The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) warmly congratulates Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi, USACBI advisory board member and co-founder, on her receipt of the Jere L. Bacharach Service Award of the Middle East Studies Association. We are sharing a statement below released by her supporters:
We write as Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi’s colleagues, students, comrades and supporters. We are pleased to announce that world-renowned Palestinian feminist, scholar & activist, Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi, has been awarded the Jere L. Bacharach Service Award of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). The award “recognizes the contributions of individuals through their outstanding service to MESA or the profession.” Her nomination letter highlights her work as a scholar-activist and impact in establishing institutional spaces and intellectual infrastructures for activists and scholars doing work relevant to MESA.
She has tirelessly recruited, mentored, encouraged and empowered countless women scholars from all backgrounds as scholars and advocates, deliberately ensuring the participation of members of BIPOC and LGBTQIS+ communities. Notable in that regard is Abdulhadi’s decades’ long engagement with and contributions to feminist theory and transnational feminisms, including her scholarship and advocacy on gender and sexual justice in and beyond Arab and Muslim communities.
Upon receiving her PhD from Yale University, she was appointed and helped build the graduate Certificate in Forced Migration & Refugee Studies at the American University in Cairo (AUC). As a postdoctoral Fellow at New York University (NYU), she helped create the undergraduate major and the Graduate Certificate in Gender & Sexuality Studies while leading a university-wide colloquium on Gender & Sexuality and nationalism post 9/11/2001. Abdulhadi was the first director of the Center for Arab American Studies and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan, Dearborn (2004-2006). Subsequently, she became the founding director and Senior Scholar of the Arab & Muslim Ethnicities & Diasporas Studies (AMED) at the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University (SFSU), as well as Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and Affiliated Faculty in Sexuality Studies and Queer Ethnic Studies–a program from which she latter dropped out over QES erasure of Arab, Muslim and Palestinian narratives.
As part of her scholar-activist praxis, Dr. Abdulhadi has been working on her intellectual project of Teaching Palestine: Pedagogical Praxis & the Indivisibility of Justice. Teaching Palestine challenges hegemonic narratives on Palestine and calls for decolonizing of the curriculum. Through this project, she initiated and co-organized conferences, symposiums, and panels at Birzeit and An-Najah National Universities (Palestine); World Congress of Middle East Studies (Seville, Spain); McGill University (Montreal, Canada); Caribbean Studies Association (Havana, Cuba); American Studies Association (Atlanta, Georgia); the Afro-Middle East Center (Johannesburg, South Africa), as well as several community spaces and campuses for Students for Justice in Palestine. As a part of Teaching Palestine, she initiated Teaching Palestine Open Classroom Series, providing accessible, free and quality educational programming that was streamed live in an interactive format that engaged both student and community audiences. These virtual events routinely feature a mix of high profile and emerging scholars and public intellectuals, while attracting tens of thousands of people from diverse communities and social movements into intergenerational conversations who otherwise would not have engaged. Through this series, Abdulhadi challenges the traditional definition of the classroom while organizing a rich living archive of conversations, oral histories and intergenerational discussions that historicize contemporary issues and debates.
Her outspokenness against the erasure of Palestine and her advocacy for critical AMED curriculum has made Dr. Abdulhadi a particular target of Zionist, rightwing and white supremacist Islamophobes, such as David Horowitz, Canary Mission, Campus Watch/Middle East Forum, AMCHA, the Lawfare Project and the Academic Engagement Network. This award shows that Dr. Abdulhadi has not been silenced and will not be defeated in her fight for justice. Join us in expressing our appreciation for Dr. Abdulhadi.