Louis Menand The Future of Academic Freedom

ISBN 13: 9780226520056

The Future of Academic Freedom

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9780226520056: The Future of Academic Freedom
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At the bottom of every controversy embroiling the university today—from debates over hate-speech codes to the reorganization of the academy as a multicultural institution—is the concept of academic freedom. But academic freedom is almost never mentioned in these debates. Now nine leading academics, including Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Edward Said, Richard Rorty, and Joan W. Scott, consider the problems confronting the American University in terms of their effect on the future of academic freedom.

"Louis Menand has assembled The Future of Academic Freedom to better define and delineate what should and should not happen within our colleges and universities. . . . The whole extremely learned yet accessible debate exploits the freedoms it extols, tackling sensitive subjects such as ethnicity and ethics head-on."—Publishers Weekly

"The essays are not only sharp, elegant and lucid, but extremely well-informed about the history of American battles over academic freedom."—Alan Ryan, Times Higher Education Supplement

"[A] superb inquiry into some of the most vexing and significant issues in higher education today."—Zachary Karabell, Boston Book Review

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Review:

The issue of academic freedom and its centrality to the debates raging on campuses today is the focus of these essays by a weighty assemblage of academics. Ronald Dworkin, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Louis Menand, and Edward W. Said and others grapple with the issues of campus speech codes, the limits of academic freedom, and the ethics of academics. The various authors can be commended for bringing a lot of factual material into the discussion, and for giving substance to their arguments.

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At the bottom of every controversy embroiling the university today - from debates over hate-speech codes to the reorganization of the academy as a multicultural institution - is the concept of academic freedom. But academic freedom is almost never mentioned in these debates. Now nine leading academics consider the problems confronting the American university in terms of their effect on the future of academic freedom. Whom and what does academic freedom protect? Are restrictions on hate speech compatible with the academic freedom of inquiry? Must academic freedom have epistemological foundations, or should it be reconceived as an ethical practice? If the American university is now undergoing a radical reorganization, both intellectual and economic, what are the threats to the freedoms of inquiry and expression that professors and students have traditionally taken for granted? The essays respond to critics of the university, but they also respond to one another: Rorty and Haskell argue about the epistemological foundations of academic freedom; Gates and Sunstein discuss the legal and educational logic of speech codes. But in the end the volume achieves an unexpected consensus about the need to reconceive the concept of academic freedom in order to meet the threats and risks of the future.

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ISBN 10:  0226520048 ISBN 13:  9780226520049
Publisher: University of Chicago Press, 1996
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