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The Responsibility of Academics for Peace, Justice, and the Public Interest

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University College (Main Building)

15 King's College Circle

Room 140

Toronto, ON M5S 3H7

Canada

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PUBLIC LECTURE

The Responsibility of Academics for Peace, Justice, and the Public Interest:
Academic Freedom and Its Current Discontents

Talk Description:
When academics express their views on intellectual, institutional, or more public matters, they should invite rebuttal, not fear reprisal. Alas, once again today, the possibility of muzzling and menace attend virtually every aspect of academic work and academics’ exercise of their citizens’ rights. Self-censorship, sycophancy, and co-optable careerism are too much in evidence in Canadian universities, despite the protections still afforded by institutional autonomy, shared governance, and academic freedom. In this illustrated talk I will use images, quotations, and analysis first to establish connections linking peace with justice and the public interest. I will then use examples of partnership and provocation originating within campuses but also with governments and corporations, to show how--as part of the shift from the liberal arts to the neoliberal ones, and from the fractious university to the fracked one- academic freedom is being diminished and denied in ways that isolate in order to further endanger peace, justice, and the public interest. I will conclude by arguing that a significant public reinvestment in Canada’s universities is urgently needed, but that reinvestment cannot and should not occur without the resurgence of the undeterrable academic and public intellectual.

Len Findlay
Distinguished University Professor Emeritus
Past Chair, Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee, CAUT
Past President, Academy One, The Royal Society of Canada

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University College (Main Building)

15 King's College Circle

Room 140

Toronto, ON M5S 3H7

Canada

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