Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happiness, Semester Classes, and the like!

So another semester has begun. Only, this time, I'm being brave and starting with a positive attitude! I'm going to make myself happy and keep myself relaxed no matter what comes my way.

 That's prolly because I'm taking some of the most exciting classes anyone would be blessed to take. (If you live close to a university/college and are not a student, I would urge you to check with the institution if non-students are allowed to audit courses. At my university, for example, it's $20 - I'm not sure if that's per class or per semester, but the point is that the option's there. Most colleges and unis out there offer really good classes that might interest you and that you won't regret taking, so if auditing options are available near you, please take advantage of them. If the option isn't there, you can always visit the university/college, become friends with some faculty member(s) whose information you find on the school website in a department of your interest, and ask them to give you the reading list / syllabus so that you can check out the books at a library instead. Or ask them if you can attend their class. Most professors are generous and will be happy to have you over.)

So I'm taking a migration class, a feminist anthropology class, Arabic/Islamic qaseeda (ghazal, poetry), and French. I'm auditing French because I need to be able to pass my reading exam in French for comps.  The instructor is really good (AND we share interests in gender/women's issues - that's always, always a huge yayyy!), and the class has been fun so far, hamdulillah.

The migration class is eye-opening to say the least. There's so much to know, the readings are exciting and informative, class discussions are stimulating and there's lots of laughter, and there's lots of sharing of personal experiences and observations! I always love those kinds of discussions :) It's the kind of class where my experiences as a Pakistani Pashtun immigrant American Muslim woman are seen as important knowledge of a specific immigrant population in America. For some, it might also be taken as data, and that's okay with with me - I actually appreciate that :) We get to be creative with our response papers to the readings, and I might share some on my blog every once in a while, inshaAllah.

Then there's feminist anthropology. Squeeee! Another discussion-based, interactive class that I'm grateful I have an opportunity to take. It's taught by two professors - a social/cultural anthropologist and a physical anthropologist. We have fascinating discussions of the different definitions of common terms that pop up in our readings ... even "power"! Both teachers share their research experiences every now and then to clarify certain points raised in the readings/discussions, so we end up learning so much more than some of us -- or at least I -- expected.
a sifaka (pt # 3 below)

For example, 1) it turns out that bonobos, a type of apes, are even more closely related to humans than previously thought (so, apparently more than 98.4% of our DNA is identical to theirs) -- and that they're more closely related to humans than they are to gorillas. And bonobos have homosexual relations and tendencies, despite popular claims among a lot of homophobes that "you can't find ONE animal species being homosexual or doing any homosexual activities." Uh, yeah, we can.  So, bonobos have sex to resolve conflict; they don't care who the sex is with - old, young, same sex, different sex, etc.

2) on experiments conducted to figure out how fish swim: turns out, a lot of the things that fish have, they don’t really need them to swim; it’s leftovers from their previous evolutionary stage.

3) Sifakas. Their male and female are the  same size. They live in neighborhoods in larger communities like humans. But unlike humans, their females have dominant roles and are overall dominant over their males.

See?! This is so exciting!! Learning is so exciting! Alhamdulillah :)

Other than classes, I'm again this semester in the university ensemble :) Our director has graciously allowed me to sing a Pashto song that the ensemble will be playing the music for! The concert is in April. I'll be singing two songs, but one of them is so, so personal to me - it's a beautiful message to daughters, it's half Pashto and half Persian. Hear it below - or if you don't have access to Youtube (like in Pakistan - psh! Can you believe Pakistan still has Youtube banned?! What a stinker), click here.

KHOKAY, Y'ALL!!! Bottom line, I've a rrreally, really good feeling this is going to be a good semester, inshaAllah :)

k, thanks for reading!


  1. Wish you all the best and happy days ahead! If possible, please share your songs then.

    1. Thank you, Siraj Khana! :) Will do, ka khairee - if I like them, hah!


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