Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (2018 - 2020)
The Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies schedules placement examinations throughout the academic year. For placement at the appropriate level, students must always consult the department. If students interrupt their study of a language sequence for one or more semesters, the department may (re) administer the placement exam before allowing them to register for another course in the sequence.
Undergraduates who have completed the full intermediate level are eligible to register for advanced courses in Arabic, Hindi, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu through the Graduate School of Arts and Science.
Elementary Arabic I, II
MEIS-UA 101, 102 Offered every year. 4 points per term.
Builds basic skills in modern standard Arabic. Five hours per week of instruction and drills stressing the proficiency approach, plus work in the language laboratory.
Intermediate Arabic I, II
MEIS-UA 103, 104 Prerequisite for the sequence: Elementary Arabic II (MEIS-UA 102) or equivalent. Offered every year. 4 points per term.
Increased emphasis on writing and reading from modern sources, in addition to aural/oral proficiency.
Advanced Arabic I, II
MEIS-GA 1005, 1006 Prerequisite for the sequence: Intermediate Arabic II (MEIS-UA 104) or equivalent. Offered every year. Ferhadi. 4 points per term.
Conducted entirely in modern standard Arabic. Further hones the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Principal features of colloquial dialects of Arabic are introduced.
Contemporary Media and Literary Arabic I, II
MEIS-GA 1112, 1113 Prerequisite for the sequence: Advanced Arabic II (MEIS-GA 1005) or equivalent. Offered every year. Ferhadi. 4 points per term.
Contemporary Arabic media, magazine articles, newspapers, and journals.
MEIS-GA 1118 Prerequisite: Intermediate Arabic II (MEIS-UA 104) or equivalent. Offered every year. 4 points.
Dialects of Arabic vary by semester. Does not satisfy the College Core Curriculum foreign language requirement.
Elementary Urdu I, II
MEIS-UA 301, 302 Offered every year. 4 points per term.
The Urdu alphabet, grammar, and sentence structure. All four language skills are emphasized—writing and reading, as well as speaking and listening. Cultural background.
Intermediate Urdu I, II
MEIS-UA 303, 304 Prerequisite for the sequence: Elementary Urdu II (MEIS-UA 302) or equivalent. Offered every year. 4 points per term.
Dictation, memorizing poetry, comprehension, and engagement in longer sessions of conversation. Students polish skills in reading literary texts and writing short essays.
Advanced Urdu I, II
MEIS-GA 1107, 1108 Prerequisite for the sequence: Intermediate Urdu II (MEIS-UA 304) or equivalent. Offered every year. 4 points per term.
An overview of Urdu culture via authentic texts. Improves students’ reading, writing, and speaking.
Elementary Persian I, II
MEIS-UA 401, 402 Offered every year. 4 points per term.
Grammar, phonetics, and pronunciation of modern standard Persian, reading simple texts, and writing short compositions.
Intermediate Persian I, II
MEIS-UA 403, 404 Prerequisite for the sequence: Elementary Persian II (MEIS-UA 402) or equivalent. Offered every year. Alizadeh. 4 points per term.
Continued work in grammar, syntax, and speaking. Introduction to classical and modern prose and poetry.
Advanced Persian I, II
MEIS-GA 1415, 1416 Prerequisite for the sequence: Intermediate Persian II (MEIS-UA 404) or equivalent. Offered every year. Alizadeh. 4 points per term.
Focuses on modern Persian fiction.
Elementary Hindi I, II
MEIS-UA 405, 406 Offered every year. Ilieva. 4 points per term.
Development of reading, speaking, listening, and writing skills. Language and computer lab sessions.
Intermediate Hindi I, II
MEIS-UA 407, 408 Prerequisite for the sequence: Elementary Hindi II (MEIS-UA 406) or equivalent. Offered every year. Ilieva. 4 points per term.
Further develops fluency in oral and written communication. Students work with native speakers from the community and report on their findings.
Advanced Hindi I, II
MEIS-UA 409, 410 Prerequisite for the sequence: Intermediate Hindi II (MEIS-UA 408) or equivalent. Offered every year. Ilieva. 4 points per term.
Overview of Indian culture via original texts. Work in reading and writing, plus classroom discussion and oral presentations.
