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Woman dragged off Southwest flight taught at Harvard Divinity School

At this point, the scenes from the airline-passenger meltdowns are familiar: the aggrieved and perhaps uncooperative flyer; the law enforcement officers pleading and commanding; the shocked and irritated passengers pulling out cellphones.
At this point, the scenes from the airline-passenger meltdowns are familiar: the aggrieved and perhaps uncooperative flyer; the law enforcement officers pleading and commanding; the shocked and irritated passengers pulling out cellphones.

The woman who was forcibly removed from a Southwest Airlines flight Tuesday night — an incident that went viral and raised more questions about how airlines treat passengers — once taught at Harvard Divinity School.

Anila Daulatzai was a research associate and visiting assistant professor of women’s studies and Islamic studies at the school from 2014 to 2015. She taught a graduate-level seminar course titled “Talibanization” in the fall of 2014, according to Harvard’s website.

Daulatzai, 46, made headlines after she was pulled off a flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles Tuesday and a video of her struggling with law enforcement officers was widely shared on the Web.

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At one point in the video, she yells, “I’m a professor!”

Daulatzai was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, disturbing the peace, obstructing and hindering a police officer, and resisting arrest, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority Police. After she was taken into custody, she was brought to the Anne Arundel County Court Commissioner and released on her own recognizance.

Daulatzai could not be reached for comment.

A profile page on Harvard’s website describes Daulatzai as a socio-cultural anthropologist with active research projects in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Her bio states that she holds graduate degrees in public health and Islamic studies from UCLA, a PhD in socio-cultural anthropology from The Johns Hopkins University, and that her “interests primarily circulate around the themes of war and humanitarianism, as well as the related themes of violence and care.”

After leaving Harvard in 2015, she continued her academic career and ultimately landed a position at the Maryland Institute College of Art. The college’s website lists her as a new hire for the 2017-18 school year and a course catalog for graduate students states that’s she teaching a course titled “Women and Islam” this fall. Maryland Institute College of Art spokesman Derek Parsons confirmed that Daulatzai is currently a member of the faculty but declined to comment on what transpired aboard the plane.

“The college has no comment about the incident at this time,” Parsons wrote in an e-mail.


Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.