Academic Freedom and National Security Export Controls

29 Feb 2012
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

470 Stephens Hall

Event Type

Walter Valdivia
STSC Visiting Scholar

Samuel A. Evans
CSTMS Visiting Scholar & Academic Coordinator

The American debate over academic freedom–the ability to pursue research unencumbered by government controls–has always found a sparring partner in government efforts to control technology trade. From concern over classified research in the 1950s, to the expansion of export controls to cover trade in information in the 1970s, to current debates emerging technologies and global innovation, there have been many opportunities for the academic community and the government to find a way to mutually demarcate their sovereignty. In this paper, we explore each of these opportunities, showing how the debate has almost exclusively centered on a version of the Social Contract for Science that has changed little through the decades. In particular, we analyze how the 1985 presidential directive excluding fundamental research from export controls created a boundary object that successfully demarcated science and the state, but only for a Cold War world. Significant changes have occurred since then in the governance structures of science and in the technical and political environment within which both universities and the state sit. Even though there have been significant and prolific calls for reassessing the Cold War demarcation, a new understanding of how to balance the concerns of national security and academic freedom is still only in its nascent stages.

This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies

Other Events of Interest