Thursday, February 05, 2009

Scholars as Symbols

From Daphna Ephrat's A Learned Society in a Period of Transition: The Sunni 'Ulama of Eleventh-Century Baghdad:
"Whether fact or fiction, stories about the 'cosmopolitan' scholar, a man whose sense of belonging to the wider scholarly community surpassed local allegiances, illustrated for their readers and listeners the unity of the Islamic community, the umma, and heightened a universal sense of 'being Muslim'"

Many college professors try to convey a sense that they belong to a wider discipline and scholarly community. However, could one take this a step further and suggest that by demonstrating for students that they are at home internationally, they create an image of a globalized world to which the students themselves are tied? Or does the bridging element fail, leaving the professor as a traveler between spheres which remain conceptually separate?



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