Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Is Academic Freedom in Jeopardy?

We have discussed this before, but a new survey of social scientists finds that those surveyed are more pessimistic about academic freedom than those surveyed during the McCarthy era. (1/3 now versus 1/5 then)

The articles touches upon discussions of a disjunction between what we and the general public think academic freedom means, fights in middle-eastern studies, and even the recent supreme court ruling against part of McCain-Feingold.

There are many important truths to this, as you remember in our discussions of Kevin Barrett and last year, but it seems incorrect to equate today to the 1950s.

What do you think? Are we stifled and silenced? Should we be? (I should talk--I won't even give my real name!)


Anonymous said...

For most faculty I would say no, their freedom to do research and report findings are not under threat. I would say that there is more pressure on academics when they say thioings that are politically unpopular as in the case of Barret. But then I doubt Barret will ever publish his 9/11 research in an academic journal.

Working To Make A Living said...

I think a better example then Barret of an academic doing politically unpopular but impeccable scholarly work be the case of Norman Finklestein from De Paul university. Another example would be the great journalist George Seldes, who was a guy that no paper would hire. I could continue naming names, but i won't.
Academia is no different than any other job. If your saying something important, and people are beginning to listen, you will find yourself bagging groceries lickety split. Sure one can keep doing research and publishing in journals which no one reads, but I don't know if such work could be called pushing the boundaries of free speech.

Anonymous said...

Barnett Impeccable? The man won't be published because his "work" it lacks schoalrship and verifiable data.

You want to claim that bombs were planted at the WTC then provide some evidence.

Working To Make A Living said...

you said "Barnett Impeccable? The man won't be published because his "work" it lacks schoalrship and verifiable data".

read the post, before you run your mouth!! I do admit i must be more careful in my writing as not to confuse folks.

Working To Make A Living said...

here is a link to a conference discussing academic freedom. the conference will be October 12, from 2 to 7 pm on the campus of the university of Chicago.