In my latest reading of The Search for God at Harvard, I enjoyed Ari Goldman’s discussion of Annemarie Schimmel, who taught a class that he took called “Muslim Religious Life”. According to Goldman, Annemarie Schimmel closed her eyes and lectured for the next fifty minutes, only opening her eyes occasionally. Even when the lights in the classroom went off and a student had to fix the light switch’s timer to bring the lights back on, Annemarie Schimmel didn’t miss a beat: she kept on lecturing through all of that! And she interspersed her lectures with some anecdotes and humor.
I like it when academia (or any other institution) gives people the leeway to be eccentric, as long as they get the job done. Life would be boring without that!