Middle East Studies


***The following are examples of courses that might count towards the foundational requirement with approval of MES concentration adviser***

ANTH 1150 Middle East in Anthropological Perspective Professor Asli Zengin
A seminar focusing on anthropological methods of analyzing and interpreting Middle Eastern cultures and societies. Emphasizes the study of kinship, tribal structure, social organization and gender relations, ethnic groups relations, and urban-rural distinctions. Draws upon insights from these topics as a basis for understanding contemporary social, economic, and political dynamics in the region.

COLT 0510K The 1001 Nights Professor Elias Muhanna
Explores the origins, performance, reception, adaptation, and translation of the 1001 Nights, one of the most beloved and influential story collections in world literature. We will spend the semester in the company of genies, princes, liars, slaves, mass murderers, orientalists, and Walt Disney, and will consider the Nights in the context of its various literary, artistic, and cinematic afterlives.

HIST 0243 Modern Middle East Roots, 1492 to the Present Professor Faiz Ahmed
The goal of this course is to provide students with a broad overview of Modern Middle Eastern history. Following the expulsion of the Moors and Jews of Iberia, we journey to the opposite end of the Mediterranean with continued Turkic expansions into southeastern Europe, the Arab world, and Iran. Then, the “long” nineteenth century: an era of profound transformation culminating in the Ottoman Empire’s partition, primarily by British and French colonial rule. Finally, we explore forces shaping the twentieth century Middle East, from nationalism to oil, Islamism to “street” politics, and military interventions by the US, USSR, and regional powers.

HIST 1202 Formation of the Classical Heritage: Greeks, Romans, Jews, Christians, and Muslims Professor Kenneth Sacks
Explores essential social, cultural, and religious foundation blocks of Western Civilization, 200 BCE to 800 CE. The main theme is the eternal struggle between universalism and particularism, including: Greek elitism vs. humanism; Roman imperialism vs. inclusion; Jewish assimilation vs. orthodoxy; Christian fellowship vs. exclusion, and Islamic transcendence vs. imminence. We will study how ancient Western individuals and societies confronted oppression and/or dramatic change and developed intellectual and spiritual strategies still in use today. Students should be prepared to examine religious thought from a secular point of view. There is no prerequisite or assumed knowledge of the period.

MES 1235 Policing and Imprisonment in the Modern Middle East  Professor Alex Winder
Class syllabus
Policing has figured prominently in recent events in the Middle East, from the self-immolation of the Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi after his alleged harassment by police, widely regarded as the catalyst for the so-called Arab Spring, to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, an entity that has earned notoriety not only through its battlefield victories, its success in drawing international recruits, and its spectacular destruction of centuries-old historical sites, but also through its brutal enforcement of a particularly draconian “law and order” in areas under its control. Even before these events, repressive regimes in the region—whether colonial, nation-state, or foreign military occupation—relied heavily on police, prisons, and criminal law to maintain power and authority. This course will use policing and repression as a lens through which to view recent uprisings and ongoing conflicts, as well as questions of state and non-state violence that loom large in the region. Major topics around which the course centers are: the role of Islam in the development of law and criminal justice in the modern Middle East; the imposition of European colonial rule and the repression of anti-colonial revolts; the rise of police states in the post-colonial Middle East; the production and maintenance of a gendered social order; non-state and informal mechanisms of maintaining “law and order”; and the role of law and security in the Arab uprisings of this decade and its aftermath. This course offers a comparative examination of the concept of policing and such as provides an important social science perspective regarding the topic.

fullfills capstone requirement

ASYR 0310 Thunder-gods and Dragon-slayers: Mythology + Cultural Contact - Ancient Mediterranean and Near East (Felipe Rojas Silva)

COLT 0510K The 1001 Nights
(Elias Muhanna)

COLT 1431E Loss in Modern Arabic Literature (Gregory Halaby)

FREN 1410T L'expérience des réfugiés: déplacements, migrations (Virginia Krause)

JUDS 1670 Ancient Synagogues, Churches, and Mosques in Palestine (Katharina Galor)

JUDS 1750 Jews in the World of Islam (TBD)

HIST 1202 Formation of the Classical Heritage: Greeks, Romans, Jews, Christians, and Muslims (Kenneth Sacks)

HIST 1963Q Sex, Power, and God: A Medieval Perspective (Amy Remensnyder)

HIST 1964L Slavery in the Early Modern World
(Adam Teller)

HIST 1968A Approaches to the Middle East (Faiz Ahmed)

INTL 1802Q Iran and the Islamic Revolution (Stephen Kinzer)
Class syllabus

MES 1235 Policing and Imprisonment in the Modern Middle East (Alex Winder)
Class syllabus

MES 1243 Understanding Palestine-Israel: Ideologies and Practices (Adi Ophir)
Class syllabus

RELS 0290D Islamic Sexualities (Nancy Khalek)

URBN 1870K Jerusalem Since 1850: Religion, Politics, Cultural Heritage (Katharina Galor)