Monday, October 09, 2006

Culture Shock

So here I am in southeast Asia, teaching for a couple of weeks, and today a student tells me that dogs are unclean in Muslim culture.

How is it that I hadn't heard this before?

And what does it mean for my pedagogy, given that I came here with my Zen dog project as a fun in-class model for the research projects we're doing? (Have I begun to inadvertently alienate some of my students?)

And what do I do with this information?

I'm just deeply processing all this--my intercultural ignorance, my sadness that a community (or a portion of a community?) cannot experience a dimension of animal interaction that I've come to treasure above just about everything, my need to regroup in the classroom and pay closer attention to how I discuss my dogs.

The best thing to come of this, so far, is that it's truly an opportunity to learn from my students. But I'm still sad.


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