Global Academic Solidarity Five Years after the Academics for Peace Petition

By Halil Yenigun
Submitted to Session S6699 (Global Academy Workshop - Repercussions of Displacement in the Academy and Beyond, 2021 Annual Meeting
While the 2016 Peace Petition signified the culmination of academic repression during Turkey’s tumultuous era of democratic breakdown, it also revealed the long-simmering global onslaught against academic freedom and free thought. While the growing literature on the rise of global populisms has identified universities and other spaces of free thought and discussion as among the major targets of autocratic leaders’ political agenda, economic transformation and the increasingly precarious status of the academic class have also been noted. In this presentation, I discuss what we can learn from Academics for Peace in their resistance and building of alternative academic spaces while the bleak global situation is marred with unceasing moments of academic repression, both in Turkey and globally. I will also consider the relative weakness of building global solidarity networks and efforts to overcome this challenge, given the extensiveness of the global onslaught against academic autonomy and free thinking.