Gaza in Context: A Collaborative Teach-In Series — Session 10
Know Your Rights:
The Assault on Campus Activism
Genevieve Lakier, The First Amendment, Free Speech, and Student Protest
Nadia Abu El-Haj, The Danger of “Safety:” Weaponizing Antisemitism, Suppressing Speech
Zeina Zaatari, Repression and Silencing on Campuses and Strategies of Resistance
Eman Abdelhadi, Bringing Movement Lessons to Bear on Campus Activism
Teach-In Session 10
Join us for this critical and timely conversation on matters of rights and activism–on campus and beyond. Our illustrious group of speakers will address First Amendment rights, lessons from other movements, the suppression of free speech, the weaponization of Antisemitism, and strategies for addressing and resisting silencing on campus.
Gaza in Context Collaborative Teach-In Series
We are together experiencing a catastrophic unfolding of history as Gaza awaits a massive invasion of potentially genocidal proportions. This follows an incessant bombardment of a population increasingly bereft of the necessities of living in response to the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7. The context within which this takes place includes a well-coordinated campaign of misinformation and the unearthing of a multitude of essentialist and reductionist discursive tropes that depict Palestinians as the culprits, despite a context of structural subjugation and Apartheid, a matter of consensus in the human rights movement.
The co-organizers below are convening weekly teach-ins and conversations on a host of issues that introduce our common university communities, educators, researchers, and students to the history and present of Gaza, in context.
Co-Organizers: Arab Studies Institute, Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, George Mason University’s Middle East and Islamic Studies Program, Rutgers Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Birzeit University Museum, Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Brown University’s Center for Middle East Studies, University of Chicago’s Center for Contemporary Theory, Brown University’s New Directions in Palestinian Studies, Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies, Georgetown University-Qatar, American University of Cairo’s Alternative Policy Studies, Middle East Studies Association’s Global Academy, University of Chicago’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, CUNY’s Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center, University of Illinois Chicago’s Arab american cultural Center, George Mason University’s AbuSulayman’s Center for Global Islamic Studies, University of Illinois Chicago’s Critical Middle East Studies Working Group, George Washington University’s Institute for Middle East Studies, Columbia University’s Center for Palestine Studies, New York University’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies
Eman Abdelhadi is an academic, activist and writer who thinks at the intersection of gender, sexuality, religion, and politics. She is an assistant professor and sociologist at the University of Chicago, where she researches American Muslim communities. She is co-author of "Everything for Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune, 2052-2072," a sci-fi novel published in 2022 with Common Notions Press.
Nadia Abu El-Haj is Ann Olin Whitney Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University, and Co-Director of the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia. She is the author of Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society; The Genealogical Science: The Search for Jewish Origins and the Politics of Epistemology; and most recently, Caring for Militarism: Soldier Trauma, The Obligations of Citizenship, and the Forever Wars.
Zeina Zaatari, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arab American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She is also adjunct faculty in Anthropology and Faculty Fellow in the Honors College at UIC. She previously worked as Research Director atPolitical Research Associate, Program Director at Global Fund for Women, and lecturer in Anthropology and Gender Studies at various universities in CA and IL. Her recent publications include two co-edited books: Routledge Handbook on Women of the Middle East co-edited with Suad Joseph (2023) and The Politics of Engaged Gender Research in the Arab Region: Feminist Fieldwork and Knowledge Production, co-edited with Suad Joseph and Lena Meari (I.B.Tauris 2022).
Genevieve Lakier is Professor of Law, Herbert and Marjorie Fried Teaching Scholar at the University of Chicago. She teaches and writes about freedom of speech and American constitutional law. Her work examines the changing meaning of freedom of speech in the United States, the role that legislatures play in safeguarding free speech values, and the fight over freedom of speech on the social media platforms. Between 2006 and 2008, she was an Academy Scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International and Area Studies at Harvard University. After law school, she clerked for Judge Leonard B. Sand of the Southern District of New York and Judge Martha C. Daughtrey of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Before joining the faculty, Genevieve taught at the Law School as a Bigelow Fellow and Lecturer in Law.
Lisa Wedeen (Moderator) is the Mary R. Morton Professor of Political Science and the College and the Co-Director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory at the University of Chicago. She is also Associate Faculty in Anthropology and the Co-Editor of the University of Chicago Book Series, “Studies in Practices of Meaning.” Her publications include three books: Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria (1999; with a new preface, 2015); Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power and Performance in Yemen (2008); and Authoritarian Apprehensions: Ideology, Judgment, and Mourning in Syria (2019). Among her articles are the following: “Conceptualizing ‘Culture’: Possibilities for Political Science” (2002); “Concepts and Commitments in the Study of Democracy” (2004), “Ethnography as an Interpretive Enterprise” (2009), “Reflections on Ethnographic Work in Political Science” (2010), “Ideology and Humor in Dark Times: Notes from Syria” (2013), and “Scientific Knowledge, Liberalism, and Empire: American Political Science in the Modern Middle East” (2016). She is the recipient of the David Collier Mid-Career Achievement Award and an NSF fellowship, and is currently completing an edited volume with Joseph Masco, entitled Conspiracy/Theory.
Bassam Haddad (Moderator) is Founding Director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program and Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is the author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011) and co-editor of A Critical Political Economy of the Middle East (Stanford University Press, 2021). Bassam is Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya Ezine and Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute. He serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal and the Knowledge Production Project. He is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of the acclaimed series Arabs and Terrorism. Bassam serves on the Board of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences and is Executive Producer of Status Audio Magazine and Director of the Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI). He received MESA's Jere L. Bacharach Service Award in 2017 for his service to the profession. Currently, Bassam is working on his second Syria book titled Understanding the Syrian Calamity: Regime, Opposition, Outsiders (forthcoming, Stanford University Press).