More Notes from the Classroom Finals

One of my students was gracious enough to send me the translated, full version, of the song that provided the backdrop for her final presentation on women and human rights on Thursday.  The music had everyone humming along by the end of her presentation, which was a fast paced run down of the HR violations that women endure in “undeclared” or “unrecognized” wars and how that is related to the general perception of women’s roles and women’s rights in general. Interestingly, the song is largely absent of gender analysis and I wonder what the class would have said if they were given the lyrics.

The urgency with which she rattled off soldier’s stories from the recent incursion into Palestinian territory reminded me of the same extensively documented urgency in Andy Smith’s Conquest. There is something about the way that certain oppressions are rendered invisible for the good of the state that make truth telling both saturated by immediacy and doubt. In other words, despite her extensive research, many of the questions my student received at the end of her presentation were about sources and truth value, and only with regards to the conflicts she cited that we, in the U.S., have not acknowledged as conflicts.

Again, their ability to speak across differences with respect and genuine desire to learn together was impressive, especially given how little these desires are manifest in online discussion dominated by their same age group and backgrounds. Though some of their questions and thoughts still came from that privileged turned otherizing or erasing place, it was their respect for each other and the willingness to speak from that place of shared learning that ultimately led to a productive post presentation discussion. Where I am sometimes horrified by what they hold on to, I am always blessed by what they are willing to work through at the end of the term that they would never have questioned, let alone troubled and worked through publicly, at the beginning of it.

Ultimately, I am very proud of all they learned this term and what each has brought to the table.  And yet, that does not mediate the mound of grading and extra office hours left to do before graduation!!!


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