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"a tour de force"

"Jacob Dorman has written a masterful (even paradigm-shifting) book...a genuine tour de force.
Dorman has crafted a powerful and meticulous portrait...an engaging and thoughtful read.
--John L. Jackson, Jr., Penn

"Jacob Dorman...has made an immense contribution to our understanding of the African Diaspora, religion and modernity, and the vexing problem of cultural identity. The research is prodigious, the scope impressive, and his telling...is truly dynamic. Most importantly, Chosen People reminds us that people are not merely inheritors of tradition but its creators." --Robin D. G. Kelley, UCLA

 

History teaches us to question all received wisdom                               

...and ask to see the evidence.

 

A lot of what we read in textbooks and newspapers is wrong.

Asking a basic question  like why? or how? three times in a row can often take us to the frontier of knowledge. When we realize that experts are often fraudulent, and that not knowing opens the door to wisdom, we can actually expand the limits of what is known.

Don't take anybody's word for it; check the primary sources and archives yourself.

 

 
My students sometimes can't believe that images like this one are real, or sincere. It's so easy for us to see and critique the constructs of the past, and so hard to see today's flawed "common sense." I discuss the linked discourses of civilizationism, racism, and imperialism in my next book,  Inventing Islam.

My students sometimes can't believe that images like this one are real, or sincere. It's so easy for us to see and critique the constructs of the past, and so hard to see today's flawed "common sense." I discuss the linked discourses of civilizationism, racism, and imperialism in my next book, Inventing Islam.

Americans once believed there was nothing strange about Uncle Sam wearing a red fez with the Muslim star and crescent and the word "Islam." San Francisco, CA, c. 1890. I found this image in the attic of a Shriner lodge in San Mateo. There are a lot of amazing things in attics and basements. Get out and find them before they disappear.

Americans once believed there was nothing strange about Uncle Sam wearing a red fez with the Muslim star and crescent and the word "Islam." San Francisco, CA, c. 1890. I found this image in the attic of a Shriner lodge in San Mateo. There are a lot of amazing things in attics and basements. Get out and find them before they disappear.


On teaching...

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all feet can dance, all minds can learn.

Teaching has taught me that learning and becoming "intelligent" are both artifacts of daily effort changing the brain, just like growing muscles come from lifting heavy objects thousands of times. How hard you work is far more important than what you are working with, since we all are homo sapiens sapiens and so all have basically the same wet ware between our ears.

Photo: Mexican revolutionary hero Ernesto Zapata with an apple of knowledge and an Apple ipod. Unknown artist, Mexicali, MX, 2013.

 
I work hard to incorporate new pedagogical techniques and always improve my teaching.  The quantitative improvements in student evaluations in the same course across four semesters speak for themselves.

I work hard to incorporate new pedagogical techniques and always improve my teaching.

The quantitative improvements in student evaluations in the same course across four semesters speak for themselves.

 
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a "life-changing" prof

“I was dragged unwillingly to Kansas,” Sheu jokes.

That first semester at KU, Sheu took an American studies class with Jacob Dorman, assistant professor of history, that Sheu calls “life-changing.”

“It helped me understand all of the experiences I had gone through,” he said. “It changed my perception of KU.”

The class was so inspirational, Sheu decided to major in American studies.

--"Graduation stories: Scott Sheu takes a bite out of life at KU," KU News Release, May 2010.

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