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The Academy and Justice for Palestine

Sunaina Maira (Author)

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This title is part of American Studies Now and available as an e-book first. Visit to learn more.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) has expanded rapidly though controversially in the US in the last five years. The academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions is a key component of that movement. What is this boycott? Why does it make sense? And why is this an American Studies issue? These key questions and others are answered in this essential short book. Boycott! situates the academic boycott in the broader history of boycotts in the US as well as Palestine and shows how it has evolved into a transnational social movement that has spurred profound intellectual and political shifts. It explores the movement’s implications for antiracist, feminist, queer, and academic labor organizing and examines the boycott in the context of debates about Palestine, Zionism, race, rights-based politics, academic freedom, decolonization and neoliberal capitalism. 
Sunaina Maira is Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis.

“Sunaina Maira locates contemporary BDS activism and the considerable efforts to expand the academic boycott of Israel within an historical frame that links them to movements for racial, gender, and economic equality more broadly, as well as to other foundational social justice struggles. In deftly demonstrating that Palestinian solidarity belongs at the center of all of our justice concerns, Boycott! both exemplifies the challenge of this moment and urges us to fearlessly rise up to it.”—Angela Y. Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz

“Sunaina Maira’s book is a critically needed, brilliantly argued, and ethically woven argument for the academic boycott of Israel. Maira not only reveals the organic links between the struggle for Palestinian rights and the pursuit of racial, social, gender, environmental, and economic justice; she shines a bright light on the dangerous connection between the McCarthyite repression against the BDS movement for Palestinian rights and the gradual erosion of academic freedom in the increasingly neoliberal-influenced academe.”—Omar Barghouti, cofounder of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement

“For many years, Sunaina Maira has been a leader in the BDS movement, where she is greatly respected for her kindness, insight, maturity, and devotion. The same qualities can be found in her scholarship, as this short book shows. Maira’s deep knowledge of BDS and her ability to effectively contextualize the movement amid its forebears and contemporaries combine to produce a richly argued, highly persuasive text. Anybody who claims to be interested in justice needs to read this book.”—Steven Salaita, author of Uncivil Rites: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom

“Sunaina Maira offers a definitive account of the growing social justice movement called BDS in the United States. With erudition and inspiration, she shows what can be achieved when we confront entrenched norms and imperial formations.”—Alex Lubin, author of Geographies of Liberation: The Making of an Afro-Arab Political Imaginary

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