in the future vitality of American universities."
—Jonathan R. Cole, John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University, Columbia University
"This is a vital and timely book in view of the insidious campaign under way to undermine the freedom and autonomy of the universities, to intimidate outspoken voices on campus, and to silence one of the few zones left in American public life where corporate/government newspeak does not dominate. These insightful essays analyse the nature of the peril menacing academic freedom since September 11, and suggest strategies for dealing with it."
—Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, Columbia Univerisity