An interdepartmental program in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Last updated: September 27, 2018 at 08:38 a.m.

The Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) major is an interdisciplinary curriculum organized and taught by faculty in the Departments of Near Eastern and Judiac Studies (NEJS), Politics, History, Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, Fine Arts and African and Afro-American Studies. Designed to provide a strong foundation in Middle Eastern studies with a specialized knowledge of Islam, the program provides unique opportunities to examine current geopolitical events and develop a deep understanding of religion, culture, and society in the Arab World, Turkey, Iran, and Israel. With a solid training in language, history, political theory and praxis, and the ideals and practices of Islam, the major is especially appropriate for students wishing to pursue graduate work in the fields of Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Studies, and provides a solid foundation for students who wish to pursue careers dealing directly or indirectly with the Middle East.

Learning goals for each student differ according to their aspirations and aptitudes. The Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies major offers a wide variety of courses covering multiple disciplines, from Religious Studies to Political Science. Each student should be able to focus upon those areas that best meet his or her particular interests, but also develop a broad training that touches upon other disciplines related to the field. To that end students should:

  1. Be able to frame questions, investigate problems and evaluate conclusions using one or more academic disciplines or approaches (e.g. historical analysis, political science, social scientific analysis, and critical theories in the study of religion).
  2. Be able to directly access the language(s) and culture(s) of the Middle East, in order to obtain a more objective understanding of issues pertaining to the fields of Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Studies.
  3. Be familiar with and recognize scholarly conventions and debates concerning the Middle East and Islamic Studies.
  4. Be able to critically assess claims made by those in the field and in the mass media.
  5. Be able to appreciate diversity in and between the political, cultural, and religious traditions of the Middle East, and to contribute to a greater understanding in the service of a more just and peaceful society.

To achieve these skills, students should know:

  1. The general history of the Middle East from the rise of Islam until the contemporary period, with specialized knowledge of their particular area, or period, of interest.
  2. The contemporary political economics, and social institutions of the Middle East.
  3. The history of ideas in the Middle East and its relation to contemporary events.
Students who wish to major in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies must take the core course in Islamic civilization (IMES 104a) and at least two full years of a Middle Eastern language. Students who are fluent in Arabic, Persian, or Turkish may be exempted from the language requirements for a major in IMES upon approval by the chair of IMES. In addition, with the goal of achieving a balanced understanding of the overall field of study, the student must take two courses in the classical period and two courses in the modern period, as well as three courses to be chosen from the wide intellectual variety of elective courses. Elective courses may include two upper level Arabic courses: ARBC 103a, 103b, 106a, and 106b. Study in the Middle East for a term or a year is encouraged. As a culmination of the student's education, he or she is encouraged to write a senior honors thesis with emphasis on some aspects of Islamic or Middle Eastern studies. A member of the IMES faculty must supervise the honors thesis.

Nader Habibi, Chair and Undergraduate Advising Head
(Economics)

Eva Bellin
(Politics)

Jonathan Decter
(Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Suleyman Dost
(Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Carl El-Tobgui
(Arabic Language)

David Ellenson
(Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Shai Feldman
(Politics)

Pascal Menoret
(Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Yehudah Mirsky
(Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Naghmeh Sohrabi
(History)

A. Core course: IMES 104a (Islam: Civilization and Institutions).

B. At least one course pertaining to the classical period: NEJS 3a, 140a, 144a, 186a, 186b, 187b, 188a, 188b, 190b, 194b, 195a, 195b.

C. At least one course pertaining to the modern period: ANTH 141a, ECON 122b, FA/NEJS 183a, HBRW 164b, HIST 111a, 112a, 114a, 135b, IMES 105a, NEJS 145a, 145b, 173a, 177a, 185b, 197b, POL 128a, 133a, 143b, 162b, 164a, 166b.

D. Three additional courses from the list of electives above, including up to two consecutive semesters of a Middle Eastern language beginning with either ARBC 10a or HBRW 10a (or 19a) or at a higher level if determined by placement.

E. No course with a final grade below C- can count toward fulfilling the minor requirements in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

F. No course taken pass/fail may count toward the minor requirements.

A. Four consecutive semesters of either Arabic or Hebrew beginning with either ARBC 10a or HBRW 10a (or 19a) or at a higher level if determined by placement.

