CFP: Academic Freedom

This year, the AAUP will publish a special issue of The Journal of Academic Freedom examining the concept and reality of academic freedom today.  Submissions of up to 8,000 words are due by the end of the month. The details below come directly from the CFP.


The goofy logo of Turning Point USA, comprised of students who are mad that they don’t get to spout racist baloney on class anymore. The organization’s call for student to report professors who are “leftist” resulted in the self-report of thousands of professors, aided by the AAUP, who know enough about history to understand the value of free speech and the dangers of ideological witch hunts.


For its next volume, scheduled for publication in fall 2017, the AAUP’s Journal of Academic Freedom seeks scholarly articles exploring the status of academic freedom as concept and reality today. We will consider any essay on this topic but are especially interested in the following:

  • We continue to welcome nuanced articulations of the challenges for academic freedom in an era of globalization. To what extent is the concept of academic freedom dependent upon the emergence of the nation-state and the existence of a liberal consensus? What problems does the concept face under the neoliberal and transnational conditions of the twenty-first century? How did the end of the Cold War affect our understanding of academic freedom?
  • As increasing numbers of faculty are disciplined and even fired for their behavior, we need new analyses of the vexed relationship between “civility” and academic freedom. Academic freedom exists in large part to ensure that the professoriate can address contested issues; for them to do so, colleges and universities must be able to accommodate a high degree of tension. Charged phrases, heightened emotion, embarrassing and uncomfortable acknowledgements of power differentials (such as those between administration and faculty or those between tenured and contingent faculty)—all these are not just likely but inevitable when confronting difficult, pressing issues. How do we distinguish legitimate concerns regarding faculty speech and body language from those that intentionally or inadvertently stifle academic freedom?
  • We are interested in essays that explore the relationship between economics and academic freedom. What material circumstances are required for us to say with confidence that academic freedom exists in any particular setting? What percentage of today’s faculty can claim these circumstances? What role do unions, the tenure system, and shared governance play in securing these circumstances? Analyses might approach the economics of academic freedom from many angles and in many contexts.

Electronic submissions of no more than 8,000 words should be sent to by Tuesday, January 31, 2017 and must include an abstract of about 150 words. The journal uses the sixteenth edition of the Chicago Manual of Style and authors should anticipate that, if an article is accepted for publication, it will need to be put into Chicago style. More about the Journal.

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