Paper Titles, The SBL, Academic Slavery, and Censorship

Roland Boer is something of a trouble maker.  We all know it.  And we all love him nonetheless.  But he’s a trouble maker with a sharp wit and a fine ability to focus attention on specific issues with somewhat spicy language.  It’s not the sort of language I would use, but I’m not Australian.

Anyway, the other day Roland posted a note he got from the SBL about a paper title.  It’s a paper he’s giving in November in Atlanta.  He was asked to change it.  Go see why and then come back.

Ok welcome back.

Now, John Lyons has chimed in with a letter to the SBL with which I agree in toto.  Go see why and then come back.

Ok welcome back.

It all reminds me a bit of the famous ‘fishing-gate’ controversy that stirred biblioblogdom to a near fever frenzy a couple of years back.  But isn’t it utterly fascinating!  Academic freedom, it seems, really isn’t free at all.  Powers and authorities still wish to constrict and constrain and even to strangle and choke any perspective or point of view or even paper title which might provoke discussions that those in power see as undesirable.

In short, the one thing this dustup shows is that the concept of academic freedom needs to be rethought.  We should really call it academic slavery.  That’s what it is in many cases and places.

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10 Comments

  1. I feel embarrassed that I’m a signed up member and attendee of that funny (american?) affair. But then the company is good and some of the sessions are priceless, but that “SBL” is a thorn…

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  2. yes the paper is fantastic – but the T shirt isn’t!!!! I was going to buy one, anticipating the creation of it, but white? with such a miniscule logo???? I want an orange one with a big red sausage logo. Or yellow or purple or green but NOT WHITE!

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