2016 MLA Convention: Debating the Resolution for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

In Fall 2014, David Lloyd and Rebecca Comay submitted to the Organizing Committee of the Delegate Assembly a resolution and supporting documents calling upon the MLA to endorse the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The resolution was proposed for discussion at the 2015 meeting of the Delegate Assembly. At that same time, two other members of the MLA submittY1KI7BqYed a resolution that opposed academic boycott resolutions. The Organizing Committee of the MLA requested that the two groups of proposers postpone the formal submission of their resolutions to the Delegate Assembly until 2017. In the meantime, both parties were granted space in the MLA convention program to debate the issue.  Debate panels and other sessions on Palestinian culture and politics are scheduled for the 2016 MLA Convention.  Below is the information on the debate panel organized by MLA Members for Justice in Palestine.


119.  Boycotting Israeli Academic Institutions

Thursday, 7 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., Lone Star D, JW Marriott

Program arranged by the MLA Delegate Assembly Organizing Committee

Presiding: Margaret W. Ferguson, Univ. of California, Davis

Speakers: Gabriel Noah Brahm, Northern Michigan Univ.; Rebecca Comay, Univ. of Toronto; Gil Z. Hochberg, Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Saree Makdisi, Univ. of California, Los Angeles

Responding: Stephanie Louise Kirk, Washington Univ. in St. Louis

Session Description:

Perspectives on the proposed MLA resolution to endorse the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Why call for such a boycott? What is the role of academic boycotts in a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions? What are the consequences of an institutional boycott for Palestinian and Israeli scholars and for the MLA and its membership?

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