Elementary Turkish I, II
MEIS-UA 501, 502 Offered every year. Erol. 4 points per term.
The written and spoken language of modern Turkey. All texts are in Latin characters and comprise both textual and audio material.
Intermediate Turkish I, II
MEIS-UA 503, 504 Prerequisite for the sequence: Elementary Turkish II (MEIS-UA 502) or equivalent. Offered every year. Erol. 4 points per term.
Materials from Turkish newspapers, magazines, literature, and TV provide the basis for further developing reading comprehension and conversational ability.
Advanced Turkish, I, II
MEIS-GA 1514, 1515 Prerequisite for the sequence: Intermediate Turkish II (MEIS-UA 504) or equivalent. Offered every year. Erol. 4 points per term.
Students read, discuss, and write about a variety of short stories, poems and articles while focusing on Turkish narrative forms, traditions, and cultural issues and context.
Topics in Middle Eastern History
MEIS-UA 518 Seminar. 4 points.
Advanced course. Topics vary by semester.
The History of Ancient Egypt, 3200–50 B.C.E.
MEIS-UA 611 Identical to HIST-UA 506. Offered periodically. 4 points.
Introduces a variety of religious and secular texts and shows how Egyptologists have drawn on biographical texts, royal inscriptions, literary papyri, and archaeological remains to re-create Egyptian history.
Jews in the Islamic World in the Modern Period
MEIS-UA 615 Identical to HBRJD-UA 114. 4 points.
See description under Hebrew and Judaic studies.
Topics in Islamic History
MEIS-UA 616 4 points.
Topics vary by semester.
Istanbul: Culture, Memory, and the City
MEIS-UA 620 Offered periodically. Igsiz. 4 points.
Cultural identification and space in the twentieth century. Topics: social transformation, urbanism, and gentrification; minorities and cultural identification; food and memory; nostalgia, commodification, and neighborhoods; museumization of “culture”; exile; cosmopolitanism and migration. Use of film and literature.
The Making of the Muslim Middle East
MEIS-UA 640 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Art in the Islamic World II: From the Mongols to Modernism
MEIS-UA 652 Identical to ARTH-UA 541. Offered every year. Flood. 4 points.
Beginning with the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, traces the development of Islamic art and architecture through the eras of Timur, the “gunpowder empires” (the Mughals, Ottomans, Safavids), and European colonialism, to the art of the nation-state in the 20th century.
Art in the Islamic World I: From the Prophet to the Mongols
MEIS-UA 653 Identical to ARTH-UA 540. Flood. 4 points.
From 650 to 1200 C.E. The period saw the initial formation of an Arab empire stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean, a decline in centralized authority, and the rise of North African, Iranian, and Central Asian dynasties from the 10th century onward. Political developments are reflected in the increasingly heterogeneous nature of Islamic material culture over this time span.
Topics in Middle Eastern History
MEIS-UA 688 Identical to HIST-UA 550. Offered every year. 4 points.
Focuses on a particular aspect of Islamic, Ottoman, or modern Middle Eastern history, with an emphasis on historiographical and comparative issues. Intended primarily for advanced undergraduates in Middle Eastern studies and in history, but other students may register with permission of the instructor.
The Emergence of the Modern Middle East
MEIS-UA 690 Identical to HIST-UA 531. 4 points.
Main political, social, economic, and intellectual currents of the 19th and 20th centuries. Emphasis on historical background and development of current problems in the region. Topics: imperialism, nationalism, modern state formation, religion, Orientalism, gender, class formation, oil, the Arab-Israeli crisis, anticolonial revolutions, the Lebanese Civil War, neoliberalism, and the 2011 Arab uprisings.
Islam and the West
MEIS-UA 694 Identical to HIST-UA 520, MEDI-UA 694. 4 points.
The evolution of diplomatic, trade, and cultural contacts. Particular attention to the complex relationship that developed between these two civilizations and their historical impact on each other.
Zionism and the State of Israel
MEIS-UA 696 Identical to HBRJD-UA 180. 4 points.
See description under Hebrew and Judaic studies.
Palestine, Zionism, Israel
MEIS-UA 697 Identical to HIST-UA 532. Offered every other year. Lockman. 4 points.
