UNIVERSITY AND FREEDOM
Univerzity a svoboda
Nothing typifies our era more than the trembling and transformation of many social institutions that we have perceived within a continuum transcending the horizon of one human life. Nothing is more connected with the development and self-awareness of the Euro-American civilisation than universities. While teachers and books sometimes burned at the stakes, over time universities became islands spreading free thinking, knowledge and competences permeating the entire society, in effect turning into one of the cornerstones of the democratic culture.
Along with the commercialisation and massification of education came new challenges that affect both practical and symbolic levels of the functioning of universities, from particulars of teaching and research to self-government to the system as a whole. How do universities fare trying to maintain academic freedoms, which are the spring of many aspects of freedom in general? What are the challenges they face? What consequences does their failure entail? Can we identify them and respond to them adequately?
This essay involving a strong personal story of one of the co-authors – also a teacher in one of the oldest film schools of the world – transverses the key topics that affect tertiary education the world over. This is even more perceivable in Central Europe whose institutions are weakened by the discontinuity of democratic culture.
Zuzana Piussi & Vít Janeček
Political regimes and conflicts