blog | werkgroep caraïbische letteren

Costs of academic freedom

Two resignations and a cancellation campaign

There are still people who deny that ‘culture wars’ exist or that academic freedom is in danger. Some of those who say this are in a position to know better. Universities do not always defend their staff: indeed, too often they abet the attackers. Here are three disturbing recent cases.

Professor J.P.E Harper-Scott, Professor of Music History and Theory at Royal Holloway, University of London, has decided after sixteen years in the Music Department to leave academia and begin a new career.

For the three cases in full, turn to the History Reclaimed website, October 8, 2021.

Pillory./ A wooden framework on a post, with holes for the head and hands, 
in which offenders were formerly locked to be exposed to public 
scorn as punishment. [photo by Aart G. Broek]

Elizabeth Weiss: “…I have been the target of a constant cancellation attack for the last 10 months. It started with attacking and trying to get my book banned (an effort that half of my colleagues encouraged), then it moved to deplatforming my Society for American Archaeology talk. Recently, it involved over 1,200 comments on Twitter regarding my op-ed in the Mercury News. I was reported to Twitter and investigated in Germany due to the tweet regarding my op-ed. Finally, it’s an attack on a genuine photo that celebrates our collection, my admiration for the collection, and my joy at being able to do my job. After your strong statement regarding academic freedom, I am disappointed that you were not courageous enough — as those reporting on me — to talk to me first, to have a rational discussion about these occurrences.”

To read the exchange of letters in full, and for other information, see

Lees ook ‘Hoe “woke” zich in onze universiteiten nestelt.’

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