The conflict over Palestine from its origins in the late 19th century to the present. Examines the evolution of this ongoing struggle in its historical context. Discusses the roles of the various parties to the conflict.
Israel: Fact Through Fiction
MEIS-UA 698 Identical to HBRJD-UA 780. Offered every other year. 4 points.
See description under Hebrew and Judaic studies.
Gender and Sexuality in Medieval Islamic Societies
MEIS-UA 787 Offered every other year. Rowson. 4 points.
The role of culture in shaping fundamental sexual attitudes. Primary sources in translation include religious treatises on marriage and proper gender roles, love poetry, stories from the Arabian Nights, and works of erotica, supplemented by secondary studies.
Iran Past and Present
MEIS-UA 796 Offered every year. Koyagi. 4 points.
Iran since the nineteenth century, focusing on domestic, regional, and global forces. Topics include imperialism, nationalism, transnationalism, state-society relations, religion, class, gender, and sexuality.
Except where indicated, there is no language prerequisite for these courses.
Topics in 20th-Century Literature
MEIS-UA 190 4 points.
Masterpieces of Arabic Literature in Translation
MEIS-UA 710 Identical to MEDI-UA 710. Offered every year. 4 points.
Arabic, Persian, and Turkish literature from pre-Islamic times to the present. Selected texts in translation (both prose and poetry) are studied as works of art in themselves and as a reflection of the societies that produced them.
Literature and Society in the Middle East
MEIS-UA 711 Offered every year. 4 points.
Selected works in translation of 20th-century poets, novelists, and short story writers that reflect changing conditions and mores within Middle Eastern and North African societies. Topics: conflicts between traditionalists and modernists, the impact of urbanization on rural societies, and the existential dilemmas of men and women.
Women and War: Contemporary Arabic Literature and Film
MEIS-UA 714 Identical to COLIT-UA 714, SCA-UA 731, CINE-UT 714. 4 points.
Women as central figures in the political upheavals of the modern Middle East. The gendering of war; the gender politics of national symbolism and liberation; the politics and aesthetics of documentary film; revolutionary erotic and anti-erotic; and combat and collaboration.
The Arabian Nights
MEIS-UA 716 Identical to MEDI-UA 714. Kennedy. 4 points.
An essential and dynamic literary meeting point between Arabic/Islamic literature and the Western canon. Close reading of the structure of the original, as well as modern variations by authors such as Poe and Rushdie.
Modern South Asian Literature
MEIS-UA 717 Identical to COLIT-UA 717. Offered every year. Ilieva. 4 points.
Offers advanced undergraduates a window on a rich and culturally varied area of the world, as well as an understanding of aspects of South Asian history and society as represented in translations of modern prose writing (short stories and novels).
Introduction to Ancient Indian Literature
MEIS-UA 718 Offered every year. Ilieva. 4 points.
Introduces the rich and vast literary, religious, and philosophical heritage of Sanskrit, as well as excerpts from the Jain and Buddhist canons written in Prakrits and examples of Tamil poetry. Selections from Vedic literature, classical drama, epics, story literature, and lyric poetry in English translation.
Middle Eastern Literature
MEIS-UA 720 Formerly Topics in Arabic Literature. Identical to MEDI-UA 720. Offered every year. 4 points.
Significant prose works (in translation) of the Arabic literary tradition from approximately the last hundred years are considered through the prisms of their multiple contexts—historical, social, cultural, gender, and class—and also examined as works of art.
MEIS-UA 757 Identical to COLIT-UA 757. Halim. 4 points.
Topics: “imaginative geography”; Greek versus Barbarian; the Hajj; Orientalism, Occidentalism, and ethnography; transnationalism in relation to class and gender; tourism; migrant workers; and exile and narratives of return. Representations of travel in different genres and contexts.
Topics in Modern Middle Eastern Culture
MEIS-UA 798 Halim. 4 points.
Readings in Contemporary Literary Theory
MEIS-UA 845 4 points.
Islam and Politics
MEIS-UA 674 Alatas. 4 points.
Works of influential modern Islamic political thinkers that represent a wide spectrum of views and intellectual currents. Topics covered include modernity, democracy, human rights, state and governance, education, and women’s rights.
