Tenure Matters: An Historian’s Perspective

This paper juxtaposes (i) the findings of the 2006 Modern Language Association Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion with (ii) the story that Alvin Kernan tells -- in his professorial memoir In Plato’s Cave (1999) -- about his pursuit of tenure at Yale in the 1950s and early 1960s to advance the view that “tenure” is best understood as a practice defined by a set of protocols that have been created and elaborated over time.

The Personal Ethics of Academic Freedom: Problems of Knowledge and Democratic Competence

The following essay takes up Robert Post’s influential account of academic freedom in order to consider the role of personal ethics in practices surrounding academic freedom. The essay begins by outlining and proposing some revisions of Post’s account. It then considers three topics that are connected with academic freedom: the responsibilities of academics in extramural speech; in professional evaluation of research; and, finally, in tenure decisions.


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