Courses that count toward the language requirement include: ARBC 10a, ARBC 20b, ARBC 30a, ARBC 40b, ARBC 103a, ARBC 103b, ARBC 106a, ARBC 106b, HBRW 10a (or 19a), HBRW 20b (or 29b), HBRW 34a (or 39a), HBRW 35a, HBRW 44b (or 49b), and any 100-level Hebrew (HBRW) course.

B. Core course: IMES 104a (Islam: Civilization and Institutions).

C. Two courses pertaining to the classical period: NEJS 3a, 140a, 144a, 186a, 186b, 187b, 188a, 188b, 190b, 194b, 195a, 195b.

D. Two courses pertaining to the modern period: ANTH 141a, ECON 122b, FA/NEJS 183a, HBRW 164b, HIST 111a, 112a, 114a, 135b, IMES 105a, NEJS 145a, 145b, 173a, 177a, 185b, 197b, POL 128a, 136b, 143b, 162b, 164a, 166b.

E. Three additional courses from the list of electives below. IMES 99a and IMES 99b may count as two courses toward the completion of an IMES major.

F. Honors: IMES students who complete their junior year with a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher are eligible to enroll in IMES 99a and 99b, the IMES Senior Thesis, during their senior year. All students who aspire to graduate with honors in IMES must register for IMES 99a in fall semester and IMES 99b in the spring semester, and complete their thesis project.

G. No course with a final grade below C- can count toward fulfilling the major requirements in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

H. No course taken pass/fail may count toward the major requirements.

Brandeis undergraduates who are NEJS or IMES majors are invited in their junior year to apply for admission to the five year BA/MA. Students must complete all requirements for the BA at the end of the fourth year, including the successful completion of the major in NEJS or IMES. The MA is awarded in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.

Program of Study
Fourteen courses are required:

A. Internal transfer credit: seven Brandeis undergraduate courses (NEJS, IMES, and/or approved cross listed courses) numbered 100 or above for which grades of B- or higher have been earned.

B. Seven courses taken in the fifth year: four approved NEJS courses taught by NEJS faculty and three approved electives. Approved undergraduate language courses may be taken and count toward the required three electives.

C. Capstone requirement
Students must complete one of the three capstone options listed under the requirements for the NEJS MA.

Residence Requirement
One year of full-time residence (the fifth year) is required subsequent to completing the BA.

Language Requirement
All candidates are required to demonstrate language proficiency, normally in biblical or modern Hebrew or in Arabic.

(1-99) Primarily for Undergraduate Students

IMES 98a Independent Study
Usually offered every year.
Staff

IMES 98b Independent Study
Usually offered every year.
Staff

IMES 99a Senior Thesis
Usually offered every year.
Staff

IMES 99b Senior Thesis
Usually offered every year.
Staff

(100-199) For Both Undergraduate and Graduate Students

IMES 104a Islam: Civilization and Institutions
[ hum nw ]
Provides a disciplined study of Islamic civilization from its origins to the modern period. Approaches the study from a humanities perspective. Topics covered will include the Qur'an, tradition, law, theology, politics, Islam and other religions, modern developments, and women in Islam. Usually offered every year.
Carl El-Tobgui

IMES 105a War and Revolution in the Middle East
[ hum nw wi ]
Considers the impact of war and revolution in the shaping of the modern Middle East starting with the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. Focuses on the violent turning points that have changed the lives of millions of people.
Staff

IMES 140a Photology of the Syrian Uprising
[ hum nw ]
Examines how different media use photography and video to depict the evolution of the 2011 Syrian Uprising. It's uses "photology" as a theoretical tool to analyze political and social changes in Syria within the context of other historical, economic, and religious factors. Special one-time offering, fall 2018.
Hassan Almohammed

IMES Elective Courses

The following courses are approved for the program. Not all are given in any one year. Please consult the Schedule of Classes each semester.

