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This essay explores the rise of Asian Americans as a paradigmatic “model majority” in contemporary U.S. higher education. Focusing specifically on the University of California and its problematic relation with this racial group alongside other people of color, the essay builds a case for ethnic studies scholars to interrogate both the neoliberal institutional frameworks and the necropolitical logics of the modern-day public university. With Asians as vital players in the death-making machinery of the globalizing system, the notion of college as a place to receive “a better life” and the model minority myth are thoroughly scrutinized.

This essay focuses on the possibilities of international academic solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle. Engaging the current Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign that targets the complicity of Israeli academic institutions with Israel’s occupation of historic Palestine and its apartheid practices throughout that land, the essay calls on academics and other intellectuals to mobilize support within the academy for the campaign and demonstrates how such action can refresh and enliven radical inquiry and scholarship in the United States.

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