BDS and Academic Freedom

The Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at The Graduate Center at CUNY hosts:


With Bill Mullen (Purdue), Radhika Sainath (Palestine Solidarity Legal Support), Sherry Wolf (International Socialists Review), ST Collective Member and Web Editor Ashley Dawson (CSI/GC, CUNY)

WHEN: Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 7:00-9:00 pm

WHERE: CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, Skylight Conference Room, 9th Floor

(photo: The Center for Place, Culture, and Politics)

Following the official endorsement of the American Studies Association of the call from Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israel, concerns over “academic freedom” have been repeatedly invoked as reasons to oppose academic boycotts. Moreover, official statements by university presidents, attempts by New York, Maryland state legislatures, and now the US Congress, to outlaw such political affiliations demand that the significance of “academic freedom” and its functionality in the US university system be interrogated and reaffirmed.

This panel discussion specifically addresses the question of academic freedom and political affiliation from the different perspectives of academics and activists working with and around BDS in the US academe today. Panelists interrogate how the pursuit of “academic freedom” has been used to both open and close debate, how it frames the call for solidarity with Palestinian students and scholars, structures relationships with dissenting opinions, and how it applies in a US university system increasingly dependent on a contingent workforce of graduate students and adjunct labor.

Co-sponsored by: The Adjunct Project; the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics; Critical Palestine Studies Association; International Socialist Organization at the Graduate Center; Middle East Studies Organization; Post-Colonial Studies Group; and Haymarket Books.

Visit the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics website.

Ashley Dawson

Ashley Dawson, a professor of English at the Graduate Center/CUNY and the College of Staten Island, is a scholar of postcolonial studies and a climate justice activist. He is the author of two recent books on topics relating to the environmental issues, Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change (Verso, 2017) and Extinction: A Radical History (O/R, 2016), as well as many other books on topics relating to migration, global justice, and cultural struggles. He is currently completing a book on energy democracy and just transition entitled The Energy Common.

Social Text Collective