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Forum 42:

Scholars at Risk: What Are the Obligations of Universities?

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Held Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Forum Summary

This lecture will address the question of what universities owe to those who have lost their academic positions as a result of political persecution and forced exile. Professor Butler will suggest that increasing numbers of scholars suffer threat and retaliation, displacement and detention, by virtue of dissenting political opinions or by participating in fields that have become controversial.  The politics of the academy has changed now that "academic freedom" is defended by those who seek protection from others who claim "academic freedom" for themselves.  How do we understand the volatile character of political censorship of and by universities, and how, in the present global landscape, do we begin to understand the new obligations imposed by universities not only to receive scholars at risk, but to practice an interventionist ethic to curb censorship, the attack on gender studies, and the expulsion of those whose research or extra-curricular speech constitutes a "threatening" form of political dissent?

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