Zealotry and Academic Freedom

Overview

Zealotry and Academic Freedom began with the author's personal experience with suppression of academic speech and obstacles to the pursuit of academic quality. Using his own tumultuous experience as a starting point, Hamilton explores how significant efforts to create an autonomous space for academic speech within the university over the past 125 years have been thwarted.

Hamilton charges that a fundamentalist academic left in some humanities and social science faculties views ...

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Overview

Zealotry and Academic Freedom began with the author's personal experience with suppression of academic speech and obstacles to the pursuit of academic quality. Using his own tumultuous experience as a starting point, Hamilton explores how significant efforts to create an autonomous space for academic speech within the university over the past 125 years have been thwarted.

Hamilton charges that a fundamentalist academic left in some humanities and social science faculties views the exercise of standards of academic quality and merit-based performance evaluations as tools of oppression and bigotry. Academic zealots ferret out and oppose hidden structures of so-called oppression in our "Eurocentric" culture. Any faculty member overtly supporting academic quality is thus suspected of bigotry and subject to investigations.

The opening portion of the book locates similarities with the religious fundamentalism of the nineteenth century in waves of zealotry in American higher education. The first part covers student activism in the 1960s through the emergence of a radical academic left in the early 1990s. The second part examines the meaning of academic freedom and the protection of expression that should be secured. The third and final portion shows how targets of the coercive tactics of the zealots in any period of zealotry can, and have been effectively rebuked, and ultimately overcome.

Neil Hamilton's book will generate controversy, particularly the chapters that inquire into the current wave of academic suppression. Hamilton warns that "history instructs that it can happen here." This candid look into the politics of higher education will be gripping reading for all those concerned with the future of education: professors, administrators, students, and parents. There has been a growing literature on this subject, but none cover the legal-political aspects of political correctness with such precision.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The author surveyed six waves of attacks on academic freedom, 1870-1970, and shows that a series occurs roughly every 15 to 20 years… Clearly and objectively written, with detailed documentation… Required reading for all interested in higher education.”

—E. E. Beauregard,Choice

"We have long been in need of an up-to-date and thorough historical and analytical study of the assaults on academic freedom—and here it is. I recommend it strongly to all concerned."

—C. Vann Woodward, Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765804181
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1997
  • Pages: 420
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil Hamilton is Trustees Professor of Regulatory Policy at William Mitchell College of Law. He is the author of Zealotry and Academic Freedom, also available from Transaction.

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