n South African Journal of Higher Education - Academic freedom and the university : fifty years of debate

Volume 20, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Contemporary debates about academic freedom and institutional autonomy in South Africa's 'liberal' universities began in the 1950s, stimulated by the policies and legislation for racial segregation. While the form that these debates had taken has differed from university to university, the University of Cape Town stands as a good case study for the arguments and counterarguments that have been made through the years. In this essay, I trace these arguments from the middle of the last century through to the present, and show that different positions remain unreconciled, suggesting in turn a lack of consensus about the role of the university in contemporary South African society.

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