The Socratic Method Man

Posted by sepoy on April 22, 2004 · 1 min read

Today, we were discussing the Khilafat Movement (1920) [i do not have a good link here because the stuff on the internet is terrible. I will write up a short thing if interest is shown by anyone remotely interested]. I have read and thought about this mass movement in India and I was hoping that I can convince my students to note the development of the political use of religious symbols as an anti-colonial practice.
My students are smart kids. Very smart kids. But they all suffer from the same epidemic - let's take these writings at face value - which prohibts any critical engagement with the text. I prodded them. I poked them. I stopped that guy who had not even DONE the reading. I even laid out my thesis in clear bullet-point.
Yet, I did not make it through. Or at least, I don't think I did. They were un-impressed. They did not buy it.
As I walked back from the class, I thought to myself...what if I am the one who is wrong? Why is my interpretation any more valid? Is my job as a teacher to make them see something only I see? Or is it to come to a consensus as a group? Or is it just to throw non-sequitors into the empty, booming space?
I am not sure. This is my first seminar class - so, hopefully, answers will come with experience. Hopefully.


nathaniel | April 25, 2004

While I, of course, would not admit to actually being interested, even under torture. I am ... intrigued ;-)

nathaniel | April 25, 2004

oops. should have read entire article before hitting post. in addition to being interested in the Khilafat Movement (ok, I said it), I would add that why is your interpretation any less valid? I think the most important thing that a teacher can do is to expose students to something outside of their day-to-day-lives; something beyond their normal scope of critical thought. If they didn't grasp it in one class, that means only that you've hit on a concept that is particularly alien to them. The idea of questioning the legitimacy of a text at a university as 'great-books' bound as the U of C would fit in that category. What that means is simply that it will take more contexts for you to push it through to them. And that, consequently, when they do realize where you are coming from (the goal is not necessarily for them to agree, but just to acknowledge the differing point of view), it will open their eyes to many new ways of looking at a text. you're good at throwing non-sequitors, my friend - and particularly at booming space, but I think what you're talking about doing with your class is exactly what you should be doing. Of course, that's just me.

MayHa | April 26, 2004

Manan- as a student of the -ummmmm- arts? yeah and sciences...sociology/economics and humanities etc. i can tell you that i would LOVE to be in your seminar..i LOVE smeinars..i love thinking OUTSIDE the box...if a group of ppl see something as black then i would see it as grey just for the sake of it...but also becuz i DO see grey...just b/c your kids dont see things your way doesnt ,mean you cant show em...whether they buy it or not is not of consequence...what is, is that they HEar what you have to say. so chin UP...khilafat movement[ sounds terribly boring n histocrial~;) ] ON ...theres a reason why you're THEir teacher innit? lay-ter lovely.

Annie Ali Khan | August 05, 2014

Dear Manan, Can you please post material on the Khilafat movement? The discussions on the political use of religious symbols as an anti-colonial practice are still fresh, with the discussions on the veil in Europe, and even Syria--at a recent discussion after a Syrian film showed at the HRW festival, questions about "radicalization" of the people were addressed to the Syrian filmmaker. I am interested in writing about the topic, and want to know where I can find stuff on KM. Best, Annie Ali Khan.

sepoy | August 06, 2014

Dear Annie, (2004 post!!!). Try Gail Minault specifically on this. And there are a number of journal articles in JSTOR that you can access on KM/iconography.