Wrapping up a class on early Arab-Muslim history last week I was once more reminded of the examples of new cities that were created by rulers, the ones that worked and the one that didn’t. But in addition to the usual reasons for creating a new city, typically a new capital – announcing the arrival … More Cities in the Desert
I am grading exams, again. And once more various feelings of discomfort bubble up and stop in my throat. In addition to the frustrations especially those relating to “bearing to hear the words you’ve spoken, twisted…” there’s the one about language. Literary critics and culture studies people have discussed the relation of language and colonialism … More Teaching, language, neocolonialism
One issue that I often come up against in class, while discussing early Islamic history in particular, is this relationship between religion and politics. My students come with a very modern understanding of the relationship between the two (a normative separation). That’s normal, I suppose. The twist is that they don’t realize it’s modern. When … More It’s good to be confused?
Some colleagues have commented elsewhere on my previous post “Teaching the Arab Conquests in the Wake of Isis” and here are more reflections in reply. Whereas perhaps earlier Western academics had presented the Arab conquests as violent and military, more recent scholarship has changed the emphasis considerably. So rather than present the seventh century conquests … More Teaching the Arab Conquests II
My friend and colleague Maha Bali inspired me to start a teaching blog. Let me back-track: Maha and I were speaking about reflection; reflecting on teaching and how there’s hardly a “good time” to do this. I find myself coming up with good ideas for how to do things better usually in the second half … More Teaching the Arab Conquests in the wake of ISIS