on blue bras and teta bras and authentic learning

Imagemy students and i presented at the diwan5 forum for the arts this weekend.

one of the sessions had a panel with nama khalil, a bamf egyptian-american grad student who is doing research on street art arising from the arab spring. one of the most memorable parts of her presentation was an analysis of the “blue bra” photo pasted above. someone captured an image of a woman who wears niqab being beaten by egyptian military police. in their aggression, they pulled up her 3abaye, revealing a cerulean-ish blue bra.

while i’m drowning in grading/planning right now — self-inflicted, of course — i will post reflections about the panel, the bra, and relevant revelations at a later time as i’m totally still processing my hot mess of written notes from the weekend.

below, however, is a text conversation i had with one of my students that revealed the power of this bra as a symbol.

it is this conference, and attending it with my students, that truly shows me the power of the real, breathing world as a space for instruction/investment in learning/and development of the self, and the authentic purpose of the actual classroom itself as a place for reflection and processing. this is a student who rarely participates in class and she initiated this conversation through text the day after we sat in the session together, scribbling notes on scrap paper, debating the ideas that were eloquently conveyed to us by panelists like suheir hammad, reem gibriel, khaled mattawa, leila tayeb, and nama khalil — to name a few.


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