By Joanna Williams
Universities, as soon as on the vanguard of campaigns for highbrow liberty, are actually bastions of conformity. This provocative booklet lines the loss of life of educational freedom in the context of fixing rules in regards to the function of the college and the character of information and is a passionate name to palms for the ability of educational notion today.
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Extra info for Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity: Confronting the Fear of Knowledge
The three were described as ‘incompetent, intellectually dishonest, and derelict in their duty to ﬁnd and teach the truth’ (Schrecker, 1994). None was able to ﬁnd a comparable academic post. This was just a precursor to the main round of dismissals from universities that occurred between 1952 and 1954. Many junior professors lost their jobs to little fanfare; others did not have contracts renewed or were never hired in the ﬁrst place. In the spring of 1953, immediately prior to the main congressional committee’s investigation into academia, thirty-seven university presidents issued a statement urging professors to name colleagues they suspected of communist sympathies.
Bloom argues that protecting unpopular ideas, which he claims were never, in reality, so unpopular within the universities, was a collective task and not an abstract proposition. Bloom suggests that what has been lost from higher education is a sense of the university as a preserve against public opinion. Instead, he notes, in the 1960s the ideas of the professoriate began to Free to Be Critical 47 coincide with more generally popular ideas and academic freedom no longer needed defending to such an extent.
The establishment of the AAUP, and its subsequent focus upon academic freedom, largely arose from a pragmatic response to a number of high-proﬁle incidents in which professors had either resigned or been dismissed from their universities for espousing views that contradicted the teaching of the church or the beliefs of their institution’s ﬁnancial sponsors. Throughout the 1890s, large-scale dismissals from American universities occurred following changes in the electoral fortunes of the political party controlling the state legislature.
Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity: Confronting the Fear of Knowledge by Joanna Williams