FREE INQUIRY AT RISK: Universities in Dangerous Times Part II / Vol. 76, No. 3 (Fall 2009)
Arien Mack, Editor
Endangered Scholars Worldwide
The issue contains the proceedings of the twentieth Social Research conference, which continued the journal’s celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of its founding and of the founding of the University in Exile at The New School.
PART I: KEYNOTE ADDRESS
We are here to celebrate multiple occasions: the anniversary of a great institution, an outstanding individual, and a special affinity -between the United States and Germany- at our best moments, an affinity in intellectual achievement, an affinity for defending freedom and, when oppressed giving it a refuge.
The article presents a speech by Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, delivered at the 75th anniversary of the University in Exile of the New School for Social Research, February 19, 2009, in which she discussed Alvin Johnson, the founder of the New School, Jewish scholars who found refuge there in the 1930s, and the academic intolerance of the Nazis.
PART II: THE FUTURE OF UNIVERSITIES AND THE FATE OF FREE INQUIRY AND ACADEMIC FREEDOM
The article introduces this special issue of the magazine which commemorates the 75th anniversary of the founding of the University in Exile by the New School for Social Research. The central focus of the article is the future of the university, the state of academic freedom and the future of free inquiry. The author examines a number of issues including papers presented in this edition of the journal including reports on political correctness, anti-intellectual movements and state authoritarianism.
Contrary to what the title of this section suggests, I believe this time for free inquiry and academic freedom at European universities has rarely been present than at present; that at the debates and results arising from independent scientific discourse have rarely had a better chance of blossoming and evoking a response than in the time in which we now live; and that the basic rules of university and scholarly work in general are, by no means, seriously threatened in Europe -especially when compared with many other regions of the world.
In this article the author discusses a number of issues regarding academic freedom. Focusing on German colleges and universities the author states that the threat to academic freedom, the freedom of research, and the freedom to teach is greater in the United States than in Europe. Also under discussion is academic specialization, personal and state protection of academic freedom and the author's sense that academic institutions are undergoing a period of global change. The author warns against overspecialization.
In this article the author discusses aspects of academic freedom. The central focus of the article is on the author's contention American colleges and universities have been subject to attempts to repress free inquiry and to silence dissents at various times in their history. Special emphasis is placed on the threat to academic freedom in the U.S. during the presidency of George W. Bush. Among other issues the author examines the refusal of visas to controversial foreign scholars and other academics.
In this article the author examines issues surrounding free inquiry and academic freedom in the United States. The central focus of the article is the author's contention that inquiry is a condition invented and maintained by human activity. Among other issues the article examines threats to free inquiry coming from the right and left wing of the political spectrum and from ignorance. The author explores the nature of intellectuals and intellectual discussion, and the danger contained in public opinion.
In this article the author reflects on the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the university in exile by the New School for Social Research. It is explained that the effort was founded to aid Jewish scholars who were refugees from the Nazi regime in Germany. The central focus of the article is the author's contention that universities and scholars need to be vigilant in safeguarding academic freedoms in the future. Among other issues the article examines the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989.
PART III: UNIVERSITIES UNDER CONDITIONS OF DURESS
In this article the author provides a brief introduction to a section of the journal. Provided is a personal narrative of the author's experience of researching in East Germany under communist rule. He states that he had ample experience of the bureaucracy and ideology that was manifest in East Germany. The author offers reasons why he supports the Bologna process, a proposal that would establish a European area of higher education by making standards and academic degrees more compatible and comparable.
In this article the author examines aspects of academic freedom and the central public mission in the university. The central focus of the article is on the freedom of scholars from censorship or from attempts to exert a degree of control over their researches. In addition, the article examines the role of the university functioning as an institution that commits to the freedom of inquiry. Among other issues the article examines the late 19th and early 20th century reorganization of the university.
In this article the author examines issues related to the future of the university curriculum. The central focus of the article is the author's contention that to a significant degree universities and colleges are to blame for their inability to respond to external pressures. In addition, the author argues that universities and other institutions of higher education are unable to confront the issues that most occupy society today. The author takes to task universities for not addressing basic social injustices.
In this article the author examines the notion that difficulties promote active and valid thought, while comfort is an enemy of thought. The central focus of the article is the author's contention that ease can be antithetical to intellectual progress. Among other issues the author examines the relevant writings of political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill, an English philosopher. Also raised are questions surrounding an ideal university, the rights of citizens and the benefits bestowed on guilds.
Presented are questions and answers concerning colleges and universities in times of difficulty including university governance and its relationship to markets, a question related to academic solidarity and a conception of an ideal institution of higher learning.
PART IV: MARX THROUGH THE EYES OF AN EAST EUROPEAN INTELLECTUAL
I am afraid all that can be said of Karl Marx has already been written. What I can add to this great body of literature is the specific vantage point from which I view Marx's work. What I shall convey is not some collective statement of the East European intelligentsia, but my individual story. But I should add that my own story is typical in many respects. Many phases of my life, if not the whole of it, could stand for similar phases in the lives of others. I hope this will apply when I relate what my ideas in relation to Marx were at various stages in my individual life (and of history, by which my life was deeply affected.