By Joanna Williams
Universities, as soon as on the vanguard of campaigns for highbrow liberty, at the moment are bastions of conformity. This provocative publication lines the loss of life of educational freedom in the context of adjusting rules in regards to the goal of the college and the character of data and is a passionate name to palms for the ability of educational concept today.
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Extra resources for Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity: Confronting the Fear of Knowledge
66). In 1967, the London School of Economics (LSE) became a particular focal point for dissent with students protesting against the appointment of Walter Adams, who had links with what was then Rhodesia, as Director of School. In response, Adams installed security gates at the entrance to the institution to prevent protesters occupying campus buildings. In January 1969, protests at LSE culminated in students smashing the gates. As in America, academics once conﬁdent in their authority suddenly found themselves accountable to the student body.
A]nother portion were of the Left, and they had a personal interest in the protection afforded them by those views. When the former lost their conﬁdence, and the latter gained theirs, the strength of academic freedom declined dramatically. (p. 325) The capitulation to political demands heralded the start of an enduring change in the academic project. A commitment to particular values began to supersede rational inquiry as the goal of both teaching and research. Bloom hints at one reason why this shift from rational inquiry to a commitment to values came about so readily when he describes how the professors who had once believed in the concept of freedom ‘lost conﬁdence’.
One argument frequently used against academics accused of membership of the communist party was that they had relinquished their intellectual independence and were therefore unqualiﬁed to teach. The ﬁrst recorded academic freedom case linked explicitly to the McCarthy trials occurred at the University of Washington in July 1948. Six academics had charges levelled against them, and three of them were dismissed: two who admitted to membership of the Communist Party and one who refused to answer any questions about Free to Be Critical 45 his politics.
Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity: Confronting the Fear of Knowledge by Joanna Williams