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The Future of Academic Freedom

, 376 pages
April 2019



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Pre-order. Will ship in February 2019

The Future of Academic Freedom

Academic freedom—crucial to the health of American higher education—is threatened on many fronts. In The Future of Academic Freedom, a leading scholar equips us to defend academic freedom by illuminating its meaning, the challenges it faces, and its relation to freedom of expression.

In the wake of the 2016 election, challenges to academic freedom have intensified, higher education has become a target of attacks by conservatives, and issues of free speech on campus have grown increasingly controversial. In this book, Henry Reichman cuts through much of the rhetoric to issue a clarion call on behalf of academic freedom as it has been defined and defended by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) for over a hundred years. Along the way, he makes it clear that this is the issue of our day.

Over the course of 10 audacious essays, Reichman explores the theory, history, and contemporary practice of academic freedom. He pays attention to such varied concerns as the meddling of politicians and corporate trustees in curriculum and university governance, the role of online education, the impact of social media, the rights of student protesters and outside speakers, the relationship between collective bargaining and academic freedom, and the influence on research and teaching of ideologically motivated donors. Significantly, he debunks myths about the strength of the alleged opposition to free expression posed by student activism and shows that the expressive rights of students must be defended as part of academic freedom.

Based on broad reading in such diverse fields as educational theory, law, history, and political science, as well as on the AAUP's own investigative reporting, The Future of Academic Freedom combines theoretical sweep with the practical experience of its author, a leader and activist in the AAUP who is an expert on campus free speech. The issues Reichman considers—which are the subjects of daily conversation on college and university campuses nationwide, as well as in the media—will fascinate general readers, students, and scholars alike.

Henry Reichman is emeritus professor of history at California State University, East Bay, and chair of the AAUP's Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. He is the author of Censorship and Selection: Issues and Answers for Schools.

"Offering compelling case studies and keen insights, scholar, advocate, and activist Henry Reichman issues an urgent call to action. Enjoining campus leaders to safeguard and champion the principles of academic freedom upon which American higher education is founded, Reichman makes visible their essential role in educating for democracy."

"Henry Reichman is an essential and rational voice in contemporary debates about academic freedom. His book is required reading for those who would understand the controversies that presently engulf that important value."

"A stunningly versatile analysis that is careful and convincing throughout. This important, engaging, and readable volume will appeal to scholars from a variety of disciplines and institutions."

"Academic freedom allows leading thinkers to speak truth to power without fear of politically or ideologically-motivated repercussions. Unsurprisingly, it is under an unprecedented assault today by the right. Read Henry Reichman's The Future of Academic Freedom to learn how to fight back and protect this bedrock principle of American democracy."

"A provocative, focused, and comprehensive volume by a leading voice on academic freedom. Reichman does not shy away from doing true investigative work. The inclusion of a plethora of stories and current news references should make this readable book accessible to a wide audience."

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