MLA 2021 Collaborative Session: Academic Autonomy in Illiberal Times

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    Jessie M. Labov

    We are looking for one more panelist in this session being proposed for next year\’s MLA. It would be a collaboration between the Hungarian and Slavic/EE fora. Titls/short abstracts to Jessie Labov ( by April 5th.

    Academic Autonomy in Illiberal Times: Although the right to academic freedom faces challenges all over the world, the combination of political pressures from illiberal governments, privatization of state universities, and competition for foreign students in a global marketplace is pushing higher education institutions in Central/Eastern Europe to critical levels of dysfunction. The daily confrontation with uncertainty about the future has paralyzed basic administrative functions, grantseekers, and accreditation processes all over the region. In Hungary, beyond the widely reported events such as the forceful expulsion of Central European University to Vienna and the state capture of the Academy of Sciences, a new national high school curriculum has recently been introduced that drops Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertesz from the list of required readings and introduces three obscure nationalist populist authors from the early twentieth century.

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