Continuing our coverage of Professor Steven Salaita’s case with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, we spoke this week with UIUC professors Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi and Linda Herrera. On August 1st, the University rescinded its offer to hire Professor Steven Salaita. The University President and Board of Trustees claimed in an open letter that his Twitter presence, where he is highly critical of Israel’s massacre of Gaza, represents “disrespectful and demeaning speech that promotes malice.”
Professor Tabrizi speaks to the question of external political influence on university decision making processes. Letters made public by the Freedom of Information Act show that the University President Robert Easter, Chancellor Phyllis Wise, and Board of Trustees reveal that a number of influential donors threatened to stop funding the university, and even threatened to pull their children out of the school. Professor Herrera discusses the way that online footprints via social media (and the culture of social media) have contributed to a neo-McCarthyism and has made Salaita and other figures the subjects of lampooning and intimidation.
Lynda Herrera is a Social Anthropology professor at UIUC specializing in the Middle East and North Africa. She is also a contributor at Jadaliyya. Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi is a Professor of Sociology at UIUC, and is currently completing a book manuscript called Foucault, the Iranian Revolution, and Enlightenment.
We also aired the second part of our revealing interview with photojournalist and documentary filmmaker Mimi Chakarova. In this interview she discusses why it was necessary for her to pose as a prostitute in order to reveal what happens to women forced into the global sex trade industry. The industry’s continued existence is fueled by a combination of greed, corruption, supply and demand, and male desire. “Just because this girl comes from another country does not mean that she is an other,” she says, adding that it is possible to halt the sex trade cycle by shifting the psychology of demand.
Mimi Chakarova is one of 10 world renowned photographers whose work is showcased in the UC Berkeley Human Rights Center’s Envisioning Human Rights Photo Exhibition which kicked off on Thursday, August 28th and is running through October.
On the Salaita case, freedom of speech, and anti-semitism:
“Antisemitism and Salaita” – A letter from UIUC English Department head Michael Rothberg to Chancellor Wise
On Global Sex Trafficking
Five things you didn’t know about human trafficking via Rolling Stone