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Civility, Free Speech and Academic Freedom in Higher Education: Faculty on the Margins

Civility, Free Speech and Academic Freedom in Higher Education: Faculty on the Margins



Civility, Free Speech, and Academic Freedom in Higher Education: Faculty on the Margins represents a multidisciplinary approach, deploying different theoretical, methodological, sociological, political, and creative perspectives to articulate the stakes of civility for marginalized faculty within the landscape of higher education.

How has the discourse on civility and free speech within academia become a systemic and oppressive form of silencing, suppressing, or eradicating marginal voices? What are some overt and covert ways in which institutions are using the logic of civility to control faculty uprising against the increasingly corporate-controlled landscape of higher education? This collection of essays examines the continuum between the post-9/11 and the post-Trump era backlashes. It details the organized retaliations against those in academia whose views and scholarships articulate their discontents against the U.S.-led "War on Terror." It contests the rise of White supremacy, Trump’s Muslim ban, anti-immigrant and racist government policies and rhetoric, and those who support the Boycott and Divestment Sanctions movements within the corporatized universities.

All of these new and original essays shed light and further the debate on the various modes of civility that have become politicized within the U.S. academy. It will have a broad appeal to a cross section of national and international academics, activist scholars, social justice educators and researchers in the field of higher education.



Publication Date





New York, NY


Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Higher Education | Higher Education Administration | Inequality and Stratification | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies


Description and cover image courtesy of Routledge.

Subject Areas

Academic freedom--Social aspects--United States; Minorities in higher education--United States; College teachers--Professional releationships--United States

Author/Editor Bio

Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt is Professor of English at Linfield University. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Minnesota, an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. from the College of St. Catherine.

Kakali Bhattacharya is an award-winning professor at the University of Florida housed in the Research, Evaluation, and Measurement Program.


"This is the book we've been waiting for: a riveting account of the long war on academic freedom, free speech and political dissent in the academy from the standpoint of its heroic victims. Scholars engaged in the most advanced writing and activism around Black Lives Matter, Palestine solidarity, and critiques of U.S. empire testify from the front-lines of the struggle to decolonize higher education. This is the best volume we have yet exposing the sham use of 'civility' discourse to silence those who speak truth to power." -- Bill V. Mullen, Professor Emeritus of American Studies, Purdue University

"When people think of attacks on academic freedom, they typically envision them coming from the far right which has long sought to curtail critical thinking. This powerful and timely anthology shows that in fact the problem is much more structural--the institutional logic of the neoliberal university and its wholesale adoption of "civility" discourse pose a grave threat to free speech and academic freedom. With a focus on how scholars of color who critique structural inequities are disciplined, this book offers an invaluable analysis of the climate today for academics and what we can do to effectively teach, research and organize for social and racial justice." -- Deepa Kumar, Professor of Media Studies Rutgers University

"Civility, Free Speech, and Academic Freedom in Higher Education: Faculty on the Margins reminds us that academic freedom is not free. Dutt-Ballerstadt and Bhattacharya have produced a volume centering faculty and scholars who pay the price as they dare to resist, critique, and unapologetically problematize civility, free speech, and academic freedom. This book reveals how these values are often weaponized against the scholars most committed to realizing their true meaning and disrupting the status quo of brazen inequality within and beyond the academy. Readers will find this book to be a necessary and highly sought resource to generate dialogue, shift discourses, and inform praxis." -- Lori Patton Davis, Professor, The Ohio State University

Civility, Free Speech and Academic Freedom in Higher Education: Faculty on the Margins