Pakistan Education Project

In 1957, Francis S. Chase, the founding Dean of the Graduate School of Education, established at the University of Chicago the “Pakistan Education Project” with support from the Ford Foundation. The purpose of the project was to improve education through teacher-training programs at extension centers in what was then East and West Pakistan and to improve facilities for students at those university campuses.

The program led to the establishment of 43 pilot secondary schools and new educational centers were organized at the University of Dhaka and Punjab University. More than 5,000 teachers and administrators were trained in the Pakistan Education Project with many Pakistani teachers coming to Chicago for their training.

From 1963 – 1973, this project was directed by Kenneth Rehage, who travelled extensively to Pakistan. He also directed the University’s Peace Corps Training Program for Pakistan in 1963.

Kenneth Rehage, Professor Emeritus in Education and a celebrated teacher, passed away this January. He was 96.

I will try and find out more about the Pakistan Education Project. Not many details are available online – though, a dissertation was written on it in 1962 by Alan Peshkin. But I will note this: In a report Kenneth Rehage wrote for the Elementary School Journal in 1958, I was struck by these words: “The influence of Sputnik was keenly felt at this conference.” The conference was on the future of high school education in America and Pakistan. Think about it.

Fire in the Belly

I admit that I find it extremely hard to post here. In general, for a variety of reasons, I have very little energy for anything.

Last night, I saw 300 – the war porn movie. Usually, I’d expect myself to post some snarky review talking about Xerxes the cuban transsexual. Or at least some comment about history as particular form of jingoistic myth-making. But I really don’t want to… or perhaps this is all the comment that movie deserves.

I have noticed that people I used to read 2 years ago, have all departed. Or gone largely silent. To my detriment, I have not found new writers. What gives? Is blogging over, folks? And I just didn’t get the memo? Maybe, I can turn to the confessional? Except, I hate talking about myself – yes, even in real life.

Oh, that NYer cartoon is funny.

update: In private correspondence, it was brought to my attention that this post is “depressing.” I apologize for any distress or feelings of blue-ness caused to you, my gentle readers. As a palliate, I recommend reading this with sunglasses. [ht: lapata]

Welcome to the AARP, Mr. Ben Laden!

Happy Birthday OsamaDear Mr. Ben Laden:

Happy 50th birthday and welcome to the AARP! This is a very special birthday because it qualifies you for membership in one of the fastest growing organizations in the United States, the American Association of Retired Persons. AARP is all about beginnings, and depending on which type of membership you choose, this could be the start of the best years of your life. Whether it’s our monthly Magazine packed with news, entertainment and sage advice (yours with a basic membership package– only $12.50 per month), our powerful advocacy efforts for issues that are important to informed seniors like you and me (such as Medicaid and Social Security), or our fantastic Mature Explorers™ vacation packages and tours, you’ll find that AARP has a little something for everyone.
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Desi Comedians Don’t Do Yo Mama! Jokes

At a dinner table, recently, I asserted that ‘family’ was largely absent from the routines of desi comedians. Their comedy was largely set in the habermasian realm of the public [yes that is a joke. of course, I would never say anything like ‘habermasian realm’. ever]. You get lots of material about interactions with the pre-dominant caucasian society, prejudices, life after 9/11 etc. But no sa’as-bahoo jokes. No Auntie Ji jokes. Nothing even about mothers and grandmothers. And definitely no Sardar Ji jokes. Why is that? I wondered. I don’t really know the answer nor am I sure that my assertion is even correct.

So, I compiled a list of desi comedians that I am somewhat familiar with – along with some links to their youtube etc. routines. Maybe you folks can help sort it all out.

  • Tinku Patel & Azhar Usman. I was in a security checkout line at O’Hare with Azhar Usman. Fun.
  • Rajiv Satyal. I really don’t know much about him besides that he is from around Cincinnati. Which sucks for him. Trust me, I know.
  • Hari K. Kondabolu. The tips for brown people is predictable but funny. Also see his blog entry on being a desi comic.
  • Aziz Ansari. Ok. I love Aziz Ansari but, the only thing desi about his comedy is … him. Nothing wrong with that and nothing funnier than Clell Tickle: Indie Marketing Guru.
  • Aladdin Ullah. I couldn’t find any links to his stand-up.
  • Some more random ones.
  • Daniel Nainan. Now he does tackle family. But is that because he is taking his cue from Margaret Cho, Eliot Chang and other Asian-American comedians?

Also, asserted at that dinner table: The only people who can laugh at themselves in homistans are the Sikhs [Punjabis in general – maybe].

Feel free to take up either assertion.

Interview: Werner Horvath on his artwork, his collection of totalitarian paintings, his two ateliers and life as an artist-physician

Ahmadinejad by Werner HorvathBackground: A few months ago I wrote about artistic depictions of Usama bin Laden. I posted a painting of my own and the works of three well-known artists, Werner Horvath (Austria), Sokari Camp-Douglas (Nigeria/UK) and Hassan Musa (Sudan/UK), as well as one (or more?) Bengali folk artists. Recently Werner Horvath came across that post and left some comments. I followed the link to his website and was fascinated by his Virtual Museum of Totalitarian Art. Subsequently I got in touch with him and asked him for an e-nterview. Q & A, posted below.

Lapata: Tell me about your collection of totalitarian art, which is fantastic. Do you personally own all of these paintings? If so, is there a non-virtual exhibit of them, or do you keep them in your home? What made you start collecting this kind of art, and when did you start?

Werner Horvath: Approximately 15 years ago I visited the art museums of Paris, France. I was so fascinated by the art displayed there, that I decided to become an art collector as well (a painter I have been all my life, even during my 25 years in the medical profession). But what kind of art should I collect? Well, counting my money, I knew I could either “collect” one single painting of a famous artist (at least a small one), or I had to find another way. At the same time I saw paintings in the style of Soviet Socialist Realism in Austria. Nobody liked them; therefore they were cheap. And when I looked at the paintings more closely, not through the lens of the propaganda of that system, I began to understand their beauty. Roses for Stalin by Vladimirski, from the collection of Werner HorvathFor example look at these two paintings done by the artist Vladimirski: “Roses for Stalin” and “Black Ravens”. They show the two sides of the soul of Vladimirski. In creating the Stalin picture, he was a propaganda artist, perfect in technique, but totally keeping within the system. But how the work “Black Ravens” could pass censorship, is still unknown: the “Black Ravens” were the cars used by the KGB to arrest civilians, often in the wee hours in the morning. They were notorious in creating an atmosphere of fear. Fascinating these two sides of an artist being part of a repressive system, isn’t it?
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