SALAH D. HASSAN
Salah D. Hassan was born and raised in London, Ontario. He graduated from H.B. Beal Secondary School located in London’s east end, just two blocks from the Embassy Hotel. From 1977 until 1984, he worked in several restaurants in London, including the Café du Midi, the Black Swan Bakery, and the Auberge de Petit Prince.
In 1981, Salah traveled with Ron Benner to Mexico and spent several months in the village of Ajijic, the hometown of a family friend Jesus Higuera. A few years later, in the summer of 1984, he worked as a cook and server at El Sombrero, a restaurant that Jesus had established in the Embassy Cultural House.
Salah lived in Quebec City from Sept 1984 until June 1985. He studied French at Universite Laval and was affiliated with the artist-run centre, La Chambre Blanche Gallery. In 1985, he moved to Montreal and had many close friendships in the arts community, established through connections to Oboro art centre. He received an MA in Arabic literature from McGill’s Institute of Islamic Studies in 1988. From 1988 to 1992, during the years of the first Palestinian Intifada, he was the program director for Medical Aid for Palestine in Montreal and travelled extensively in the Middle East. In Fall 1992, he relocated to Austin, Texas to do his doctoral studies at the University of Texas under the direction of Barbara Harlow (1948-2017), completing his degree in 1998.
He has contributed to several art projects initiated by Canadian artists, including Jamelie Hassan’sTrespassers and Captives (2000) and Orientalism and Ephemera (2010) and Isabelle Bernier’s collective online art project Rashid and Rosetta (launched at Oboro in 2009). He has long been involved in anti-war, anti-racist, and anti-colonial activism, and has worked with numerous groups organizing Palestine solidarity activities, opposing the Iraq war, and challenging anti-immigrant racism.
He is currently an associate professor in the Department of English and Director of the Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities Program at Michigan State University (Lansing, Michigan). His recent publications include “Radical Revisions: Barbara Harlow and Criticism Beyond Partition” (Race & Class January-March 2019), “Mapping anti-Muslim Politics in the US” in Muslims and Contemporary US Politics (2019), and “Passing Away: Despair, Eulogies, and Millennial Palestine” in The Edinburgh Companion to the Postcolonial Middle East (2020).
Banner image: view of corniche from Hamra, Beirut, 2013.
Photo credit: Salah D. Hassan