Academic Freedom In the Age of Social Media

by Kevin Currie-Knight


David Labaree (Professor Emeritus, Stanford University) and I talk about the history and meaning of academic freedom. We discuss whether there ever has been a “golden age” where academics were safe to be heterodox (no), and what academic freedom means in an age of social media and the in-group policing it fosters.

00:00:32​ – David’s Life as a (Newly) Retired Academic and Kevin’s Life as a Grinding Academic 00:04:49​ – The European Origins of (and the Reasons Behind) Academic Freedom 11:14:58 – Academic Tenure Comes About at Stanford University 00:19:32​ – Academic Conformity and Why David is Concerned About Two Types of Academics 00:34:29​ – A Tension Between Academic Freedom and University Brand-Consciousness 00:44:25​ – When Academics Tweet 00:52:56​ – Should We Redesign a More Robust Academic Freedom? Can We?


3 responses to “Academic Freedom In the Age of Social Media”

  1. Just to clarify: there is no faculty governance anymore.

  2. This discussion especially his description of collecting merits and demerits and the importance in the community is concerning. It seems in a peer system merits will be more about who you know than what you know. Perhaps the double blind system of peer review could be an answer. I am not sure how workable or common that is.

    I also wonder why so many universities are going for the woke brand. Wouldn’t some universities benefit from having a brand that resists wokeness? It seems the population generally are not so enthralled with having these woke views forced on us. Is there something distorting the market?

  3. Marc Levesque

    Very interesting exchange for me, from start till finish, I like the 60 minutes format too.