The issue of academic freedom was everywhere at this year's Modern Language Association meeting, in Washington. There were panels on "Academic Work and the New McCarthyism" and discussions on teaching issues related to war criticism.
At a Friday session, titled "Criticism and Crisis: Twenty-First Century Intellectuals and the Politics of Academic Freedom," the focus was how to build broader support among the general public for academic freedom.
Isabel Vittorio, who, as a department chair at the fictional Austin University, had variously “been described as narcissistic, charismatic, brilliant, and opportunistic” was found slumped over her desk in the Department of Literature and Rhetoric early on a Monday morning, her neck broken. What ensues as the murder investigation unfolds is a peek inside what author Lynn C. Miller called the closed, “wonderful dysfunctional family template” of a humanities department.