Our RINCE colleague Seán Henry is presenting on the themes of academic freedom, conversation, and non-violence at the ‘Educational Conversations’ Seminar Series, University of Winchester this Thursday 14 October 2021. This event is being organised by the Centre of Philosophy of Education and the South Coast Branch of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain. Further details are available below:
Academic Freedom, Conversation and Non-violence
Seán Henry, (AIB Research Centre on Inclusive and Equitable Cultures, Technological University, Dublin)
Thursday 14 October 2021
5.30pm - 7.00pm
Via Microsoft Teams (see information below)
Academic freedom has become increasingly politicised in the context of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Hungary, the United States, and further afield. Polarisations abound, with conflations of academic freedom and freedom of speech on university campuses becoming commonplace. As an intervention to these debates, the purpose of this presentation is to call into the question the alignment of academic freedom with freedom of speech on two grounds: firstly, because the exercise of academic freedom depends on a heteronomous view of subjectivity that is existentially important; and secondly, because the ‘academic’ dimension of academic freedom is significant in shaping how such freedoms are enacted. Developing this second ground more fully, Seán suggests that the academic quality of academic freedom necessarily entails a receptiveness to the purposes of the academy, which Seán situates in a ‘conversational’ mode. Understood in these terms, academic pursuit is tied to the generation of knowledge that arises through conversational modes of exchange that are receptive to the unpredictability of our encounters with the human and other-than-human, and are thus necessarily non-violent. This non-violent dimension can be achieved, Seán claims, through relations of ‘militant humility’ on the part of academics, which he sees as crucial in preserving the democratisation of academic life. Seán concludes with some brief thoughts on how these ideas might translate into our academic practices of reading and writing, before inviting further conversation.
Teams link information
Register your interest with firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link for this online event.