OSUN Awards Students for "Reimagining Academic Freedom" Essays
The first prize went to Cristina Mazzero, a first-year doctoral student in Sociology and Social Research at the University of Trento in Italy. Her masters’ thesis examined the experience of Belarusian students whose academic freedom was violated. Her current research interests relate to student displacement in academia, internationalization of higher education, academic freedom, and qualitative and mixed-methods research design.
Mazzero’s essay, "Reimagining Academic Feedom through the Lens of Students’ Experiences: Reflections from the Belarusian Case," critiques the tendency to prioritize scholars’ right to academic freedom while downplaying students' right to academic freedom. Mazzero also argues that academic debate is often confined to the theoretical level, ignoring the academic community's everyday experience of academic freedom. As a solution, she calls for an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the concept.
The second prize winner, Vladislav Siiutkin, is a graduate student in Political Science at Central European University (CEU) in Austria and a researcher at the Public Sociology Laboratory. His research focuses on the reproduction of inequality through the education system, nation-building, and political mobilizations in contemporary Russia.
Siiutkin’s essay, "University Systems in Russia and France: Political Autonomy and Scientific Efficiency," argues that the institutional autonomy of scholars and students benefits academic enterprise, while excessive state or corporate control does the opposite. He supports his argument through comparative research on the French and Russian experience, focusing on the discipline of sociology.
The third prize went to David Sebastian Urrego Cardenas, an undergraduate student in Languages and Sociocultural Studies at Los Andes University in Colombia. Urrego’s research interests are in the fields of gender, Indigenous linguistics, critical discourse analysis, and academic freedom.
Urrego’s essay, "Academic Freedom, a Right Reimagined Outside of the Colonial Cognizance," calls for the decolonization of academic freedom, specifically within the Latin American context. Examining the ways gender is discussed within academia and the imposition of knowledge from “the colonial realms,” he advocates for centering the production of knowledge by Latin American scholars and students.
Through activities such as the essay competition, GOAF responds to the practical need for universities to pursue the production and dissemination of knowledge as a public good, promoting academic freedom as a cornerstone of higher education and of a democratic society. A key part of its mission is to address the need for a better formulation of the concept of academic freedom.
Post Date: 02-22-2023