Asma Barlas

Asma Barlas

Retired Professor, Department of Politics
Faculty, School of Humanities and Sciences

Faculty excellence award comments

Thank you very much for this award; relieved it isn't the Hell Raiser's Lifetime Achievement prize since that’s not how I’d like to be remembered. I’m very grateful for your recognition especially since I work alongside many stellar teachers, scholars, and campus and community leaders who are deserving of it as well.


Teaching was my third career and I came to it rather late in life. In fact, I was 41 when I joined IC as an assistant professor. But, I’ve appreciated it the most even though the process of being in the academy was at some level self-destructive. I say this because I’ve been trying to excavate my own intellectual foundations ever since grad school when I first began to recognize that I was a colonized subject whose first language, English, isn't even her mother tongue. Being in the classroom allowed me to continue dismantling parts of myself, which is perhaps why I chose to teach what—and how-- I did.


And, that of course was self indulgent since my own struggles and desires and anxieties shaped the texts I picked with which generations of students then had to struggle as well. I also feel self-indulgent because I had the freedom to write about things that mattered most to me and to speak my mind, freely, even when doing so was the wrongest thing to do.


So, I’m grateful to my students and faculty and staff colleagues for having given me the space to find myself more fully through my teaching and scholarship and service; to then reward me for the journey is astonishing to me!

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