History of Judaism: Emergence of Classical Judaism
MEIS-UA 680 Identical to HBRJD-UA 100, RELST-UA 680. 4 points.
What Is Islam?
MEIS-UA 691 Identical to HIST-UA 85, RELST-UA 85. Offered every year. 4 points.
The life of the Prophet Muhammad and the origins of Islam; beliefs and practices; differences between Sunni and Shi’ite Islam; Sufism; the spiritual, intellectual, and artistic life of the Islamic commonwealth; and modern Islamic revival.
Islam in the World
MEIS-UA 703 Identical to ANTH-UA 703. Gilsenan. 4 points.
Focuses on how Islamic belief and practices are taught, comprehended, debated, and experienced in daily life in communities of Muslims across the contemporary world. Studies the different forms such practices and beliefs take in the context of societies, cultures, histories, and political economies of varying kinds, from the Middle East to Indonesia, from West Africa to India. Examines wide-ranging debates among Muslims about what is orthodox and what unorthodox, what is permitted and what is not, how children and adults should be taught to "be Muslim," and what an ethical Muslim life really is in our complex and conflict-ridden world.
Introduction to Ancient Egyptian Religion
MEIS-UA 719 Identical to RELST-UA 719. Offered periodically. 4 points.
The nature of the gods, syncretism, private religion, theories of divine kingship, the judgment of the dead, cultic practices, the life of priests, the afterlife, wisdom literature as moral thought, festivals, funerary practices, creation myths, and foreign gods and influences.
Women and Gender in Islam
MEIS-UA 728 Offered every year. Katz. 4 points.
The complexity of the messages and models relating to gender in one of the world’s most influential religious traditions. Beginning with the rise of Islam, observes how foundational texts and personalities are interpreted and reinterpreted for changing times.
Islamic Law and Society
MEIS-UA 780 Offered every year. 4 points.
Introduces law through a reading of its various genres and a study of secondary sources on ritual, criminal, and public law. How Islamic law has interacted with Islamic societies in historical practice and has adapted, or not adapted, to the challenges of modernity.
The Qur’an and Its Interpretation
MEIS-UA 781 Offered every other year. Katz. 4 points.
The content, themes, and style of the Qur’an. Surveys the diversity of interpretive approaches to the text (legal, mystical, sectarian, literary, and politically engaged) in the medieval and modern periods.
Women and Islamic Law
MEIS-UA 783 Identical to SCA-UA 736, MEDI-UA 783. 4 points.
How Islamic law has treated women in theory and practice. Medieval and modern legal texts regarding the status of women as believers, daughters, wives, mothers, and legal persons. Case studies from different periods of Islamic history and writings from contemporary anthropology.
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
MEIS-UA 800 Identical to MEDI-UA 25, HBRJD-UA 160, RELST-UA 102. Offered every year. 4 points.
Comparative study of the three great monotheistic religious traditions, how each understood its origin and evolution, and their similarities and differences in matters of scripture, worship, authority, community, theology, and mysticism.
Sufis: Mystics of Islam
MEIS-UA 863 Offered every other year. Alatas. 4 points.
A general and interpretive narrative tracing of the development of Sufism from its period of origin until recent times. The course situates Sufism’s doctrines and practices in changing social, cultural and historical contexts.
Social Science Courses
Cinema, Politics, and Society in the Middle East
MEIS-UA 678 4 points.
Politics of the Middle East
MEIS-UA 750 Identical to POL-UA 540. Offered every year. Keshavarzian. 4 points.
Middle Eastern and North African politics from the 19th century to the present. Examines the context of current struggles and delves into critical issues facing the peoples of the region.
Topics in Middle East Politics
MEIS-UA 751 Keshavarzian. 4 points.
Topics vary and include such themes as social movements, urban politics, or globalization.
Internship and Independent Study
MEIS-UA 980, 981 Prerequisite: permission and placement for departmental majors from the Director of undergraduate studies. 2 or 4 points per term.
MEIS-UA 997, 998 Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. 1 to 4 points per term.
Graduate Courses Open to Undergraduates
The Middle Eastern studies courses offered in the Graduate School of Arts and Science are open to qualified undergraduates. Permission of the instructor and the director of undergraduate studies is required. For further information, please consult the Graduate School of Arts and Science Bulletin.