Academic freedom and the purposes of universities

(Reflections on a talk by Stanley Fish) by Patrick Colm Hogan Academic freedom is an important concept in the United States. Indeed, it is a concept fundamental to our system of higher education. The basic idea of academic freedom is that the purposes of universities are not served if faculty members are intellectually subservient to state or religious doctrine or to public opinion. For example, if physics has to conform to the beliefs of Stalin or biology has to conform to the dictates of Hitler, then neither field will advance intellectually. Academic freedom is therefore of particular concern to faculty … Continue reading Academic freedom and the purposes of universities

Protest and power: The radical imagination

by Henry A. Giroux “This isn’t a student strike, it’s the awakening of society.” — Quebec protest banner In many countries throughout the world, young people are speaking out.[1]  They are using their voices and bodies to redefine the boundaries of the possible and to protest the crushing currents of neoliberal regimes that ruthlessly assert their power and policies through appeals to destiny, political theology, and the unabashed certainty bred of fundamentalist faith. From Paris, Athens, and London to Montreal and New York City, young people are challenging the current repressive historical conjuncture by rejecting its dominant premises and practices. … Continue reading Protest and power: The radical imagination

Zombie functionalism and the return of neo-instrumentality in education

by Danny Weil For decades now, the debate in America over education has swerved back and forth between student testing, teacher accountability, standards, competitiveness and what curriculum should contain. With No Child Left Behind ushered in at the beginning of the George W. Bush presidency, America entered into the cartographic reality and morbid morass of high stakes testing, the location on the chess board where the Wall Street financiers and seedy politicians wanted to put public school education after years of neglect and underfunding.  Why?  For not only is the attack on public education one aimed at destroying teacher unions … Continue reading Zombie functionalism and the return of neo-instrumentality in education

Dangerous pedagogy

by Henry A. Giroux All over the world, the forces of neoliberalism are on the march dismantling the historically guaranteed social provisions provided by the welfare state, defining profit making and market freedoms as the essence of democracy, while diminishing civil liberties as part of the alleged “war” against terrorism. Secure in its dystopian vision that there are no alternatives to a market society, free market fundamentalism eliminates issues of contingency, struggle, and social agency by celebrating the inevitability of economic laws in which the ethical ideal of intervening in the world gives way to the idea that we “have … Continue reading Dangerous pedagogy

Fahrenheit 451 redux

by Henry A. Giroux “The great strength of the totalitarian state is that it forces those who fear it to imitate it…. A violently active, intrepid, brutal youth—that is what I am after… I will have no intellectual training. Knowledge is ruin for my young men.” — Adolf Hitler “They that start by burning books will end by burning men.” – Heinrich Heine Every once in a while events flash before us that might at first seem trivial or commonplace given how in tune they are with the political and ideological temper of the times; but in reality they sometimes … Continue reading Fahrenheit 451 redux