Seven Stories Press
Published simultaneously in hardcover, paperback, and electronic editions, CC BY, in 2021
How do we create a universe of truthful and verifiable information, available to everyone? In The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge, MIT Open Learning’s Peter B. Kaufman describes the powerful forces that have purposely crippled our efforts to share knowledge widely and freely.
The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge maps out the opportunities to mobilize for the fight ahead of us. With the Internet and other means of media production and distribution – video especially – at hand, knowledge institutions like universities, libraries, museums, and archives have a special responsibility now to counter misinformation, disinformation, and fake news – and especially efforts to control the free flow of information. The text draws up a progressive agenda for how today’s free thinkers can band together now to fight this fight – and to win it. The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge is a rousing call to action that expands the definition of what it means to be a citizen in the 21st century.
“Peter B. Kaufman's call for a new Enlightenment couldn't be more timely, or more necessary. His polemic against those who purport to own knowledge shows that knowledge is freedom and can belong to all or to none. The choice is ours.”
– Edward Snowden
“Peter Kaufman’s erudite tour de force not only explains how the 'information economy' works to shape our world, it shows how battles over who and how information is controlled have been with us since the invention of the printing press. Better still, this wonderfully written, eminently readable book shows both how we are still fighting the same battles today—and how today’s battles are different. It lays out clearly why we need to restore control over the information economy and how open knowledge and open learning are keys to that effort.”
“Peter Kaufman has provided a powerful argument for the right of all of us to know. In forceful prose, he explains how information has been controlled from the invention of printing to today. But, he argues, thanks to the internet, we can still win the battle to create the full and free access to knowledge necessary for self-governing. This is a book that will spearhead debate in the twenty-first century.”
“Rigorous and eloquent.”
– Charles R. Nesson, William F. Weld Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and founder of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard
– Michael Scammell, author, Solzhenitsyn: A Biography and Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic and founding editor, Index on Censorship
– Peter Baldwin, professor of history at UCLA, Global Distinguished Professor of History at NYU, co-founder of the Arcadia Fund, and author, The Copyright Wars: Three Centuries of Trans-Atlantic Battle