In this paper presented at the 2016 MLA Convention in Austin, Cindy Franklin reflects on how narratives about life in Palestine exist in a complementary relationship to the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. She discusses her experience co-editing and launching the special issue of Biography, “Life in Occupied Palestine.” Her central point is that opening institutional spaces for narratives of Palestinians’ lives and supporting academic boycott are crucial ways for humanities scholars to understand and contribute to interconnected anti-racist struggles at home and abroad. Both Palestinian life narratives and BDS support rather than curtail academic freedom—and the right to education.
Click this link to open a pdf Franklin’s paper. Franklin MLA 2016 Comparative State Racisms
Cynthia G. Franklin is professor of English at the University of Hawai‘i and coedits Biography. She is the author of Academic Lives: Memoir, Cultural Theory, and the University Today (2009) and Writing Women’s Communities: The Politics and Poetics of Contemporary Multi-Genre Anthologies (1997), and is also co-edited several special issues of Biography, including “Life in Occupied Palestine” with Ibrahim Aoude and Morgan Cooper, and “Personal Effects: The Testimonial Uses of Life Writing” with Laura E. Lyons. Other publications have appeared in Acoma, American Quarterly, The Contemporary Pacific, Cultural Critique, Gay and Lesbian Quarterly, and Life Writing. She is part of the Organizing Collective for the US Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.