Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Peace, not Pieces - Part II

While on the subject of Peace, not Pieces, we look at Lessons 3 and 4. We set out to watch this talk by Lesley Hazelton: On Reading The Koran:

Well, not everything you set out to do always goes smoothly, does it? We were a few minutes into the talk, having discussed what the word "Koran" meant - "Like the Bible for Christians," someone supplied, and "Oh, ah, that." "Who is a virgin?" I was asked, and I replied, fairly euphemistically for me I thought, "A woman who has not been 'touched'," I added the quote marks with my fingers. We must keep the cultural context in mind - and not say to the mini United Nations what one might say to Drama students, for instance. Anyway, from the slightly embarrassed grins I guessed they had understood.

And just as it was all becoming very exciting - the "highlighter version" and talking about fundamentalists and Islamophobes being adequately explained, life got even more exciting as the fire alarm rang out. No, no, there wasn't a fire - it was a practice evacuation drill, part of the CIS accreditation team's requirements. I thought we had made good time, and we made even better time on the way back.

However, just as we restarted the talk, briefly discussed the Shia-Sunni split, talked about Protestants and Catholics and the two main sects of Buddhism - the Mahayana and Hinayana - with Hazuki volunteering that her parents are Buddhists but was not willing to commit to being the same herself... the fire alarm rang again. A prank? we wondered. I stepped out into the corridor, saw Sanjeev step to the railing, look down - on his way back to his room he waved his arms indicating that it was for real. Phew, another one!

By the time we got back, the lesson was over. Then there was a challenge of procuring the LCD projector for Lesson 6. No luck. Finally, we shifted venue to the Flexi and hooked up with the projector there. Almost immediately we came up against the words "agnostic" and "hubris". We discussed Yahweh and Kyeong asked about the Gospels.

Sehun wondered what she meant by "the Koran in English is a kind of shadow of itself". The next part of the talk, to my mind, needed to be highlighted. I did, of course, wonder whether I was doing much the same thing that Hazelton appears to be warning us about - but it was not out of context to repeat that the Koran includes women, and then the "infamous verse about killing the unbelievers". We played this part a second time, connected it to her earlier statement about the "highlighter version".

In the final part, Akhil wanted me to explain the word "fecundity" - the rest appeared to have gone down clearly.

With this we got down to planning our individual presentations.

1. Pick your area/ decide on what you will create
2. Ppt, film, enactment, lecture, debate, write a script, recorded conversation
3. Create the KFW table - what you already Know; what you want/need to Find out; and Where you feel you will find it or Who you will ask.
4. Draft: Show it to friends and Cathy
5. Finalize: visual/audio material on CDs; other material - print-outs

We emphasized that what was really important to keep in mind was the object of the exercise: convince others that your plan is a "good" one - may not be the best and definitely not the only one, but a workable plan.

In the next 20 minutes, I got the opportunity to interact with several students who managed to rapidly put down where they wanted to take it. Others have promised to get back with plans very soon.

The assessment rubric is the same as always: Language, Cultural Interaction, Message.

These are baby steps we take towards our goal, and Inshallah, we shall sail towards a new sunrise because being at Peace makes so much more sense than being in Pieces.


  1. Loved your explanation of virginity...wondering what age level this is! Interestingly and humorously explained in the movie DTBHJ! :)

  2. poignant and funny as usual, how do i get in touch with you its been so long a big hug..mani