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Academic Freedom$
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Jennifer Lackey

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198791508

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198791508.001.0001

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Beyond Just Silencing

Beyond Just Silencing

A Call for Complexity in Discussions of Academic Free Speech

Chapter:
(p.119) 7 Beyond Just Silencing
Source:
Academic Freedom
Author(s):

Jennifer Saul

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198791508.003.0007

One popular line of thought in the media holds that academic freedom of speech is under threat from politically correct students and universities. In this chapter, it is argued that this debate is enhanced by enriching our range of concepts for thinking about freedom of speech. While silencing is an important concept, it’s a crude tool for thinking through these complex issues. Several new categories are introduced, presenting uncontroversial instances of each before working through how they apply to the more controversial instances that are the main focus. Using this new framework, it is argued that content warnings and the calling out of microaggressions do not present a significant threat to academic freedom of speech. However, there is a legitimate reason that they may appear to do so: the increasingly insecure employment structure of academia means that a wide variety of student preferences can have a damaging effect on pedagogical freedom.

Keywords:   academic freedom, silencing, free speech, content warnings, microaggressions, academic employment, precarity, adjunctification, casualization, trigger warnings

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