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Beshara Doumani

Beshara Doumani is Professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900 and editor of Family History in the Middle East: Household, Property and Gender.

Titles by This Editor

Edited by Beshara Doumani

Are the attacks on academic freedom after 9/11 a passing storm, or do they represent a structural shift that undermines one of the pillars of democratic societies? This book brings together some of this nation's leading scholars to analyze the challenges to academic freedom posed by post-9/11 political interventions and the market-driven commercialization of knowledge, examining these issues in light of the major transformations in the system of higher education since the Second World War, including conflicting interpretations of what constitutes academic freedom.

Following an analysis of the historical significance of the post-9/11 threats to academic freedom, three strongly argued and not easily reconcilable essays by Robert Post, Judith Butler, and Philippa Strum discuss what visions of academic freedom can be defended and the best strategies for doing so. Three case studies—Kathleen J. Frydl on the loyalty-oath and free-speech controversies at the University of California, Amy Newhall on the tortured relationship between universities and the government as seen in language acquisition programs, and Joel Beinin on the policing of thought in the academy in relation to the Middle East—deepen our understanding of what is at stake.

In clear and powerful prose, these essays provide a solid platform for informed classroom and public discussions on the philosophical foundations, institutional practices, and political dimensions of academic freedom on the threshold of the twenty-first century.