Understanding texts is my bedrock teaching principle.

“Any writing is rewriting; and literature is always in the second degree.” This observation by Gerald Prince captures the essence of all human expression. Whether a poem written in an established genre, a film adaptation of a novel, a translation of a play, or a news article parody in The Onion, cultural production always rests on, and yet resists, previous cases of such production. This means that, just as my research pivots around questions of interpreting the limits of language, my bedrock teaching principle is to help students become disciplined interpreters of texts. Moreover, at some level interpretation implies community, and thus humanities teaching should also awaken in students a fierce curiosity about their own connection to a larger community of readers and writers throughout history.

In the classroom context, thinking of human expression as interpretive rewriting takes shape as three student-centered pedagogical aims. The first is to foster deep familiarity with various modes of human expression, or “texts,” as a tool for disciplined evaluation of those texts as a response to other texts. The second is to further student capacity for such textual evaluation through writing for real-life scenarios related to cultural analysis. Finally, the third aim is to equip students for lifelong learning about other cultures, and for the kind of self-reflection that is conducive to putting their own lives and the lives of others in proper perspective.

Courses taught:

Winter 2017 (upcoming): Instructor, North African Culture and Society, University of Chicago Study Abroad in Rabat, Morocco
Winter 2014: Teaching Assistant (Prof. Noha Forster), Advanced Modern Arabic, University of Chicago
Spring 2013: Teaching Assistant (Prof. Suleiman Hassan), Advanced Classical Arabic, University of Chicago
Fall 2013: Teaching Assistant (Prof. Tahera Qutbuddin), Early Islamic Thought and Literature, University of Chicago
Fall 2012-Spring 2013: Teaching Assistant (Prof. Noha Forster), Intermediate Arabic, University of Chicago
Fall 2008-Spring 2009: Teaching Assistant (Prof. Nasser Isleem), Beginning Arabic, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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