Academic freedom and free speech in a time of 'terror'

ERI 224
Tuesday 3 October 2017 (14:00-16:00)

Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Seminar Series 2017/18

  • Speaker: Professor Alison Scott-Baumann (SOAS)
  • Title: Academic freedom and free speech in a time of 'terror': conducting our research under pressure

 Tuesday 3 October 2017, 14:00-16:00 in ERI 224. All welcome!

Universities are widely perceived to be symbols and guardians of the values of liberal democracy (Collini, 2012). However, whether or not academic freedom and freedom of expression in HEIs are being ‘chilled’ is much debated (Docherty, 2011). These rights form the core value of HEIs in England, France and Norway, but face powerful, yet different, pressures and remain remarkably under-researched (Barendt, 2010). The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 requires universities to have “due regard” to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism (known as the ‘Prevent duty’). It requires HEIs to have “particular regard” to the duties “to ensure freedom of speech” and “to the importance of academic freedom” when carrying out the guidance to the Act (Scott-Baumann, 2017). My research involves investigating whether this ‘particular regard’, which is stronger in law than ‘due regard’, is in fact being taken seriously enough and what that would mean for research.

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