HISTORY 491 - Topics in History: HistoryLabs II
Section: 002 The Politics of Academic Freedom in the 20th Century: U-M and the Left and Right in the State of Michigan
Term: FA 2020
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Can faculty decline to write letters of recommendations for students on grounds other than the students’ scholarly performance?

Should white nationalist Richard Spencer be permitted to speak on campus?

Does heckling an invited speaker violate their rights or the freedom of students to discuss the speaker’s ideas?

In this course we will explore questions such as these touching on core values of academic freedom and freedom of speech and see that they have a long history at the University of Michigan.

The meaning and applicability of academic-freedom and freedom of speech standards—however much we prefer to trust in them as cherished ideals—typically come into dispute amid definite social and political contexts and strains. Here, we are most concerned with the contemporary political conditions in the state of Michigan insofar as they had an impact on developments at U-M. As we inquire into definitions of academic freedom and freedom of speech over time, this course offers students the opportunity to engage in collaborative research regarding one of five noted episodes in U-M’s twentieth-century history, moments when official disciplinary action penalized (or was suspected of penalizing) U-M students or faculty for their involvement in leftwing political protest. Most of your effort over the course of the term will consist of hands-on, teamed-based work focusing on archival material available from U-M’s Bentley Library (either through in-person explorations or digitally provided material) or other primary sources (such as the digitized Michigan Daily). The final product of our endeavors will be a publicly available web-based presentation of our historical research.

Course Requirements:

Collaborative work with archival and other material to prepare public presentations of historical research.

Class Format:

Research seminar

HISTORY 491 - Topics in History: HistoryLabs II
Schedule Listing
002 (SEM)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
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