By Joanna Williams

ISBN-10: 1137514787

ISBN-13: 9781137514783

ISBN-10: 1137514795

ISBN-13: 9781137514790

Universities, as soon as on the vanguard of campaigns for highbrow liberty, are actually bastions of conformity. This provocative e-book lines the loss of life of educational freedom in the context of fixing principles concerning the objective of the collage and the character of data and is a passionate name to fingers for the ability of educational notion today.

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British students, like their American counterparts, often found themselves pushing at an open door as many academics were already beginning to question the aspiration towards truth and the possibility of objectivity as goals of the academic enterprise. Academics at LSE and beyond often became involved in student protests, albeit sometimes unwittingly, as either supporters of the students or the focus of their anger. Two LSE lecturers, Nick Bateson and Robin Blackburn, were dismissed after they expressed support for the students who had dismantled the security gates.

That professors were free to pursue their area of expertise with no interference from the state was widely recognized and well protected by governmental institutions. The practice of hiring and retaining academic staff based upon their competence rather than political conformity or favouritism led to a more accomplished and expert faculty. A lack of political constraint led to faster and more innovative intellectual advances. Prussian universities had been influenced by Wilhelm von Humboldt’s idea of the research university as ‘an academically autonomous institution dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and truth’ (Carr, 2009, p.

In shifting the meaning of academic freedom away from a negative concept of freedom from external interference to a positive freedom to meet the common good, academic freedom becomes a contingent right, dependent upon the individual academic remaining in good standing within their institution. We do not know exactly how the 1940 Committee intended the balance between liberties and exhortations to be measured. However, the subsequent impact of this 1940 Statement has been to offer a far more limited concept of academic freedom than that presented 44 Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity in 1915, albeit one that is broadened out to more people working within universities through cutting the length of probation prior to tenure.

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Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity: Confronting the Fear of Knowledge by Joanna Williams


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