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No University Is an IslandSaving Academic Freedom$
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Cary Nelson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814758595

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814758595.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

What Is Academic Freedom?

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
No University Is an Island
Author(s):

Cary Nelson

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814758595.003.0001

This introductory chapter briefly examines the history of academic freedom in the United States. It highlights how the concept took cultural changes—from developments in science and philosophy, to increased exposure to national differences, to wider commercial contacts—to pave the way for the modern university and its essential freedoms. Academic freedom embodies Enlightenment commitments to the pursuit of knowledge and their adaptation to different social and political realities. The notion and practice started in Germany in the early 19th century through the akademische Freiheit. Transplanting the notion to the United States however encountered difficulties as American universities dismissed employees whenever conflicts arose. The chapter describes the response of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) to arbitrary dismissals and the threat they posed to the faculty's capacity to teach and pursue research in an unhindered fashion and to serve the broader needs of society.

Keywords:   academic freedom, United States, modern university, Enlightenment commitments, Germany, akademische Freiheit, American Association of University Professors, dismissal

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