Malini Johar Schueller, Prof. of English at the University of Florida, and Ashley Dawson, Prof. of English at the Graduate Center, CUNY, discuss (via video conference) their research into threats to academic freedom and political dissent on US campuses in the aftermath of 9/11. Taking their cue from Edward Said’s challenge that academics must be engaged public intellectuals and viewing campuses as historically sites of radical democracy, Dawson and Schueller insist that production of knowledge in the academy cannot be de-coupled from questions of social justice. Their talk foregrounds various ways in which academic freedom, the necessary prerequisite for a socially and publicly engaged academia, is being curbed on our campuses today. In various ways US colleges and universities are being closed off as spaces where alternatives to the free market and bellicose nationalism could be explored, instead being reorganized around national security priorities.
Profs. Schueller and Dawson have authored numerous books and co-edited several collections of essays, including Exceptional State: Contemporary U.S. Culture and the New Imperialism (Duke, 2007) and Dangerous Professors: Academic Freedom and the National Security Campus (U of Michigan P, 2009).
The presentation/discussion was facilitated by Nonstop Working Members Iveta Jusova and Dan Reyes.