Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Free Inquiry at Risk: Universities in Dangerous Times

A Social Research Conference at The New School: Free Inquiry at Risk: Universities in Dangerous Times

Wednesday-Friday, October 29-31, 2008

Rapid globalization, international collaborations, massification, corporate partnerships, increasing number of franchises, regime change, and other conditions of duress are reshaping universities around the world. What are the benefits and what are the risks to academic freedom and free inquiry as universities navigate these trends? This conference will look backward at the role of academic freedom and free inquiry in research universities and forward to what the future may have in store.

This conference will be part of our commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the University in Exile, which was created by Alvin Johnson, the first president of The New School, as a haven for the scholars he rescued from the horrors of Hitler. The University in Exile became the Graduate Faculty of The New School for Social Research and gave birth to our journal, Social Research.

This conference is made possible with generous support from the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts.

Conference Program


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Session I - Founding of The New School and the University in Exile

Academic Freedom, Security Issues and The New School’s Founding Moments (1919 and 1933)
Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University; Former Dean, The New School for Social Research
with remarks: Bob Kerrey, President, The New School


10:00 am - 12:45 pm
Session II - Academic Freedom and the Origins and Role of the Research University

Free Inquiry and the Evolution of the Research University
Akeel Bilgrami, Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy, Director, Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University

How and Why Academic Freedom Became a Canonical Value
Robert M. O'Neil, Director, Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, University of Virginia School of Law; Professor of Law Emeritus, University Professor Emeritus

Who Has Academic Freedom, Who Protects It and Why?
Joan Wallach Scott, Professor in the School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Studies

Academic Freedom and Emerging Research Universities in the Present
Ahmed Bawa, Distinguished Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy, Hunter College, City University of New York; former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Discussion Between Speakers, then Discussion with Audience

Session Moderator: Jonathan Veitch, Associate Professor of Literature and History, Former Dean, Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts

12:45 pm - 2:00 pm BREAK

2:00 pm - 4:45 pm
Session III - Free Inquiry under Conditions of Duress

McCarthyism and Academic Freedom: A Past Threat to the Core Values of the
Ellen W. Schrecker, Professor of History, Yeshiva University

Academic Freedom under Political Duress: Israel and Palestine
Itzhak Galnoor, Herbert Samuel Professor of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Deputy Chair, Israel’s Council on Higher Education; Associate, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
Khalil Shikaki, Director, Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research; Associate Professor of Political Science, Bir Zeit University

Structural Transformation of the Research University: Finance, Context, and Demography
Craig Calhoun, President, Social Science Research Council; University Professor of the Social Sciences, New York University

The Offshore American University: Risk and Uncertainty in The Overseas Market
Arjun Appadurai, John Dewey Distinguished Professor in the Social Sciences, Senior Advisor for Global Initiatives, The New School

Discussion Between Speakers, then Discussion with Audience

Session Moderator: James E. Miller, Chair, Liberal Studies Program, and Professor of Political Science, The New School for Social Research

4:45 pm - 6:00 pm BREAK

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Session IV - Special Event: Conversation with Endangered Scholars from Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Belarus, and China

This panel is designed to provide concrete illustrations of the denial of the right to free inquiry and academic freedom. Four scholars who themselves have been subject to various kinds of persecution and have been prevented from remaining in their academic posts or doing their research will relate their experiences.

Moderator: Aryeh Neier, President, Open Society Institute

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31st, 2008

10:00 am - 12:45 pm
Session V - Institutionalizing Free Inquiry in Universities during Regime Transitions

South Africa
Andre du Toit, Emeritus Professor of Political Studies, University of Cape Town

Deepak Nayyar, Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Merle Goldman, Professor Emerita of History, Boston University

Post-Soviet States
Alfred Stepan, Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government, Director, Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration and Religion, Columbia University; Former Rector, Central European University

Sergei Guriev, Associate Professor, Rector of New Economic School, Russia

Discussion Between Speakers, then Discussion with Audience

Session Moderator: Ronald Kassimir, Associate Provost for Curriculum and Research, The New School

12:45 pm - 2:00 pm BREAK

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Session VI - Free Inquiry and Academic Freedom
A Panel Discussion among Academic Leaders

Robert M. Berdahl, President, Association of American Universities; Former Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley; Former President, University of Texas, Austin

Hanna Holborn Gray, Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emerita, Former President, University of Chicago

Anthony W. Marx, President, Amherst College

Charles M. Vest, President Emeritus and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Joseph W. Westphal, Provost, The New School; Former Chancellor, Professor of Political Science Emeritus, University of Maine; Former Head, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Discussion Between Speakers, then Discussion with Audience

Session Moderator: Bob Kerrey, President, The New School

Tickets may be purchased here.