Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom

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Steven Salaita and Rashid Khalidi in a discussion of academic freedom, free speech on campus, and the movement for justice in Palestine.

 

In the summer of 2014, renowned American Indian studies professor Steven Salaita had his appointment to a tenured professorship revoked by the board of trustees of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Salaita's employment was terminated in response to his public tweets criticizing the Israeli government's summer assault on Gaza.

Salaita's firing generated a huge public outcry, with thousands petitioning for his reinstatement, and more than five thousand scholars pledging to boycott UIUC. His case raises important questions about academic freedom, free speech on campus, and the movement for justice in Palestine.

In his new book Uncivil Rites, Salaita combines personal reflection and political critique to shed new light on his controversial termination. He situates his case at the intersection of important issues that affect both higher education and social justice activism.

Steven Salaita currently holds the Edward W. Said Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut. Author of six previous books, he is a regular columnist for Electronic Intifada and a member of the Organizing Committee of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI).

 
 

Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University and Co-Director of the Center for Palestine Studies. He is editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies, and was President of the Middle East Studies Association, and an advisor to the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid and Washington Arab-Israeli peace negotiations from October 1991 until June 1993. Khalidi is the author ofSowing Crisis: American Dominance and the Cold War in the Middle East (2009)The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood (2006); Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East (2004), which was awarded the Albert Hourani Prize of the Middle Eastern Studies Association; Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness (1996), which also won the Albert Hourani prize; Under Siege: PLO Decision-Making During the 1982 War (1986); and British Policy Towards Syria and Palestine, 1906-1914 (1980).

 
 

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