Conversations from the Pointed Firs 1/6/23: Samaa Abdurraqib

Host:Peter Neill
Producer: Trisha Badger
Music by Casey Neill

Conversations from the Pointed Firs is a monthly audio series with Maine-connected authors and artists discussing new books and creative projects that invoke the spirit of Maine, its history, its ecology, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.

This month: Samaa Abdurraqib


SAMAA ABDURRAQIB is the Executive Director of the Maine Humanities Council, a position she has held since 2021. Before MHC she taught in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program for three years at Bowdoin College, teaching courses on Muslim memoir, Islam and feminism, and representations of violence against women in literature and film. Samaa left Bowdoin in 2013 and, after teaching a semester at the University of Southern Maine, left the academia to begin a career in Maine’s nonprofit world. From 2013 through 2015, Samaa joined the staff at the ACLU of Maine as a reproductive justice organizer. After that grant funded position ended, Samaa joined the staff at the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, where she worked for five years supporting domestic violence advocates across the state through training, technical assistance, and policy work. Since March of 2021, Samaa has been working at the Maine Humanities Council and serves as the organization’s Executive Director. Samaa’s love of Maine’s natural landscape is what inspired her to shift careers and root herself in Maine. She tries to spend as much time as she can outside birdwatching, hiking, and kayaking. One of the most fulfilling roles Samaa has held is being a volunteer leader for Outdoor Afro, a national organization committed to (re)connecting Black people to the outdoors and connecting Black people to each other through the outdoors. Samaa received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s English Department in 2010. She is a published poet and nature writer.

About the host:
Peter Neill is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, a web-based place of exchange for information and educational services about the health of the ocean. In 1972, he founded Leete’s Island Books, a small publishing house specializing in literary reprints, the essay, photography, the environment, and profiles of indigenous healers and practitioners of complimentary medicine around the world. He holds a profound interest in Maine, its history, its people, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.