AAAS 80a Economy and Society in Africa
[ nw ss wi ]
Perspectives on the interaction of economic and other variables in African societies. Topics include the ethical and economic bases of distributive justice; models of social theory, efficiency, and equality in law; the role of economic variables in the theory of history; and world systems analysis. Usually offered every third year.
Wellington Nyangoni

AAAS 126b Political Economy of the Third World
[ nw ss wi ]
Development of capitalism and different roles and functions assigned to all "Third Worlds," in the periphery as well as the center. Special attention will be paid to African and Afro-American peripheries. Usually offered every year.
Wellington Nyangoni

AAAS 163b Africa in World Politics
[ nw ss ]
Explores the impact of African states in world affairs; the African and Afro-Asian groups in the United Nations; relations with Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and the Americas; the Afro-Asian movement; nonalignment; the Organization of African Unity; and Pan-Africanism. Usually offered every second year.
Wellington Nyangoni

AAAS 175a Comparative Politics of North Africa
[ nw ss ]
Explores the formation and development of political cleavages and cleavage systems, and of mass-based political groups, analyzing the expansion of mass political participation, elections, the impact of the military on political groups, and international factors. Usually offered every third year.
Wellington Nyangoni

ANTH 118b Culture and Power in the Middle East
[ ss ]
Examines the peoples and societies of the Middle East from an anthropological perspective. Explores problems of cross-cultural examination, the notion of the Middle East as an area of study, and the role of anthropology in the formation of the idea of the “Middle East.” To this end, the course is divided into sections devoted to understanding and problematizing key concepts and themes central to our understanding of the region, including tribe and state, family and kinship, gender and sexuality, honor and shame, tradition and modernity, and religion and secularism. Course materials will include critical ethnographies based on field work in the region as well as locally produced materials such as literature, music, film and other visual arts. Usually offered every fourth year.
Pascal Menoret

ARBC 103a Lower Advanced Arabic
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: ARBC 40b or the equivalent. Four class-hours per week.
Designed to help the student attain advanced proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding. The syllabus includes selections from modern texts representing a variety of styles and genres, advanced composition, and sustained development of oral-aural proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic. A grade of C- or higher in ARBC 103a is required to take ARBC 103b. Usually offered every year.
Carl Sharif El-Tobgui

ARBC 103b Middle Advanced Arabic: Contemporary Arab Media
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: A grade of C- or higher in ARBC 103a or the equivalent. Four class hours per week.
Continuation of ARBC 103a. Intensive honing primarily of oral-aural skills and vocabulary building with concentration on the spoken media of the contemporary Arab world. Review and reinforcement of major grammatical topics as needed. Usually offered every year.
Staff

ARBC 106a Advanced Arabic I: Contemporary Arabic Literature
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: A grade of C- or higher in ARBC 103b or the equivalent. Four class hours per week. May be repeated for credit.
Develops advanced reading competence through a variety of modern literary texts focusing on contemporary Arab society, culture, and intellectual life. Continued solidification of advanced grammar and style with application through frequent writing assignments, both analytical and creative. Class conducted entirely in Arabic. Usually offered every year.
Carl Sharif El-Tobgui

ARBC 106b Advanced Arabic II: Classical Arabic & Islamic Literature
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: A grade of C- or higher in ARBC 106a or the equivalent. Four class hours per week. May be repeated for credit.
Continuation of ARBC 106a. Develops advanced competence in reading and understanding classical texts, including a systematic introduction to some of the grammatical features typical of this genre. Readings include a variety of materials – including poetry – related to classical Arabic and Islamic literature, religion, history, and culture. Class conducted entirely in Arabic. Usually offered every year.
Carl Sharif El-Tobgui

FA 33b Islamic Art and Architecture
[ ca nw ]
Through case studies of cities, sites, and monuments, the course presents an overview of the art and the architecture of the Islamic world beginning from the seventh century up to the present. Some of the themes include, but are not limited to, Islamic material culture, orientalist imaginations, systems of governance and the colonial present, search for the local identity, urban modernity and nationalism, and globalization. Usually offered every second year.
Muna Guvenc

FA 68a Israeli Art and Visual Culture: Forging Identities Between East and West
[ ca ]
An examination of the visual arts created in Israel since the beginning of the twentieth century. Combines a chronological overview of major trends with an in-depth examination of select case studies of individual artists and specific themes.
Gannit Ankori

