Academic freedom is under siege, as our universities become the sites of increasingly fraught battles over freedom of speech. While much of the public debate has focussed on 'no platforming' by students, this overlooks the far graver threat posed by concerted efforts to silence the critical voices of both academics and students, through the use of bureaucracy, legal threats and online harassment. Such tactics have conspicuously been used, with particularly virulent effect, in an attempt to silence academic criticism of Israel.
This collection uses the controversies surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a means of exploring the limits placed on academic freedom in a variety of different national contexts. It looks at how the increased neoliberalisation of higher education has shaped the current climate, and considers how academics and their universities should respond to these new threats. Bringing together new and established scholars from Palestine and the wider Middle East as well as the US and Europe, Enforcing Silence shows us how we can and must defend our universities as places for critical thinking and free expression.
David Landy is a lecturer in sociology and the director of the MPhil in Race, Ethnicity and Conflict at Trinity College Dublin. He is the author of Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel (Zed 2011).
Ronit Lentin is a retired associate professor of sociology at Trinity College Dublin. Her other books include Thinking Palestine (Zed 2008), Co-Memory and Melancholia: Israelis Memorialising the Palestinian Nakba (2010), and Traces of Racial Exception: Racializing the Israeli Settler Colonialism (2018).
Conor McCarthy is a lecturer in the School of English at Maynooth University. His other books include The Cambridge Introduction to Edward Said (2010) and The Revolutionary and Anti-Imperialist Writings of James Connolly (2016).