Steven Salaita to Speak About Palestine, Academic Freedom Feb. 3

"Steven Salaita, the Palestinian-American author and scholar at the center of a national debate over academic freedom, will speak at Guilford College at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3.

He will deliver his lecture, “Palestine and Academic Freedom in the American Imagination,” in Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Auditorium, Frank Family Science Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Salaita was offered a tenured faculty position in the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of American Indian Studies, but UIUC Chancellor Phyllis Wise “dehired” him in July, weeks before he was to start teaching, because some of his tweets criticizing Israel’s bombing of Gaza were deemed “uncivil.”

The decision not to hire Salaita “set off a huge national debate over academic freedom, civility and the role of trustees and administrators in reviewing hiring and tenure decisions,” in the words of Inside Higher Education.

The Feb. 3 lecture at Guilford “will examine how Palestine has been constructed as a mythical space in the United States, leading to deep identification with Israeli colonization based on centuries of American conquest,” according to organizers. “Terms like ‘civility’ arise from these histories.”

The event’s sponsors, all at Guilford College, are the Department of English; the Peace & Conflict Studies Program; Friends Center; the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program; and Students for Justice in Palestine. Contact Associate Professor of English Diya Abdo at for more information about the event."

- A Press Release

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