Aaron in Azerbaijan

Just another blog about Azerbaijan.

Unexpected: The Lankaran Ayn Rand Book Club

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Myself, I’m not the biggest fan of Ayn Rand.  Her writing can be a little clunky and long, and her philosophy seems a bit over-the-top individualistic.  I’m probably in the big chunk of left-leaning folks who find the Ayn Rand fanatics amongst us to be a little unhinged.  But that didn’t stop me from saying yes to the request for an Ayn Rand Book Club in Azerbaijan.

I think this was probably one of the more unexpected activities I’ve taken up here in my Peace Corps service.  Who goes to a non-English-speaking, former Soviet, developing country to talk about the philosophy of objectivism and the worship of the individual while reading Ayn Rand?  Wasn’t in the job description.  It’s exciting, though!  At a local computer center, Lənkəran’s F.Y.I. Center set up by IREX and USAID, the director of the local center inexplicably received a box full with five sets of the Ayn Rand collection of novels, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged.  She asked if I could lead the book club as a class on these books.

So today was the first day and we covered Part I of Anthem, describing the world that Equality 7-2521 lives in and why Ayn Rand only uses the pronoun ‘we’ and what about Ayn Rand’s personal life pushed her to write about individuality in such a stark fashion.  Talking with a bunch of university students who are already convinced that collectivism is a burnable section of the How to Organize Your Society manual, there are many opportunities here to challenge the students and explore philosophy.  Anyone have recommendations for lesson plans?


Written by Aaron

December 16, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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