Researchers, institutions, teachers, and students around the world are confronting new and growing threats to academic freedom. Academic freedom in Asia has faced particular assault over the last decade, with increasingly global-ramifications. In this roundtable event sponsored by the Open Society Foundations, we will explore emerging threats to academic freedom as well as their downstream political, economic, and cultural impact. Participants will discuss trends in censorship and new modes of suppression in an effort to shed light on the problem and provide reference points to those working in restrictive research environments.
This roundtable will be recorded and a video will be available for later viewing.
Katrin Kinzelbach, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg
Katrin Kinzelbach is a professor of political science at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, where she teaches the international politics of human rights. Before joining FAU in 2019, Kinzelbach was associate director of the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin and a visiting professor at the Central European University in Budapest. In 2017, working in close cooperation with the Scholars at Risk Network, she initiated a world-wide data collection effort on academic freedom, the Academic Freedom Index (AFi), which was implemented in partnership with the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg, and launched in 2020.
Lynette H. Ong, University of Toronto
Lynette H. Ong is a political scientist at the University of Toronto. She specializes in the politics of China and Southeast Asia and has written widely on the Chinese Party-state power, repression, social protests, as well as the economy and financial sector. Her research addresses the intersections of authoritarian politics, contentious politics and the political economy. She has published widely in a range of academic journals in political science, including Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Politics, International Political Science Review, and in area studies, namely China Quarterly, China Journal, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Journal of East Asian Studies, etc. She is the author of Prosper and Perish: Credit and Fiscal Systems in Rural China, (Cornell University Press, 2012). She was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs in 2020, and previously an An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. She has also held visiting fellowship at various esteemed universities in China.
Robert Quinn, Scholars at Risk
Robert Quinn is the founding Executive Director of the Scholars at Risk Network, an independent not-for-profit corporation based at New York University, and host of the Free to Think podcast. Mr. Quinn formerly served as a member of the Council of the Magna Charta Observatory, based in Bologna, Italy; Executive Director of the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund; on the Steering Committee of the Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR), based in London, UK; a member of the Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; a member of the Scientific Committee of Pax Academica, an online journal on academic freedom in Africa published by CODESRIA from Dakar, Senegal; a fellow with the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows Program in Washington, DC. He received an A.B. cum laude from Princeton in 1988, a J.D. cum laude from Fordham in 1994, and an honorary doctorate from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2010. In 2012, Mr. Quinn and Scholars at Risk received the University of Oslo’s human rights award, the Lisl and Leo Eitinger Prize, for “relentless work to protect the human rights of academics and for having inspired and engaged others to stress the importance of academic freedom.”
Dimitar D. Gueorguiev (Moderator), Syracuse University
Dimitar D. Gueorguiev is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University. He specializes in Chinese politics. His work has been published in several top scholarly and general interest outlets. He recently co-authored a Cambridge University Press book on Chinese governance institutions entitled China’s Governance Puzzle. Gueorguiev’s forthcoming book, Retrofitting Leninism, looks at non-democratic participation and information control in China.