The American Association of University Professors’ Journal of Academic Freedom is calling for papers that “critically examine attempts at thought control by the Right, the whitewashing of historical narratives, and specific assaults on academic freedom that cut across the K–12 and higher education sectors.”
The AAUP alleges the catalyst for right-wing “assaults” is the “recent upsurge in white ethnonationalism” in the U.S. where conservative activists have “attempted to reenergize white-settler narratives of the nation’s founding while vilifying histories that call attention to slavery, oppression, and dispossession.”
The organization particularly desires submissions about the 1619 Project and “the sabotaged hiring of Nikole Hannah-Jones,” “strategies for truthful pedagogies and content on racism, racial inequality, and oppression” and “attacks on Black history and CRT [critical race theory] and ethnic and gender studies.”
Contributors might examine rhetorical tactics by conservative activists or media that flip terminology and weaponize it against scholarly standards and academic freedom. This mechanism is evident in the various claims that CRT is reverse racism and therefore serves as a pretext to insist that educators yield to a “color-blind” logic that precludes teaching about racism. …
Countries with histories of colonial violence and state-sponsored terrorism, or that suffered other types of totalitarian regimes, have developed intellectually rich debates and robust legislations about the role of the state in memorializing the victims of oppressive forces. The most salient examples are to be found throughout Europe, where Holocaust denial is penalized in several legislations. These antidenial laws offer a good framework to compare and contrast how other countries have tackled their own legacies of oppression and the memory of freedom fighters and what recent Spanish legislation has termed “memoria democrática” (democratic memory). How might we contrast memory laws that prohibit denial of historical traumas and bring more equity and inclusion to historical narratives, such as Spain’s, with memory laws that explicitly minimize or deny historical events and exclude voices from historical narratives?
Regarding the latter point, the AAUP issued a letter in June supporting CRT noting the “clear goal” of state legislative anti-CRT efforts “is to suppress teaching and learning about the role of racism in the history of the United States.”
However, National Association of Scholars President Peter Wood said the letter was “a combination of truisms and excuse-making for the introduction of tendentious and destructive ideologies” in courses.
“A challenge that now faces Americans is that a new wave of contentious ideology has found favor among many educators who seek to introduce it under the guise of established fact or well-established opinion,” he added.
Wood noted the problem with CRT is that it blames white racism for practically every malady faced by minority groups, and is presented “as the sole idea that enlightened and morally upright people should recognize as valid.”
IMAGE: fizkes / Shutterstock.com