FA 76a Palestinian and Israeli Art, Film and Visual Culture: Intersecting Visions
[ ca ]
Israelis and Palestinians have been creating vibrant and bold works of art that both reflect and transcend the region's conflict-ridden history. This course offers a critical comparative study of Israeli and Palestinian art, exploring contentious expressions of pain and trauma as well as shared visions of hope and peace. Usually offered every second year.
Gannit Ankori

FA 174a Art and Trauma: Israeli, Palestinian, Latin American and United States Art
[ ca ]
May not be taken for credit by students who took FA 154b in prior years.
A comparative and critical examination of the various ways in which personal traumas (illness, death, loss) and collective traumas (war, the Holocaust, exile) find meaningful expression in the work of modern and contemporary artists from diverse regions. Usually offered every second year.
Gannit Ankori

HBRW 162b Translation Practice and Theory
[ hum nw ]
Focuses on the practice and theory of Hebrew to English translation. Students will translate and edit authentic materials (literary texts, television series, film, internet sites, speeches and newspapers.) We will also use short texts on the theory and practice of translation in order to reflect on our own translation practices. Usually offered every year.
Staff

HBRW 170a Take I: Hebrew through Israeli Cinema
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: Five semesters of Hebrew or permission of the instructor. Four class hours per week.
An advanced culture course that focuses on the various aspects of Israeli society as they are portrayed in Israeli films and television. In addition to viewing films, the students will be asked to read Hebrew background materials, to participate in class discussions, and to write in Hebrew about the films. Usually offered every spring.
Staff

NEJS 29a Feminist Sexual Ethics in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
[ hum ]
Analyzes a variety of feminist critiques of religious texts and traditions and proposed innovations in theology and religious law. Examines biblical, rabbinic, and Qur'anic texts. Explores relation to U.S. law and to the social, natural, and medical sciences. Usually offered every second year.
Bernadette Brooten

NEJS 104a Comparative Semitic Languages
[ hum nw ]
An introduction to and description of the Semitic languages, the internal relationships within this linguistic family, and the distinctive grammatical and lexical features of the individual languages. Usually offered every second year.
David Wright

NEJS 174a Minorities and Others in Israeli Literature and Culture
[ fl hum ]
Taught in Hebrew.
An exploration of poetics and identity in modern Hebrew literature. By offering a feminist and psychoanalytic reading of various Hebrew texts, this seminar explores questions of personal and national identity, otherness, visibility, and marginality in the Israeli context. Usually offered every second year.
Ilana Szobel

NEJS 174b Israeli Women Writers on War and Peace
[ fl hum ]
Taught in Hebrew.
An exploration of nationalism and gender in Modern Hebrew literature. By discussing various Hebrew texts and Israeli works of art and film, this course explores women's relationship to Zionism, war, peace, the state, politics, and processes of cultural production. Usually offered every second year.
Ilana Szobel

NEJS 178a Love, Sex, and Power in Israeli Culture
[ fl hum ]
Taught in Hebrew.
Explores questions of romance, gender, marriage, and jealousy in the Israeli context by offering a feminist and psychoanalytic reading of Hebrew texts, works of art, and film. Usually offered every third year.
Ilana Szobel

NEJS 180b Introduction to Israeli Literature and Culture
[ hum ]
Taught in English.
Surveys the development of Israeli literature and culture over the past 100 years and includes selections of poetry and prose from a wide range of writers. The course aims to illuminate what makes Hebrew literature distinct as well as investigate the themes, symbols, and subject matter that have come to constitute its central concerns since the early 20th century. Usually offered every second year.
Ilana Szobel

NEJS 185a Conflict and Consensus in Israeli Society; Topics in Israeli Social History
[ hum ]
Not recommended for first year students.
Focuses on key topics in the shaping of the Israeli experience, including Zionist colonization; absorption of immigrants; shaping Jewish identity, personal and national, in a secular sense; and homeland/Diaspora relations. Comparative perspectives are employed. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

NEJS 191a Biblical Narratives in the Qur'an
[ hum ]
Formerly offered as NEJS 186b.
The Qur'an retells many narratives of the Tanakh and the New Testament. Compares the Qur'anic renditions with those of the earlier scriptures, focusing on the unique features of the Qur'anic versions. Usually offered every third year.
Suleyman Dost

