Intelligentsia In Dissent: Palestine, Settler-Colonialism and Academic Unfreedom in the Work of Steven Salaita
In 2014, Steven Salaita, a preeminent academic whose intellectual interventions included extending an Indigenous framework to the Palestinians, had a tenure-track job offer rescinded by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) following his Tweets critiquing the Israeli assault on Gaza. The episode was roundly criticized as an abrogation of academic freedom by scores of supporters, academics and non-academics alike.
Yet while this article does engage the events that transpired in 2014, it primarily constitutes a modest, if thorough attempt to refocus discussions of Steven Salaita’s career onto his intellectual output to date, with special attention paid to what the author feels are his most substantial contributions to Indigenous/Native American Studies. To that end, the author invites readers to bask in Steven Salaita’s innovative bridging of Palestinian and Indigenous/Native American Studies frameworks. When conducted ethically, and in a genuinely reciprocal fashion, Salaita shows us, comparison is not an empty intellectual exercise, but a veritable plotting of points towards comprehensive, collective liberation.