Academic freedom—crucial to the health of American higher education—is threatened on many fronts. In The Future of Academic Freedom, a leading scholar equips us to defend academic freedom by illuminating its meaning, the challenges it faces, and its relation to freedom of expression.
In the wake of the 2016 election, challenges to academic freedom have intensified, higher education has become a target of attacks by conservatives, and issues of free speech on campus have grown increasingly controversial. In this book, Henry Reichman cuts through much of the rhetoric to issue a clarion call on behalf of academic freedom as it has been defined and defended by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) for over a hundred years. Along the way, he makes it clear that this is the issue of our day.
Over the course of 10 audacious essays, Reichman explores the theory, history, and contemporary practice of academic freedom. He pays attention to such varied concerns as the meddling of politicians and corporate trustees in curriculum and university governance, the role of online education, the impact of social media, the rights of student protesters and outside speakers, the relationship between collective bargaining and academic freedom, and the influence on research and teaching of ideologically motivated donors. Significantly, he debunks myths about the strength of the alleged opposition to free expression posed by student activism and shows that the expressive rights of students must be defended as part of academic freedom.
Based on broad reading in such diverse fields as educational theory, law, history, and political science, as well as on the AAUP’s own investigative reporting, The Future of Academic Freedom combines theoretical sweep with the practical experience of its author, a leader and activist in the AAUP who is an expert on campus free speech. The issues Reichman considers—which are the subjects of daily conversation on college and university campuses nationwide, as well as in the media—will fascinate general readers, students, and scholars alike.