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Academic freedom is increasingly being threatened by a stifling culture of conformity in higher education that is restricting individual academics, the freedom of academic thought and the progress of knowledge – the very foundations upon which academia and universities are built. Once, scholars demanded academic freedom to critique existing knowledge and to pursue new truths. Today, while fondness for the rhetoric of academic freedom remains, it is increasingly criticised as an outdated and elitist concept by students and lecturers alike and called into question by a number of political and intellectual trends such as feminism, critical theory and identity politics. This provocative and compelling book traces the demise of academic freedom within the context of changing ideas about the purpose of the university and the nature of knowledge. The book argues that a challenge to this culture of conformity and censorship and a defence of academic free speech are needed for critique to be possible and for the intellectual project of evaluating existing knowledge and proposing new knowledge to be meaningful. This book is that challenge and a passionate call to arms for the power of academic thought today.
When this classic volume first appeared, academic freedom was a crucially important issue. It is equally so today. Hofstadter approaches the topic historically, showing how events from various historical epochs expose the degree of freedom in academic institutions. The volume exemplifies Richard Hofstader's qualities as a historian as well as his characteristic narrative ability. Hofstadter first describes the medieval university and how its political independence evolved from its status as a corporate body, establishing a precedent for intellectual freedom that has been a measuring rod ever since. He shows how all intellectual discourse became polarized with the onset of the Reformation. The gradual spread of the Moderate Enlightenment in the colonies led to a major advance for intellectual freedom. But with the beginning of the nineteenth century the rise of denominationalism in both new and established colleges reversed the progress, and the secularization of learning became engulfed by a tidal wave of intensifying piety. Roger L. Geiger's extensive new introduction evaluates Hofstadter's career as a historian and political theorist, his interest in academic freedom, and the continuing significance of Academic Freedom in the Age of the College. While most works about higher education treat the subject only as an agent of social economic mobility, Academic Freedom in the Age of the College is an enduring counterweight to such histories as it examines a more pressing issue: the fact that colleges and universities, at their best, should foster ideas at the frontiers of knowledge and understanding. This classic text will be invaluable to educators, university administrators, sociologist, and historians.
The professor and historian delivers a major critique of how political and financial attacks on the academy are undermining our system of higher education. Making a provocative foray into the public debates over higher education, acclaimed historian Ellen Schrecker argues that the American university is under attack from two fronts. On the one hand, outside pressure groups have staged massive challenges to academic freedom, beginning in the 1960s with attacks on faculty who opposed the Vietnam War, and resurfacing more recently with well-funded campaigns against Middle Eastern Studies scholars. Connecting these dots, Schrecker reveals a distinct pattern of efforts to undermine the legitimacy of any scholarly study that threatens the status quo. At the same time, Schrecker deftly chronicles the erosion of university budgets and the encroachment of private-sector influence into academic life. From the dwindling numbers of full-time faculty to the collapse of library budgets, The Lost Soul of Higher Education depicts a system increasingly beholden to corporate America and starved of the resources it needs to educate the new generation of citizens. A sharp riposte to the conservative critics of the academy by the leading historian of the McCarthy-era witch hunts, The Lost Soul of Higher Education, reveals a system in peril—and defends the vital role of higher education in our democracy.
This is the third and final volume of collected papers of A.W. Bob Coats. Coats began to collect material for this volume in the years following the publication of the second volume in 1993, but sadly died in 2007, before the work was completed. The volume has now been completed under the editorship of Roger Backhouse and Bruce Caldwell. Along with his articles, the compilation of the volume also reflects Coats’ interest in and commitment to book reviews, a selection of which have been chosen for inclusion. The book also includes a comprehensive bibliography. In addition to a preface by Backhouse and Caldwell, the volume also reproduces the obituary that was published in History of Political Economy, a memoir published in 1996, and an interview with Grant Fleming, published the previous year. Together, the introductory materials, articles and reviews serve as a fitting tribute to the body of work of Bob Coats.
Academic Freedom and the Law: A Comparative Study provides a critical analysis of the law relating to academic freedom in three major jurisdictions: the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States. The book outlines the various claims which may be made to academic freedom by individual university teachers and by universities and other higher education institutions, and it examines the justifications which have been put forward for these claims. Three separate chapters deal with the legal principles of academic freedom in the UK, Germany, and the USA. A further chapter is devoted to the restrictions on freedom of research which may be imposed by the regulation of clinical trials, by intellectual property laws, and by the terms of contracts made between researchers and the companies sponsoring medical and other research. The book also examines the impact of recent terrorism laws on the teaching and research freedom of academics, and it discusses their freedom to speak about general political and social topics unrelated to their work. This is the first comparative study of a subject of fundamental importance to all academics and others working in universities. It emphasises the importance of academic freedom, while pointing out that, on occasion, exaggerated claims have been made to its exercise.

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