Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Background to today's politics in Pakistan

Juan Cole rightly calls this long entry on Pakistan by expert observer Barnett Rubin at Informed Comment: Global Affairs "a college education all on its own." I can speak with a little authority on this because I teach one of the few undergraduate courses offered by an Ontario university on Islamic history, and I can tell you that you won't get anything this substantial from me on Pakistan, post-independence (1947, more than 60 years ago!). Nor on India, either, and India contains very important Muslim communities. And Bangladesh, once part of Pakistan, hardly gets mentioned.

I have my excuses, of course, even valid ones. I've used the time I've allocated to post-WW II history to discuss mainly Egypt, Israel/Palestine, and to some degree Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. That may not be good enough any more. I may have to reallocate time, putting the conquests of Egypt and Bengal in the late 18th century at the end of term one instead of the beginning of term two.

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Blogger Colin Archbell said...

This is just my opinion, but the Islamic Civilizations course last year provided a great deal of background knowledge to a group of students who were predominantly Caucasians, and who had no prior knowledge of that region in the world. Like most of the students, I looked to the media for answers, which of course is very dangerous to do. This course helped us students out incredibly by understanding the current situations even if some areas were briefly touched, it gave us the opportunity to research from a starting point so that we aren't completely ignorant in the field.

10:59 AM  

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