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ERIC Number: EJ1070785
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0748-8475
The New McCarthyism in Academe
Schrecker, Ellen
Thought & Action, p103-118 Fall 2005
Ellen Schrecker is professor of history at Yeshiva University. Recognized as one of the nation's leading experts on McCarthyism, she has published many books and articles on the subject. Here she writes that while it would be difficult to deny that America's colleges and universities are under siege at the moment, it is hard to tell whether they are facing a replay of the academic freedom violations of the McCarthy era. Shrecker asserts in this article that although it is unlikely we will see an exact replay of the anticommunist furor that roiled the nation's campuses during the early Cold War, external forces are currently challenging the traditional freedom and autonomy of American higher education. Inspired by a cohort of dedicated activists, many politicians, talk-show hosts, and ordinary citizens are questioning both the mission of today's universities and the political affinities of their faculties. While heads have yet to roll, intellectual freedom faces challenges that seem all too familiar to students of the McCarthy era. Caution is raised of a very real danger that external groups and individuals will, as they did in the 1950s, impose political tests for employment on the nation's faculties. Moreover, unlike those earlier attacks on the academy, the ones today not only threaten people's jobs, but also endanger the professional autonomy and intellectual integrity of the entire academic community. The article warns that unless steps are taken to balance university faculties with members who both support and oppose American foreign policy, the very purpose of free speech and academic freedom will have been defeated. The argument is made that the vigorous and open debate that is supposed to flourish at colleges and universities cannot exist without faculty members who can speak for divergent points of view.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A