In the essay by Stanley Fish, entitled, “Academic Cross-Dressing”, he presents historical arguments on the subject of academic freedom on the college level. These freedoms are an incredibly important subject within our educational system. The article states his position as one that is pro freedom regardless of content or previous thought. That is to say the importance of learning is how to think out the importance of what you think. It is my firm belief that education, particularly in the college arena, should be focused on teaching not only subjects of interest but also interesting thought. Throughout my essay we will look into the subject of “teaching the controversy” and academic freedom within our college system.
Academic freedom is power. Not implied, not suggested but truly one of the most leveraged assets one can have. In the category of education there is typically more freedom than constraints in our country. Writers, theologians, professors, students and even publishers wield incredible power. What comes from this environment is problematic and a success story. One reason why our country has the best engineers is that we teach students to ask not only why, but why not.
Many students would state that the era of the 1960’s was the birth place of educational free thinking. History teachers would argue otherwise. The subject is not a left or right position. The subject is used to promote a left or right or center agenda at times. So in some ways academic freedom, or at least the subject of free thinking, has been high-jacked by those with power in order to promote a position or at the very least introduce it. This is not a new idea. It may be the fact that the 1960’s was the time of more lenient over site of college faculty. This new freer attitude within teaching was an opportunity for professors and the like, to engage students with subject matter they had never heard of. Without discussing whether a wrong has been committed. I would rather delve into what is a “rightful freedom” within college academia.
As Fish relates, “the unwarranted conclusion that judgment should therefore be dethroned” (533) and is a subplot to the wider perspective of why the student is in the classroom to being with. Learning has always had its challenges and it always will. After all, the focus of the student and the focus of the professor are by default never the same. Naturally a conclusion would be an infinite number of battles dealing with the subject of what is morally, ethically or even historically correct. Instead the focus should be on the freedom of teaching. We can assume since college students have been admitted they have the ability to determine what is far left or far right. Since this statement is also faulty it leaves us in the position of determining a more important implication. Can implied directives from a professor influence a student to take a position on a subject that conflicts with his or her original beliefs? And if so,...