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 in a week’s time. 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: Feeling pressured into doing this exercise will be against its spirit. If these questions seem too complicated to you,  as you deem fit, introduce yourself in a hundred handwritten words and bring those to the instructor in a week from.


1- Why are you taking this class? Avoid using the word “interesting”;

2- What do you want to know? Specify the questions that you hope this course will help you answer;

3- Background in the study of Islam? Mention the institution(s), teacher(s), or books you have read. Ever traveled to a majority Muslim country, know any Muslims personally, or have any Muslim friends?

4- Are religious or spiritual? Your religious background and journey and where are you at now?

5- Taken any other religion courses at Davidson or elsewhere? Which ones? Professor(s)?

6- What year are you? Your major OR options you are considering. Why have you chosen that major? Any minor?


1- Anything you’d like me to know about you?

2- Your name, and preferred name? Does it carry any meaning/symbolic reference? (Correct me if I mispronounce your name.)

3- Home for you? Or closest to being home?

4- Zodiac sign & date of birth

5- Most favorite book, song and a movie? Name only one for each.

6- Where do you see yourself in 10 years.