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Challenges to Academic Freedom

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Challenges to Academic Freedom

A must-read collection on contemporary threats to academic freedom.

Academic freedom may be threatened like never before. Yet confusion endures about what professors have a defensible right to say or publish, particularly in extramural forums like social media. At least one source of the confusion in the United States is the way in which academic freedom is often intertwined with a constitutional freedom of speech. Though related, the freedoms are distinct.


In Challenges to Academic Freedom, Joseph C. Hermanowicz argues that, contrary to many historical views, academic freedom is not static. Rather, we may view academic freedom as a set of relational practices that change over time and place. Bringing together scholars from a wide range of fields, this volume examines the current conditions, as well as recent developments, of academic freedom in the United States.

• the sources of recurring threat to academic freedom;
• administrative interference and overreach;
• the effects of administrative law on academic work, carried out under the auspices of Title IX legislation, diversity and inclusion offices, research misconduct tribunals, and institutional review boards;
• the tenuous tie between academic freedom and the law, and what to do about it;
• the highly contested arena of extramural speech and social media; and
• academic freedom in a contingent academy.

Adopting varied epistemological bases to engage their subject matter, the contributors demonstrate perspectives that are, by turn, case study analyses, historical, legal-analytic, formal-empirical, and policy oriented. Traversing such conceptual range, Challenges to Academic Freedom demonstrates the imperative of academic freedom to producing outstanding scholarly work amid the concept's entanglements in the twenty-first century.

Contributors: Patricia A. Adler, Peter Adler, Timothy Reese Cain, Dan Clawson, Joseph C. Hermanowicz, Philip Lee, Gary Rhoades, Laura Stark, John R. Thelin, Hans-Joerg Tiede, Gaye Tuchman, Stephen Turner, Eve Weinbaum