Warrior to join Salaita on "Uncivil Rites" tour stop in Urbana

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Steven Salaita said he’s never been a fan of authors who read directly from their books. Instead, the Urbana stop on his book tour for “Uncivil Rites,” will include a public conversation with Robert Warrior, director of American Indian Studies.

During the visit — which will be at the Independent Media Center, 202 S. Broadway St., on Oct. 13 — Salaita and Warrior will engage in a conversation about academic freedom, free speech on campus and peace in Palestine according to a Monday press release.

Salaita will also speak about his book and also raise “important questions about academic freedom, free speech on campus, and the movement for justice in Palestine,” the release noted.

Salaita announced his tour on Twitter Wednesday but at the time was unsure of the time or location.

“There’s obviously great interest (in Urbana) in this story,” Salaita said. “This will give folks a chance to hear directly from me.”

The tour will also stop in Philadelphia, New York City, Toronto, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

He is currently serving as the chair of American studies at the University of Beirut. The tour will last about two weeks but Salaita said he has already arranged for his classes to continue in his absence.

Salaita is still involved with a lawsuit against the University that has been ongoing since January of 2015. In the suit he claims the University violated his academic freedom after he was dismissed from his tenured position in the American Indian Studies Department following the posting of several controversial Gaza conflict-related tweets.

The book, which will be published by Haymarket Books in October, discusses Salaita’s conflict with the University.

“Salaita combines personal reflection and political critique to shed new light on his controversial termination,” Haymarket’s website states. “He situates his case at the intersection of important issues that affect both higher education and social justice activism.”

His current position at the University of Beirut is a one-year, non-tenure contract. Previously Salaita said he would still like to return to the University if given the opportunity.

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