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July 12 - What is Islam, Islamic Literature, Pedagogical Choices
In Reading Discussion
Teresa Lambe (she/her)
Jul 10, 2021
I was struck by these lines from Dr. Toorawa's interview: "helping students realize and reflect on their own blindspots and misconceptions by introducing them to the texts and artifacts of groups that lie beyond their field of vision, personal experience, or expectations about different cultures: that’s really my pedagogy." This struck me on two levels- thinking about what my own blindspots are and how I identify these and then how this approach ties in with current debates regarding critical race theory (or what some perceive as CRT). Unfortunately we often teach texts as representative of a particular culture- when all they really represent is that one author's experience of their culture, not the totality. (Wouldn't it be crazy if we presented, say, Jane Austen as the end-all, be-all for white British women? I feel like This suggests to me that to get to the widening of the field of vision that Dr. Toorawa talks about, students have to be exposed to a lot of material outside their personal experience and expectations about others. This is, however. where there is currently such tension. My local school board here in NC has faced massive protests with hundreds of people at meetings to voice concern regarding CRT. It seems as though any mention of any non-white, non-"traditional" (whose tradition, though, right?) materials and suddenly there's an issue. And now to have a moment of narcissism: I'm taking this course exactly because I know that Muslim cultures are one of my own blindspots. I don't know much- but I want to know. I'm looking forward to seeing some new vistas over the next few weeks!
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