NEJS 198a Islam and the West
[ hum ]
Explores the major political, socio-economic, and cultural changes in the Middle East from the rise of Islam to present times with emphasis on Islam's encounter with The West. Focuses on common roots and mutual influences and analysis of (mis)perceptions as historically constructed cultural categories and of their legacy in the modern world. Usually offered every second year.
Carl El-Tobgui

POL 145b Seminar: Muslims in the West: Politics, Religion, and Law
[ ss ]
Few issues have caused more public furor than the accommodation of Islam in Europe and the United States. It is often overlooked that Muslims are developing the institutions of their faith in societies that offer everyone the freedom of choice and expression. This seminar looks at religious discrimination as a barrier to the civic and political inclusion of Muslim immigrants, the responses of governments, courts, and the general public, and what we know about the balance among "fundamentalist, " "moderate," and "progressive" Muslim viewpoints. Usually offered every year.
Jytte Klausen

POL 160a The War on Global Terrorism
[ ss ]
Intended for juniors and seniors, but open to all students.
Explores how 9/11 changed our lives. The course surveys the build-up of Al Queda leading up to the 9/11 attacks and ten years of counter terrorism. Students are given an introduction to Jihadist doctrines and Al Queda's structure, as well as theories about the cause of terrorism. Usually offered every year.
Jytte Klausen

POL 162b Middle East Crisis: Competing Explanations
[ nw ss ]
Explores how political developments in the Middle East (e.g. the Arab Spring, ISIS, the Iranian nuclear program) can be seen from a number of different disciplinary perspective. The class provides students a toolbox for understand current and future developments. Usually offered every second year.
Shai Feldman

POL 166b Seminar: The Middle East in International Relations
[ ss ]
Explores how the concepts, theories, and paradigms from the field of International Relations can be used to analyze the politics of the Middle East. This class provides students a toolbox for understanding current and future developments in the ever-changing relations between the region's states. Usually offered every second year.
Shai Feldman

POL 170a Arms Control in the Middle East
[ ss ]
Explores and analyzes the theories behind, dynamics within, and problems encountered with arms control as part of regional security in the Middle East. Usually offered every year.
Gary Samore

REL 107a Introduction to World Religions
[ hum nw ]
An introduction to the study of religion; this core course surveys and broadly explores some of the major religions across the globe.
Kristen Lucken

SAS 100a India and Pakistan: Understanding South Asia
[ nw ss ]
An exploration of the history, societies, cultures, religions, and literature of South Asia--India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Uses perspectives from history, anthropology, literature, and film to examine past and contemporary life in South Asia. Usually offered every year.
Jonathan Anjaria, Ulka Anjaria, or Harleen Singh

SOC 119a Deconstructing War, Building Peace
[ ss ]
Ponders the possibility of a major "paradigm shift" under way from adversarialism and war to mutuality and peace. Examines war culture and peace culture and points in between, with emphases on the role of imagination in social change, growing global interdependence, and political, economic, gender, social class, and social psychological aspects of war and peace. Usually offered every year.
Gordon Fellman

SQS 145b Sexuality and Gender in the Middle East
[ ss ]
Explores historical and contemporary debates regarding the construction and organization of gender and sexuality in the Arab world, Turkey and Iran. It aims to simulate genders and sexualities in the region within a complex and multidimensional analytical framework. Usually offered every third year.
Staff

WMGS 140a Diversity of Muslim Women's Experience
[ nw ss ]
A broad introduction to the multidimensional nature of women's experiences in the Muslim world. As both a cultural and religious element in this vast region, understanding Islam in relation to lives of women has become increasingly imperative. Usually offered every second year.
Mitra Shavarini

IMES Elective Courses: Modern Period

ANTH 141a Islamic Movements
[ ss ]
Examines the social and cultural dimensions of contemporary Islamic movements from an anthropological perspective. It starts by critically engaging with such fundamental concepts as Orientalism, colonialism, and nationalism. Topics to be discussed include the difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafism, Islamist feminism, Islamic public arguments, Al-Qaeda and ISIS, victimization and martyrdom, and the relationship between humanitarianism and terrorism. Usually offered every second year.
Pascal Menoret

