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This content is taken from the University of Oslo & Scholars at Risk's online course, Dangerous Questions: Why Academic Freedom Matters. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds Welcome to week one. Academic freedom is a principle that protects scholars and students when they ask sensitive or dangerous questions. This week, we’re going to start with what academic freedom means and its history. We will see that the idea of academic freedom evolved from higher education traditions all over the world. We will then explore two views of academic freedom that draw on that history– a traditional, narrower view of academic freedom, and the broader contemporary view, which is also referred to as the socially-engaged view of academic freedom. Of course, academic freedom is only one of the core values of higher education. We’ll talk about the other values and how they’re related to academic freedom.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 seconds We will also look at whether academic freedom is a human right. What do you think? Our answer is yes, but only sometimes. We will talk about what sometimes means. We will also explore the differences between academic freedom and the general human rights of freedom of expression, sometimes called freedom of speech. We will explore how it is sometimes difficult to know where to draw the line between academic freedom and free expressions. We will do some exercises to help you decide. Finally, we’ll discuss a question that is even more important than where is the line, that is, who decides? Who decides where academic freedom ends?

Skip to 1 minute and 39 seconds This question has a lot to do with what questions are safe and what questions might be too dangerous to ask. Thank you for joining us. Now, let’s get started.

Introduction to Week 1

Welcome to Week 1!

In this video, we introduce the core topics of the coming week, including:

-the history of academic freedom

-two views about what academic freedom protects

-how to draw a line between academic freedom and free expression, and

-who decides is where that line is?

Good luck!

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This video is from the free online course:

Dangerous Questions: Why Academic Freedom Matters

University of Oslo

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