Professor Thomas Docherty (Warwick)
‘On free speech and academic freedom: responsibilities and complicities’
Professor Thomas Docherty has taught at University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Kent at Canterbury, and at the University of Warwick, where he is now Professor of English and Comparative Literature. He is the author of many books on modern literature, philosophy and cultural theory, and on the institutions of literature and literary study. Most recently, in books such as Aesthetic Democracy (2006), For the University (2011) and Universities at War (2014), Docherty has emerged as the pre-eminent analyst and critic of change in the British university system.
Andrew Gibson has hailed Docherty as, along with Stefan Collini, ‘a major contemporary heir to Newman, a defender of a sober, principled, honourable, sophisticated, demanding and by no means idealized concept of the university’, while Henry Giroux has said of Docherty’s most recent book, Universities at War (2014), that ‘Thomas Docherty not only is a brilliant critic of those forces that would like to transform higher education into an extension of the market-place and a recruiting tool for the conformist prone, low-paid workforce needed by corporate powers, he is also a man of great moral and civic courage, who under intense pressure from the punishing neoliberal state has risked a great deal to remind us that higher education is a civic institution crucial to … democracy’.