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ERIC Number: EJ788574
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0010-096X
Academic Freedom as a Rhetorical Construction: A Response to Powers and Chaput
Abraham, Matthew
College Composition and Communication, v59 n3 p512-518 Feb 2008
M. Karen Powers and Catherine Chaput's ""Anti-American Studies" in the Deep South: Dissenting Rhetorics, the Practice of Democracy, and Academic Freedom in Wartime Universities" begins a much needed discussion about the current and ongoing assaults against academic freedom in American universities, which have not received adequate treatment within the professional journals in the last six years. As a welcome corrective to this absence of commentary and critique, Powers and Chaput effectively employ Fredric Jameson's provocative conception of the political unconscious to trace the ways in which academic freedom has been curtailed for those scholars pursuing lines of argument and inquiry that contextualize, explore, problematize, and challenge central tenets of U.S. foreign policy and the imperial past upon which it is based. Academic freedom is typically viewed as the defining feature of university life, providing researchers with the protection to do important work within an environment where knowledge production and truth--wherever these may lead--are valued above all else. Coercive tactics, threats against one's livelihood, and political intimidation are viewed as being anathema to the conditions of possibility for academic freedom's flourishing; however, every academic knows these unfortunate things exist within the corporatized university. Powers and Chaput's timely essay forces a recognition of how powerful and overwhelming the cultural and political forces at home in a time of war can truly be, silencing even the most intrepid social critic and forcing her to half-heartedly utter patriotic shibboleths so as not to be recognized as "an enemy in our midst." The political unconscious that Powers and Chaput describe goes a long way in explaining why so many remain silent in such desperate times. (Contains 6 notes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site: http://www.ncte.org/journals
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States