International Society for History Didactics

Statement on Academic Freedom 

The International Society for History Didactics is concerned by the increasing disparagement of scientific inquiry and scholarship by state actors and interest groups in the global arena. We view these developments as a direct threat to scholarly communities across the globe. Democracy and the constitutional state in the contemporary world depends on the academic freedoms that follow.

 Academic freedom consists of a body of rights, not fully written into law but all well established in custom and grounded in traditions long standing in the colleges and universities, designed to protect professional scholars and teachers from hazards that might interfere with the obligations to pursue truth. The justification of academic freedom is that it is indispensable to the scholar in the preservation, extension, and dissemination of knowledge. Though it is a specific kind of freedom peculiar to members of the teaching profession and scholars in higher education, its benefits ultimately accrue as much to the public at large as the scholars themselves.

Our society was established for the common good. The common good depends upon free substantiated scholarly debate, the free search for truth, and its free exposition. Pluralistic democracy and the constitutional state depends on this particular common good.

Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to both teaching and research. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom in its teaching aspects is fundamental for the protection of the teacher in teaching and of the student in learning.