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Public Statements

The statements below are part of our educational mission and reflect the views of the faculty in the department and not official University policy.

ME/SA stands in support of our students, faculty and staff who have been affected by the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Palestine, Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Supporting our Afghan and Palestinian Communities

Faculty Statement of Solidarity with Palestinians Monday May 16, 2021

We, the signatories below, express our concerns for the suffering inflicted on Palestinians by the Israeli airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip and condemn the state-sanctioned violence by settlers and lynch mobs against Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Israel. The current asymmetrical assaults by the Israeli state have left over 180 Palestinians dead, of which at least 40% are women and children, and over 1200 Palestinians injured, as of May 16. Palestinian families spent the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in a state of terror and anguish. Israel’s state violence is also an assault on the education of Palestinian youth. More than 24 Palestinian schools in Gaza have been damaged by Israeli air strikes and Palestinian students have been prevented from protesting the war at Israeli universities. This brutal violence follows the forcible evictions of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem by Israeli settlers, whose settlements are deemed illegal under international law. Marauding Jewish extremists have been filmed lynching and beating Palestinians in the streets. As US-based scholars, we are outraged that the US administration has refused to condemn this Israeli state violence, yet again. The Biden administration has opposed the UN Security Council meeting about the rapidly escalating crisis and blocked their statements, including calls for a ceasefire (at the time of writing this). The US government has historically provided more funding to Israel than any other country in the world to the tune of $3.8 billion a year. Imagine how this money could be spent on public education, healthcare, and building safer communities! This latest eruption of anti-Palestinian violence and anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism is occurring in the context of an ongoing history of forcible displacement, dispossession, and systemic racism by Israel. Recently, Human Rights Watch criticized Israel as an apartheid state, given the legal nature of entrenched racial discrimination by the Israeli state against Palestinians under its rule. The Black Lives Matter movement in the US has helped spotlight the distressing similarities between, and the collaborations binding, US and Israeli policing. Indigenous rights movements have highlighted struggles against settler colonialism linking North America and Palestine. Mass incarceration, refugee displacement, border militarization, and restrictions on freedom of movement are all issues that have energized transnational solidarity between social justice movements in the US and Palestine. Feminists have recently endorsed the statement that Palestine is a Feminist Issue opposing gendered and sexual violence in Palestine as intrinsic to the “siege of Palestinian land and life.” We stand in solidarity with Palestinian scholars working under conditions of edu-cide and struggling with the censorship of their narratives and scholarship. We also support the right of students and faculty to speak openly about these issues of human rights and global justice without fear of reprisals, blacklisting, or unwarranted allegations of anti-Semitism that trivialize actually existing anti-Semitism in a context of emboldened white supremacy and fascist violence. As scholars committed to racial justice and opposed to war and colonialism, we believe that justice is indivisible and has no borders.

Dept and Program Signatories
Department of Asian American Studies
Mellon Research Initiative on Racial Capitalism
Department of American Studies
Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies
Department of African American and African Studies
Mellon Research Initiative on Feminist Arts and Sciences
Department of French and Italian
Middle East/South Asia Studies Program

individual Signatures

Donald Palmer, Graduate School of Management
Kathleen Frederickson, Associate Professor of English
Justin Leroy, Assistant Professor of History
Natalia Deeb-Sossa, Professor of Chicana/o Studies
Susy Zepeda, Assistant Professor of Chicana/o Studies
Michael Singh, Assistant Professor of Chicana/o Studies
Victor Montejo, Retired Professor of Native American Studies
Ofelia Cuevas, Assistant Professor of Chicana/o Studies
Alan Klima, Professor of Anthropology
Viola Ardeni, Lecturer in Italian
Jaimey Fisher, Professor of German and Cinema & Digital Media
Joshua Clover, Professor of English and Comparative Literature
Jesse Drew, Professor of Cinema and Digital Media
Hsuan Hsu, Professor of English
Seeta Chaganti, Professor of English
Inés Hernández-Ávila, Professor, Native American Studies
Justin Spence, Associate Professor of Native American Studies
Zinzi Clemmons, Assistant Professor of English
Suzana Sawyer, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Zoila Mendoza, Professor of Native American Studies
Lucy Corin, Professor of English
Erin Gray, Professor of English
Marisol de la Cadena, Professor of Anthropology
Elizabeth Miller, Professor of English
Simon Sadler, Professor of Design
Omnia El Shakry, Professor of History
Stacy D Fahrenthold, Assistant Professor of History
Michael Ziser, Associate Professor of English
Joseph Dumit, Professor of Science & Technology Studies
Stephanie Boluk, Cinema and Digital Media
Parama Roy, Department of English
Margaret Ronda, Associate Professor of English
Suad Joseph, Distinguished Research Professor, Anthropology, University of California, Davis
Ali Anooshahr, History Department
Wendy DeSouza, Middle East/South Asia Studies Program
Julie Wyman, Associate Professor of Cinema and Digital Media
Baki Tezcan, Professor of History
Timothy Choy, Associate Professor of Science & Technology Studies
Cristiana Giordano, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Liza Grandia, Associate Professor of Native American Studies
Tim Lenoir, Professor of Science & Technology Studies and Cinema & Digital Media
Kris Fallon, Associate Professor of Cinema & Digital Media
Fiamma Montezemolo, Professor, Cinema & Digital Media

