Palgrave Critical University Studies

Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity

Confronting the Fear of Knowledge

Authors: Williams, Joanna

  • A compelling and provocative attack on the establishment that exposes the erosion of academic freedom in universities worldwide
  • Author has a strong, international platform and trackrecord of accessible, wellargued and controversial thinkpieces on higher education and is a committed selfpromoter
  • Highly topical – recent spate of high profile battles between academics and university managers in the UK and US has pushed the debate into the public/media spotlight
  • Explores the debate across both the UK and US and also at an international level
  • 2015 is the centenary of the now famous Association of American University Professors Declaration of Academic Freedom
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eBook $19.99
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  • ISBN 978-1-137-51479-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $100.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51477-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $30.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51478-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Academic freedom is increasingly being threatened by a stifling culture of conformity in higher education that is restricting individual academics, the freedom of academic thought and the progress of knowledge – the very foundations upon which academia and universities are built.

Once, scholars demanded academic freedom to critique existing knowledge and to pursue new truths. Today, while fondness for the rhetoric of academic freedom remains, it is increasingly criticised as an outdated and elitist concept by students and lecturers alike and called into question by a number of political and intellectual trends such as feminism, critical theory and identity politics.

This provocative and compelling book traces the demise of academic freedom within the context of changing ideas about the purpose of the university and the nature of knowledge. The book argues that a challenge to this culture of conformity and censorship and a defence of academic free speech are needed for critique to be possible and for the intellectual project of evaluating existing knowledge and proposing new knowledge to be meaningful. This book is that challenge and a passionate call to arms for the power of academic thought today.

About the authors

Joanna Williams is Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Kent, UK and Education Editor for Spiked Online. She has previously published Consuming Higher Education: Why Learning Can't be Bought.

Reviews

"At a time when campuses both in the United States and Britain increasingly see academic freedom under threat both from within and without, we need scholars to provide lucid, clearly written, and scholarly explanations of both where our traditions of academic freedom came from and why they matter so much. Joanna Williams has done precisely that in her new book Academic Freedom in the Age of Conformity. Williams' new book is essential reading for anyone who cares about academic freedom, wants to better understand the threats to it, and how to fight back." - Greg Lukianoff, author of Freedom From Speech and Unlearning Liberty
 
"This is a must read for anyone concerned about the future of freedom inside and outside the university. Joanna Williams provides a compelling account of why academic freedom is in trouble. A powerful but nuanced study of the conformist campus." - Frank Furedi, author, commentator and Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Kent, UK 
 
"A sophisticated history and analysis of the rise and recent fall of academic freedom. Joanna Williams offers an accessible, scholarly account of the assault on reason and free inquiry by identity politics and the denigration of knowledge. Academic culture today combines relativism with an absolute conviction in the validity of subjective truths, Williams explains. What's lost is the moral and epistemological modesty that enables learning and the free exchange of ideas.' - Wendy Kaminer, lawyer, social critic and author of Worst Instincts: Cowardice, Conformity and the ACLU
"At a time when campuses both in the United States and Britain increasingly see academic freedom under threat both from within and without, we need scholars to provide lucid, clearly written, and scholarly explanations of both where our traditions of academic freedom came from and why they matter so much. Joanna Williams has done precisely that in her new book Academic Freedom in the Age of Conformity. Williams' new book is essential reading for anyone who cares about academic freedom, wants to better understand the threats to it, and how to fight back." - Greg Lukianoff, author of Freedom From Speech and Unlearning Liberty

 

"This is a must read for anyone concerned about the future of freedom inside and outside the university. Joanna Williams provides a compelling account of why academic freedom is in trouble. A powerful but nuanced study of the conformist campus." - Frank Furedi, author, commentator and Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Kent, UK 

 

"A sophisticated history and analysis of the rise and recent fall of academic freedom. Joanna Williams offers an accessible, scholarly account of the assault on reason and free inquiry by identity politics and the denigration of knowledge. Academic culture today combines relativism with an absolute conviction in the validity of subjective truths, Williams explains. What's lost is the moral and epistemological modesty that enables learning and the free exchange of ideas.' - Wendy Kaminer, lawyer, social critic and author of Worst Instincts: Cowardice, Conformity and the ACLU

Table of contents (9 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51479-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $100.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51477-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $30.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51478-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity
Book Subtitle
Confronting the Fear of Knowledge
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Critical University Studies
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-51479-0
DOI
10.1057/9781137514790
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-51477-6
Softcover ISBN
978-1-137-51478-3
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VI, 217
Topics