There is an intrinsic link between academic freedom, democracy and the rule of law, as they are ultimately, beyond the legal realm, cultural phenomena. The freedom of expression, enquiry, thought and open debate in academia are core values of democratic societies. In some EU member states, scholars, universities and academic institutions face indirect and sometimes even direct pressure. Also, the ongoing European debate about the rule of law and democracy is not just about legal questions but increasingly about academic and cultural beliefs. In some cases, the political sphere tries to occupy all aspects of public discourse, which greatly affects the situation of academics and academia.
In addition, there are other factors that potentially undermine academic freedom, linked to funding and the socio-political role of academics.
How can the institutions in question take action? How may academics work under such direct or indirect pressure? In the light of these questions, re:constitution, in collaboration with our re:constitution Collegium member Matej Avbelj and New University, organises a Seminar on ‘Resisting multiple pressures – Perspectives on Academic Freedom in Europe’ in Ljubljana from 11-12 November 2021. In three main panels the participants will discuss:
1) Academic Freedom under Pressure: Case Studies from Hungary, Slovenia and Turkey;
2) Academic Freedom in a Broader Context – Funding, Digitalization, Globalization Dynamics and Shifting Socio-Political Roles of Academics in Europe, and
3) Developing Solutions and Creating Opportunities to Protect Academic Freedom in Europe.
Here you can find the complete Programme. Please register by sending an E-Mail to reconstitution(at)trafo-berlin.de until Tuesday, 9 November 2021 to follow the Seminar online. You will then receive the login details ahead of the event.
Áine Fellenz, student research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg followed the seminar and reported about it for the latest edition of Recht und Zugang. She reflects on the presentations and discussions from the seminar and argues for a stronger conceptualization of the term academic freedom to have a clear picture of the multifaceted attacks on academic freedom in Europe and how to tackle them.