Estimated reading time: 11 minutes, 3 seconds

Very interesting points here, Maha. The example of the Quran resonated particularly with me. (There is one English translation that mixes up the order of verses and suras – done in England in the late 18th century I believe. I’ve forgotten the name of the translator.)

The common theme that runs all through your post is cultures, that is human-created phenomenon arising in communities. The Western / Orientalist culture of Quran study built around academic Orientalist traditions is quite different from the Arab Muslim culture of Quran study built around scholastic centers and schools of thought (madhaahib). Each cultural tradition describes its own, constructed reality.

We find the same thing for Feminism: Western thinkers often think that Feminism is a purely Western phenomenon, since their own traditions have historical roots in the West. But there is an indigenous Eastern Feminism – rooted in Egypt in the 19th century, that is at least as old as the Western movement and largely independent of it – this movement is represented by thinkers such as Rose El Youssef and Qasim Amin.

Turning to EdTech, non-Western scholar-activists face a dilemma when translating the largely Western experience of EdTech to another social and political context. I think this is less a matter of “language imperalism” than it is of misallignment of goals with fundamental cultural values and expectations. The issue of payent, which you mention from time to time, is an example of this. In Middle Eastern culture, payment in-kind through giving ones time and ones attention to something is often regarded as more valueable than money. These values may not align well with the 99-cents-a-pop ethos of Google Apps, which may actually seem somewhat crass in another cultural context.