It's Diablogical!
A Collaborative Diablog on Feminist Pedagogy
What is academic freedom? Who gets to claim it?

Last week I invited KCF to diablog about a recent article posted on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Wired Campus Blog: Will the Internet Destroy Academic Freedom?

Here’s a particularly troubling paragraph:

Mr. Hutcheson, who testified on behalf of Ward Churchill in the former University of Colorado professor’s academic freedom and unfair-dismissal lawsuit, put it this way in an interview: “Academic freedom is a privilege, not a fundamental right. It only exists as a result of professors’ ability to lay claim to a special place in determining knowledge.” That specialness, he says, exists because academic information is carefully checked and footnoted. When he typed “academic freedom” into Google, on the other hand, it gave him about 11,500,000 results in 0.8 seconds, none of them verified for accuracy. (Although, he does note the second link was the American Association of University Professors, freedom’s guardian.) And that is the kind of bulk result that led a student in an online class that he just finished teaching to cite a discredited theory of human aggression.

I had a mini twittersation with a student from my queering ethics about it too:

What do you think about this article KCF? I can’t help but wonder:

  • Who gets to claim academic freedom? And how/why are they able to claim it? And what does academic freedom even mean?
  • Does the “privilege” of academic freedom require that academics present themselves as Experts who determine knowledge, as opposed to share it? Who claim an exalted position?
  • What are some compelling ways that we (SLP and KCF) can respond to the social media haters in the academy–those scholars who will read this and use it to reinforce their belief that blogs/social media are destroying the integrity/rigor of the academy?

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