ECON 122b The Economics of the Middle East
[ nw ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a or the equivalent. Does not count toward the upper-level elective requirement for the major in economics.
Examines the Middle East economies – past experiences, present situation, and future challenges – drawing on theories, policy formulations and empirical studies of economic growth, trade, poverty, income distribution, labor markets, finance and banking, government reforms, globalization, and Arab-Israeli political economy. Usually offered every year.
Nader Habibi

FA/NEJS 183a Breaking Boundaries in Contemporary Israeli Culture
[ ca hum ]
Explores how the Creative Arts reflect, challenge, and reconfigure various cleavages and barriers that characterize contemporary Israeli society. This course will focus on literary, visual and cinematic artworks, organized around thematic clusters and major theoretical issues. Usually offered every second year.
Gannit Ankori and Ilana Szobel

HBRW 124a Hebrew for Business, Doing Business in Start-Up Nation
[ fl wi ]
Prerequisite: Four semesters of Hebrew or permission of the instructor. Does not meet the requirement in the school of humanities.
Provides students with tools and competence to deal with the Israeli business community. Intended for intermediate to advanced Hebrew students who wish to gain business language and cultural skills. Usually offered every year.
Sara Hascal

HBRW 161b What's Up?: Hebrew through Israeli News Media
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: Five semesters of Hebrew or permission of the instructor. Four class hours per week.
For advanced students who wish to enhance proficiency and accuracy in writing and speaking. Israeli newspapers, films, clips from Israeli TV series and shows, and on-line resources will be used to promote language and cultural competency. Usually offered every spring.
Staff

HBRW 164b Israeli Theater
[ ca fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: Five semesters of Hebrew or permission of the instructor. Four class hours and two lab hours per week.
An advanced course that enhances advanced language skills through reading and analysis of plays. The student's creativity is developed through participation in acting and creative writing lab. In reading plays, students can also participate in Hebrew acting lab. Usually offered every second year in the fall.
Staff

HIST 111a History of the Modern Middle East
[ nw ss ]
An examination of the history of the Middle East from the nineteenth century to contemporary times. Focuses on political events and intellectual trends, such as imperialism, modernity, nationalism, and revolution, that have shaped the region in the modern era. Usually offered every second year.
Naghmeh Sohrabi

HIST 111b The Iranian Revolution: From Monarchy to the Islamic Republic
[ nw ss ]
An examination of the roots of the Iranian revolution of 1979, the formation of the Islamic Republic, and its evolution over the past 30 years. Usually offered every second year.
Naghmeh Sohrabi

HIST 112a Nationalism in the Middle East
[ nw ss ]
Seminar examining the history of nationalism in the modern Middle East. Covers divergent theories and practices of nationalism in the region, and explores the roles of gender, memory, historiography, and art in the formation and articulation of Middle East nationalisms. Usually offered every second year.
Naghmeh Sohrabi

HIST 114a Israel's Foreign Policy
[ ss ]
Presents the historical contexts of Israel's diplomacy, including strategies for gaining regional and international recognition, increasing immigration, and acquiring arms, aid, oil, and water. This course will chart Israel's relations with the super powers, the European Community, and Arab and Afro-Asian States. Usually offered every third year.
Staff

HIST 135b The Middle East and Its Revolutions
[ nw ss ]
An examination of the various revolutions that have shaped the modern Middle East since the late 19th century. The course focuses on four different revolutionary moments: The constitutional revolutions of the turn of the century, the anti-colonial revolutions of mid-century, the radical revolutions of the 1970's, and most recently, the Arab Spring revolutions that have affected the region since 2011. Usually offered every second year.
Naghmeh Sohrabi

IMES 105a War and Revolution in the Middle East
[ hum nw wi ]
Considers the impact of war and revolution in the shaping of the modern Middle East starting with the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. Focuses on the violent turning points that have changed the lives of millions of people.
Staff

IMES 140a Photology of the Syrian Uprising
[ hum nw ]
Examines how different media use photography and video to depict the evolution of the 2011 Syrian Uprising. It's uses "photology" as a theoretical tool to analyze political and social changes in Syria within the context of other historical, economic, and religious factors. Special one-time offering, fall 2018.
Hassan Almohammed

NEJS 145a History of the State of Israel
[ hum ]
Examines the development of the State of Israel from its foundation to the present time. Israel's politics, society, and culture will be thematically analyzed. Usually offered every year.
Staff

