New Online Journal From AAUP Will Focus on Academic Freedom

January 26, 2010

The American Association of University Professors has started an online journal focused on academic freedom. The first issue of The AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom made its appearance this week.

It is the first journal entirely devoted to the subject, according to the AAUP, and will offer a place "to track the developing international discussion about academic freedom and its collateral issues," such as collective bargaining and shared governance.

Cary Nelson, the organization's longtime president, serves as the journal's editor. Mr. Nelson, a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, solicited the essays for this issue, but the next "will be conventionally refereed," according to a note on the journal's Web site.

The first round of essays mixes historical and contemporary subjects. Some of the selections: Larry Gerber examines "Professionalization as the Basis for Academic Freedom and Faculty Governance," Phillip Deery recalls an academic-freedom case from the McCarthy era, Ernst Benjamin looks at what the dwindling number of tenured faculty members means for organizational effectiveness, Dan Colson contributes a piece on graduate students and academic freedom, and Ellen Schrecker analyzes the Ward Churchill case. Some conference proceedings are also included.

Mr. Nelson also contributed an essay to the first issue. "The Last Indian Standing: Shared Governance in the Shadow of History" is his personal "investigative project" into academic freedom at Barone College, in Oklahoma. He focuses on how the institution, founded in the late 19th century with a mission of educating American Indians, has treated its Native American faculty and staff members.

"The new Bacone story is about the continuing historical legacy of the Trail of Tears," Mr. Nelson writes. "It is about a new form of Native American removal, about treaty betrayals reborn as betrayals of mission."

The AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom is available online free of charge and is paid for by the AAUP's Academic Freedom Fund. It will be published once or twice a year, depending on the quality of the material it receives, and it invites submissions, according to the Web site.