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Plankton Dreams: What I Learned in Special-Ed

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Book Series: Immediations ISBN: 9781785420078 9781785420139 Year: Pages: 88 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_560011 Language: English
Publisher: Open Humanities Press
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2015-07-05 11:01:15
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In Plankton Dreams,Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay crafts a proud, satiric style: the special ed student as literary troublemaker. 'Mother had always taught me to learn from circumstance,' he writes. 'Here, the circumstance was humiliation, a particularly instructive teacher.' 'But I’m not complaining,' he continues. 'Humiliation, after all, made me a philosopher.' For all of its comic effects, the book alerts readers to an alternative understanding of autism, an understanding that autistics themselves have been promoting for years. Frustrated by how most scientists investigate autism, Mukhopadhyay decides to investigate neurotypicality, treating his research subjects the way he himself was treated. Why shouldn’t the autist study the neurotypical? This artful parody of scientific endeavor salvages dignity from a dark place. It also reveals a very talented writer. It is most certainly time to study the neurotypical—his or her relentless assumptions. Perhaps by doing so we may devise a more humble and hospitable society.

Witness to Marvels

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ISBN: 9780520973688 9780520306332 Year: Pages: 337 DOI: 10.1525/luminos.76 Language: English
Publisher: University of California Press
Subject: Religion --- History
Added to DOAB on : 2019-09-20 11:21:03
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Witness to Marvels traces the development of a unique genre of Sufi-inspired Bengali romances called pir kathas, whose protagonists and plots are wholly fictive. For five centuries these fabulations have parodied indigenous and Hindu textual traditions. Both mimicking and mocking, these parodies adopted a subjunctive tone, exploring a magical world of ‘what-if’. They created an Islam-inflected space within a traditional Bengali cultural environment without trying to legislate what ideally ‘should be’ according to tropes common to Islamic history, theology, and law. The tales’ discursive arena, the imaginaire, delineated the realm of possibility for how these tales might exercise the imagination to integrate Hindu and Islamic cosmologies. Tales insinuated themselves into locally relevant discourses through elaborate intertextual connections, subtly shifting presuppositions about the way the world works and what counts as religious authority. As Allah looked on from heaven, the tales routinely assigned Sufi saints, both pirs and bibis, to the pivotal role of avatar, the periodic descent of divinity, equating them to the Hindu god Narayan. Adopting a semiotic strategy to interpret these tales yields a bold new perspective on the subtle ways Islam assumed its distinctive form in Bengal and suggests how we need to reimagine conversion in this region.

Keywords

avatar --- Bengali --- conversion --- katha --- Hindu --- Islam --- imaginaire --- imagination --- parody --- pir --- romance --- saint --- semiotics --- subjunctive --- Sufi

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