Steven Salaita presents "An Honest Living: A Memoir of Peculiar Itineraries" and "Daughter, Son, Assassin" in conversation w/Malav Kanuga and Jaskiran Dhillon

Steven Salaita presents "An Honest Living: A Memoir of Peculiar Itineraries" and "Daughter, Son, Assassin" in conversation w/Malav Kanuga and Jaskiran Dhillon

Saturday, June 15th 2024
7:00 pm
Red Emma's
In 2014, Steven Salaita was fired from a tenured position in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois for his unwavering stance on Palestinian human rights. We're welcoming him back to Baltimore for a talk on Palestine, his new memoir, and his first novel.

About An Honest Living: An exiled professor’s journey from inside and beyond academe

In the summer of 2014, Steven Salaita was fired from a tenured position in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois for his unwavering stance on Palestinian human rights and other political controversies. A year later, he landed a job in Lebanon, but that, too, ended badly. With no other recourse, Salaita found himself trading his successful academic career for an hourly salaried job. Told primarily from behind the wheel of a school bus—a vantage point from which Salaita explores social anxiety, suburban architecture, political alienation, racial oppression, working-class solidarity, pro­fessional malfeasance, and the joy of chauffeuring children to and from school—_An Honest Living _describes the author’s decade of turbulent post-professorial life and his recent return to the lectern.

Steven Salaita was practically born to a life in academia. His father taught physics at an HBCU in southern West Virginia and his earliest memories are of life on campus and the cinder walls of the classroom. It was no surprise that he ended up in the classroom straight after graduate school. Yet three of his university jobs—Virginia Tech, the University of Illinois, and the American University of Beirut [AUB] —ended in public controversy. Shaken by his sudden notoriety and false claims of antisemitism, Salaita found himself driving a school bus to make ends meet. While some considered this just punishment for his anti-Zionist beliefs, Steven found that driving a bus provided him with not just a means to pay the bills but a path toward freedom of thought.

Now ten years later, with a job at American University at Cairo, Salaita reconciles his past with his future. His restlessness has found a home, yet his return to academe is met with the same condition of fugitivity from whence he was expelled: an occasion for defiance, not conciliation. _An Honest Living _presents an intimate personal narrative of the author’s decade of professional joys and travails.

To my mind, whether as a scholar of Native American Studies and Palestinian struggles, a teaching professor, advocate of social justice and free speech, or school bus driver, Steven Salaita’s career has always been about earning an honest living, financially and morally. An Honest Living is a profile in courage, filled with sharply-drawn and often tender depictions, as well as probing personal and universal revelations. A book I’m glad to have in my hands and that I will long celebrate, An Honest Living confirms that the path of decency, while full of hurdles, is the surest road to joy and emancipation. —Khaled Mattawa, author of Fugitive Atlas

About Daughter, Son, Assassin:

A story of family bonds amid political betrayal that explores the drastic steps that a young girl will take in order to find a sense of belonging. Fred is lost, confused, almost certainly about to die. As he traces his steps back from the desert where he has been dropped by soldiers of a repressive Gulf Kingdom regime, his nine-year-old daughter, Nancy, is doing the same from six thousand miles away in a quiet neighborhood in the suburbs of Washington, DC.

With his disappearance, she and her mother are forced to leave their comfortable house in DC for a new life in Virginia.  Abandoned by their friends and desperate for answers, Nancy and her mother must acclimate to the strange world of suburban anonymity. As Nancy grows into adulthood, she pieces together what happened to her father and devises a bold plan to avenge his disappearance.

Unraveling an international web of deceit in order to find her father will take time and patience; and becoming a cold-blooded assassin takes commitment to a life at odds with everything she knows.

Daughter, Son, Assassin is a brilliant debut novel from one of Palestine’s bravest and most trusted intellectuals.” —Susan Abulhawa, author of Against the Loveless World

Steven Salaita is an award-winning scholar, writer, and activist. He is the author of ten books about Arab Americans, Indigenous peoples, race and ethnicity, and literature, most notably Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine, Anti-Arab Racism in the USA: Where it Comes From and What it Means for Politics, and An Honest Living. He currently teaches at the American University of Cairo.

Jaskiran Dhillon is an anti-colonial scholar and organizer who grew up on Treaty Six Cree Territory in Saskatchewan, Canada. She is the author of Prairie Rising: Indigenous Youth, Decolonization, and the Politics of Intervention (2017) and co-editor of Standing with Standing Rock: Voices from the #NoDAPL Movement (2019). Her new book, Notes on Becoming a Comrade: Solidarity, Relationality, and Future Making is forthcoming with Common Notions Press and her new research focuses on the militarization and securitization of the Canadian Arctic border in the wake of climate change. Jaskiran is an associate professor of global studies and anthropology at The New School and served as the founding president of The New School's AAUP Chapter. She is also a cooperative member and director of Making Worlds Bookstore & Social Center in West Philadelphia.

Malav Kanuga is an urban anthropologist and founding editor and publisher of Common Notions, an independent book publishing and programming house, as well as founding director of the Making Worlds Cooperative Bookstore and Social Center in Philadelphia, PA. He is currently a research fellow at the Media, Inequality and Change Center at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.

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