on FIRST day

The idea of sharing a space and conversations with folks for a full semester while remaining strangers seems absurd to me. Questions below are my attempt to address this problem at the outset and be intentional about it. If you are also haunted by the absurdity of “estrangement in classroom”, I invite you to write out (ideally in handwriting) reply to these questions at the beginning of the second week of the semester. They are in order of priority/significance; feel free to skip those that you’d rather not answer. And you may choose to say as little or as much as you are inspired to. 

NOTE: This exercise is totally optional. Being pressured into doing it will be against its spirit.

    1. Why are you taking this class? Avoid using the word “interesting”;
    2. What do you want to know? Specify clearly the questions that you hope this course will help you answer;
    3. Background in the study of Islam? Mention the institution(s), teacher(s), books you have read and other relevant details. Do you have any Muslim friends? Do you know any Muslims personally? Have you traveled to a majority Muslim country or area? Mention any details that you’d like.
    4. Have you taken any other religion courses at Davidson? Or elsewhere? Which ones? Professors?
    5. Your religious background, journey and where you are at now? Do you consider yourself religious or spiritual?
    6. What year are you? Your major OR options you are considering. Why you chose that major? Any minor?
    1. What is your name? (and if you stay, please help me pronounce it correctly)? Does it carry any meaning/symbolic reference? If so, what is it?
    2. Zodiac sign & date of birth
    3. What’s home for you? Or closest to being home?
    4. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
    5. Most favorite book, song and movie? Name only one for each!
    6. Is there anything else that you’d like to say to me?