Debating Academic Freedom in India


The presentation considers how academic freedom gets defined in the world’s largest democracy – India. Professor Tierney puts forward what academic freedom is not, and then argue how academic freedom gets defined within the Indian context of the 21st century. Currently, the role of universities in Indian society, in general, and the ability of academic staff (faculty) to speak out on an array of issues, in particular, has become a central concern within India. Tierney’s purpose is neither to side with one or another interpretation of academic freedom but instead to delineate a way to think about academic freedom such that individuals might engage in scholarly debate that neither threatens one’s physical safety nor shuts down conversation.