In August 2014, just two weeks before he was scheduled to begin work, Chancellor Phyllis Wise of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign abruptly informed Professor of American Indian Studies, Steven Salaita Salaita that his job offer for a tenured position at the university had been rescinded. His crime? A series of controversial tweets about Israel during its most recent bombardment of the Gaza Strip in July 2014. Last November, a federal court ruled in Salaita’s favor. Though he was not rehired, Professor Salaita and the university reached a settlement which awarded him $600,000.
In his new book, Uncivil Rights: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom, Salaita reflects on the case, his life, and above all what it means to be an academic fighting the uphill battle for Palestinian rights in America. He is currently based in and speaking to us from his new home, Beirut, where he now holds the Edward Said Chair of American Studies at the University of Beirut.