(Nelson 2010) No university is an island: saving academic freedom

Nelson, Cary. No university is an island: saving academic freedom. New York: New York University Press; 2010.

Cary Nelson writes as a self-described “tenured radical” and president of the AAUP. He explicitly identifies neoliberalism, with its authoritarian, exploitive managerial model of university administration, as the unifying force behind a host of current threats to academic freedom. Faculty and graduate student unionization, as well as public advocacy to increase awareness of the vital importance of academic freedom to the community at large, feature prominently in Nelson’s recommendations for change. He criticizes the legal model of AAUP inquiries into violations of academic freedom, and makes a case for his efforts as president to increase their transparency. He defends the professional concept of academic freedom against attempts by right-wing figures such as David Horowitz to dilute it to a right shared equally by students at all levels, or even by the general public. Nelson supports the faculty right to classroom advocacy, distinguishes it from indoctrination, and more generally advocates a classroom atmosphere of candor.



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Last revision: April 6, 2013