Friday, March 12, 2010

March 15-19 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: On Inside Islam: The Art of Qur’anic Recitation: Working with Anna M. Gade and Reem Hilal on this program made me understand how Muslims who memorize the Koran without knowing Arabic can still be getting the message. Perhaps we in the West over-emphasize cognition in our pedagogy. There are other ways of learning, as anyone who studies poetry can tell you. Being a multifaceted text that defies ordinary notions of what a book is supposed to be, the Qur’an lends itself to many different levels of understanding. Donald Hall, who taught me how to write poetry, used to talk about the difference between semantics – i.e. the dictionary meaning of a word – and somatics (soma meaning body) – i.e. meaning that is conveyed primarily through the sounds that words make. When you combine these two ways of understanding, and more as in Qur’anic recitation, it’s like combining body, mind, and soul.

Monday: Bringing Hope to Liberia: In the wake of a prolonged and particularly vicious civil war, Liberia is still a country without roads, banks, toilets, or even a postal system. So, given those circumstances, how did one former Peace Corps volunteer manage to return to the country and build a school there?

Iron Ladies of Liberia, a film about President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Liberia in the aftermath of its civil war, will be shown at Edgewood College in Madison, Wi, on March 23, call 233-0775 for more information.

Tuesday: The Fight for a Better Burma: Burma is home to the longest-running civil war in the world, which has been taking place between the ethnic group of the Karen and the Burmese state for over 60 years. Mac McClelland spent time with Karen refugees who risk their lives to make their story known. We talk with her about her new book, For Us Surrender Is Out Of Question.

Wednesday: Faith in Schools: The work of American missionaries in places like Eastern Africa is accompanied by promises for a better world but also surrounded by a lot of controversy. We talk with Amy Stambach, Professor of Educational Policy and Anthropology at UW-Madison, about the two-way exchange between missionaries and local people.

Thursday: International Poetry Day: In honor of the spring solstice, we celebrate poetry from around the world with Susan Harris of Words Without Borders.

Friday: Irish Country Cooking: If Irish food makes you think of boiled potatoes and cabbage, Colman Andrews’ new cookbook The Country Cooking of Ireland will change your view. A country rich in bakers, farmers, and cheesemakers, and with sea coasts teeming with fish and fields verdant with produce, Ireland has been a hotbed of farm-to-table dining for centuries. We’ll learn its culinary secrets as we explore its flavorful and earthy fare.

I’m on my way to St. Croix Falls to participate in their Big Read festival honoring Thornton Wilder. I may catch a film at the Arab Film Festival while enroute through the Twin Cities to see my son.

Enjoy the snowdrops while they last!


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