Type of Event: Virtual Lecture
Presenter: Laila Lalami
October 17, 2020
What does it mean to be American? In her new starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Conditional Citizens, Pulitzer Prize Finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth–such as national origin, race, or gender–that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still cast their shadows today. Throughout the book, she poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation, with the result that a caste system is maintained, keeping the modern equivalent of white male landowners at the top of the social hierarchy. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people whom America embraces with one arm, and pushes away with the other. In this event presented by the University Libraries, Lalami will read from the book and answer questions.
Laila Lalami was born in Rabat and educated in Morocco, Great Britain, and the United States. She is the author of four novels, including The Moor’s Account, which won the American Book Award, the Arab-American Book Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and The Other Americans, which was a Los Angeles Times bestseller, a best-of-2019 selection from a dozen outlets, and a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction. Lalami has received fellowships from the British Council, the Fulbright Program, and the Guggenheim Foundation and is currently a tenured professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside.
The Islamic Studies Research Network is grateful to the International Program Center Kohler Fund for its ongoing support of programming.
In preparation for Dr. Laila Lalami’s virtual presentation, the University Libraries will be hosting a virtual book club reading The Moor’s Account, which won the American Book Award, the Arab-American Book Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Please see the discussion schedule below:
The novel can be purchased from Scuppernong Books located at 304 S. Elm Street, Greensboro, NC 27401 (online appointments only), (336) 763-1919 or at http://scuppernongbooks.com/. Feel free to email the store at firstname.lastname@example.org. Shipping is available.