Throwing one in, for good measure. I remember the introductory class like it was yesterday. Patta gave us an overview of the class, we watched Akshay on youtube and shared why we each picked the class. I remember sharing that this class was my wild card – I wanted to do something that was not me. Well, let me just say it was quite a trip!
I remember key phrases shared on this first day:
- “This is a theory heavy class and we do not apologise for it”
- “There will be philosophical material…..”
- “The readings are heavy, so when reading if you do not understand a line, do not get stuck, continue and you will get to understand as you move along”
Philosophy, heavy theory….what did I get myself into!!!!!!!
I bet I am not the only one who has experienced this. So I figured it would be great to share a how-to-guide for future unrulistas who may not necessarily absorb theory as easily as others, who ask themselves – ‘so now, how does this practically work’.
These were the tips that got me through 6 GREAT weeks!
1) Allow yourself to be affected and infected by others – There were time I was not excited or worse could not understand what the class was talking about. This was because the reading was hard – Agamben and Latin!!!!! At these times, I fed off the class-animated discussion. Watching everyone in the room, allowing the sound of Akshay’s bangles and body language to speak the excitement of Ranciere’s words. This contributed to my understanding of some of the tough concepts.
2) Connect theory to stories/experiences – I found that as we spoke about the different concept I could relate some of it to what had happened and was happening back home. I must say this class reconnected and revived my passion for Kenya. It made me reflect on different unruly acts and people I found interesting/admired:
- Njonjo Mue breaking into song (National Anthem) while court proceeding were going on against him. Watching him on TV and thinking he had gone nuts. Meeting him years later and inviting him to preach at a Presbyterian Church Service.
- Wangari Maathai with mother of detained prisoners stripping at Uhuru Park demanding the release of their sons. Meeting Wangare Maathai and being awed by her intelligence.
- Boniface Mwangi of Power254, the not so new unrulista on the block, boldly taking the fight not only to the street but on social media
Reading theory, reflecting on stories made me understand that being unruly doesn’t mean being dull minded or throwing a tantrum.
3) This bring me to point 3 – be still and let it sink: What I share above is simple reflection and I find that every now and then a mental compartment opens and I have an Aha moment. The class has planted seeds that are receiving and hopefully will continue to receive the required conditions to germinate and influence. I am looking forward to reading the articles again at a much slower pace.
4) I promise you, you may not find answer so stop looking for them. You will leave with more questions than you started with and you may probably be left with the idea that life is about continually improving failures.
My mind was stretched, I now look at words more deeply, it was the second best choice I ever made at IDS! First being the Participation, Power and Social Change MA!
That was me, what about you? Any tips to share?