Asked to recommend a faculty reading that might counteract our habits of overspecialization, I nominate Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies (2008), the first novel in his Ibis trilogy. Reading Ghosh has offered me not only a fascinating introduction to the Indian Ocean world but also an occasion to reflect upon the dynamics of a good classroom in which both instructor and student are called upon to acknowledge their intellectual vulnerability, commit to working with others to produce knowledge, and recognize that our efforts may result in more questions than answers or in disagreements as well as consensus. Critical generosity and a doubly attentive listening are proposed as strategies by which faculty and students may navigate Ghosh’s large geographical, historical, and intellectual terrain and strengthen muscles of reflexivity, collaboration, and respect.


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pp. 255-262
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