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Who's Afraid of Academic Freedom?$
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Akeel Bilgrami and Jonathan Cole

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231168809

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231168809.001.0001

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Academic Freedom and the Boycott of Israeli Universities

Academic Freedom and the Boycott of Israeli Universities

(p.275) 13 Academic Freedom and the Boycott of Israeli Universities
Who's Afraid of Academic Freedom?

Stanley Fish

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the relationship between academic freedom and the academic boycott politics surrounding Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands. It begins with a discussion of the five schools of academic freedom: the “it's just a job” school, the “for the common good” school, the “for uncommon beings” or “academic exceptionalism” school, the “academic freedom as critique” school, and the “academic freedom as training for revolution” school. It then considers the case of the poster boy for the fifth school, Denis Rancourt, a physics professor at the University of Ottawa who was dismissed from his position for practicing what he calls “academic squatting.” It also discusses the arguments surrounding the boycott of Israeli universities and what each of the five schools mentioned above would say about the boycott. The chapter argues that the academy is a relatively narrow and isolated enterprise whose pursuits must not be contaminated by larger political struggles.

Keywords:   academic freedom, boycott politics, Israel, academic exceptionalism, Denis Rancourt, University of Ottawa, academic squatting, boycott, universities, academy

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