A Statement of Solidarity with the AAPI Community From ME/SA Students and Faculty

March 30, 2021

The Middle East/ South Asia Studies Program strongly condemns the hate-crime against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Atlanta, Georgia on March 16th, 2021, when a white shooter killed eight people, including six Asian women. We recognize that this horrific incident is deeply-rooted in the perpetuation of racial discrimination towards the AAPI community and is testament to the sexualization and fetishization of Asian women. In the context of growing anti-Asian hate during the ongoing pandemic, this latest attack, along with nearly 3,800 reports of hate incidents across the country since March 2020, highlights the fear, pain, and loss endured by the AAPI community.

However, we also must situate this incident in the history of Anti-Asian racism in the U.S. from the internment camps during World War II, to the more anti-immigrant, and xenophobic overtones in our current political climate that are a result of fallacies like the ‘model minority myth’. We stand in solidarity with the families and communities of those directly impacted in Georgia, as well as the AAPI community here at UC Davis. Knowing that no one is free until we are, we will continue to stand with every community in their fight against structural violence, discrimination, and oppression.

Below are resources curated by the Sociology, Anthropology and ME/SA Studies Advising Office:

Below is a list of more campus and community resources that may be helpful. There’s also this LinkTree with additional resources curated by the organization Stop AAPI Hate.

Organizations to donate to:

 Mental Health Support:

  • The National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (AANHPA) has a resource page that includes mental health service providers and both general and COVID-19 related resources.

Safety and Advocacy:

Anti-Racist Allyship & Continued Learning:


Community message regarding the murder of George Floyd - November 9, 2020

Dear Community, We witness, yet again, the senseless and brutal murder of a Black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police officers in the city of Minneapolis. The Middle East/South Asia Studies Program unequivocally and categorically condemns this racist and violent act. We stand with the family and friends of George Floyd and with all those who feel the pain and anguish of this outrageous and tragic incident. We stand in support of the human rights and human dignity of our Black brothers and sisters, and of all people of color. We live in a society in which far too many people continue to be marginalized and discriminated against in the most dehumanizing ways by the color of their skin. Many members of our academic community, undergraduate and graduate students, staff, and faculty, have suffered from racism and police violence, directly or indirectly. Many who are taking part in the current peaceful protests and demonstrations are confronting renewed forms of police repression and violence, which are likely to cause further trauma and distress. We extend our empathy and solidarity to them, and to their friends and family, especially in this time of a global pandemic, which has already resulted in widespread economic and social dislocation, affecting in unfair and unequal measure the lives of poor people and people of color. We recognize the difficult and dire circumstances ​our students face at this moment. We pledge to do all that is in our power to support their continued education and solemnly resolve to stand with them. We reaffirm our commitment to justice, equality, and diversity. We condemn all forms of racism, and racial and religious hatred. UC Davis Middle East/South Asia Studies Program Students looking for support or other information about campus resources established to work with students experiencing stress can start at the Office of Student Support or Student Health Care Services. Resources for racial trauma, the dedicated moment of silence led by Vice Chancellor Tull, and Chancellor May’s statement can be found here:

ME/SA Stands with Pittsburgh

On Saturday, October 27, 2018, eleven people were killed at the Tree of Life/Or L'Simcha synagogue in Pittsburgh. The mass murder happened during a bris, a ceremony to welcome an infant into the Jewish community. It was the deadliest antisemitic attack in the history of the United States.

The program in Middle East/South Asia studies at UC Davis stands in grief with the Jewish communities in Pittsburgh and across the country. We express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, many of whom were elders, and those who were injured, including the first responders trying to stop the shooter. We also recognize and stand in empathy with those in our community whose safety and dignity is under threat.

At a time when the forces of antisemitism have been emboldened and hate crimes against marginalized groups are on the rise, we as scholars of the Middle East and South Asia note the deep and deadly links between white supremacy and nativism, and the resurgence of intolerance and vitriol towards Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and members of many other ethnic and religious minorities. 

The symbol of the “Tree of Life,” in Jewish culture, has long represented the pursuit of knowledge. The ME/SA program at UC Davis is dedicated to pursuing and disseminating knowledge of the diverse cultures of the Middle East and South Asia in order to dispel ignorance and prejudice and clear the path toward understanding and truth. In our grief and in our condemnation of xenophobia and white supremacist violence, we recommit ourselves to this work.