NEJS 145b Ideology and Society in Contemporary Israel: Major Controversies
[ hum ]
Provides advanced students with a comprehensive understanding of several major trends in contemporary Israeli society, by presenting and representing major controversies among scholars of different approaches, paradigms, and disciplines (sociology, political science, law, cultural studies, etc). Usually offered every fourth year.
Staff

NEJS 154b Zionism, Israel, and the Crises of Jewish Modernity
[ hum ]
Explores the relations between pluralism, religious resurgence, secularism and democracy in our time through readings in history, literature, philosophy, sociology, theology and law. Focuses on one fascinating, contentious and deeply consequential place: The State of Israel. Usually offered every second year.
Yehudah Mirsky

NEJS 173a Trauma and Violence in Israeli Literature and Film
[ fl hum ]
Taught in Hebrew.
Explores trauma and violence in Israeli Literature, film, and art. Focuses in man-made disasters, war and terrorism, sexual and family violence, and murder and suicide, and examines their relation to nationalism, Zionism, gender, and sexual identity. Usually offered every second year.
Ilana Szobel

NEJS 177a The Holocaust in Israeli and Jewish Literature
[ hum ]
Taught in English.
A broad survey of Holocaust writings in Modern Jewish literature. Examines the psychological, social, moral, and aesthetic challenges involved in representing the Holocaust in Israeli, American, and European context through literary texts, theoretical research, works of art, and film. Usually offered every third year.
Ilana Szobel

NEJS 185b The Making of the Modern Middle East
[ hum nw ss wi ]
Open to all students.
Discusses the processes that led to the emergence of the modern Middle East: disintegration of Islamic society, European colonialism, reform and reaction, and the rise of nationalism and the modern states. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

NEJS 197b Political Cultures of the Middle East
[ hum nw wi ]
Explores the way in which people make assumptions about power, authority, and justice. Focuses on Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Iraq, and works through. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

POL 11b Introduction to Comparative Politics
[ ss ]
Open to first-year students.
Introduces key concepts and questions in comparative politics and seeks to provide students with a grounding in the basic tools of comparative analysis. It applies and evaluates competing theoretical approaches (cultural, institutional, social-structural, and leadership-centered) to explain several important phenomena such as (1) democracy and democratization; (2) revolution; and (3) ethnicity and ethnic conflict. It also explores recent debates about the importance of civil society and political institutions in shaping political outcomes. Cases will be drawn from Africa, Asia, Western Europe, the Americas, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Usually offered every year.
Eva Bellin

POL 128a The Politics of Revolution: State Violence and Popular Insurgency in the Third World
[ nw ss ]
Introduction to twentieth-century revolutionary movements in the Third World, focusing on the emergence of peasant-based resistance and revolution in the world beyond the West, and on the role of state violence in provoking popular involvement in protest, rebellion, and insurgency. Usually offered every year.
Ralph Thaxton

POL 133a Contemporary Politics in the Middle East
[ nw ss ]
Introduces the politics of the region through the study of regimes in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and Israel. Themes include the political legacy of colonialism, the challenge of ethnic pluralism, the rise of political Islam, the politics of gender, the role of the military in politics, the dynamics of regime survival, the persistence of authoritarianism and the prospects for democratization, and the implications of the Arab spring for the future of the region. Usually offered every third year.
Eva Bellin

POL 143b Seminar: Israel, Iran, the Bomb and Beyond: Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East
[ ss ]
Addresses one of the most pressing international issues - the nuclearization of Iran. It focuses on Iran's nuclear ambitions, beginning with the Shah of Iran, the motivations behind the acceleration of its nuclear efforts in recent decades, the reactions of Israel, the U.S., Arab states and the international community to Iran's efforts, the implications of Iranian nuclear weapons for regional and international security, and the dynamics of the negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran which led to the recent Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- the agreement halting Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and lifting international sanctions against it. Usually offered every third year.
Shai Feldman

POL 162b Middle East Crisis: Competing Explanations
[ nw ss ]
Explores how political developments in the Middle East (e.g. the Arab Spring, ISIS, the Iranian nuclear program) can be seen from a number of different disciplinary perspective. The class provides students a toolbox for understand current and future developments. Usually offered every second year.
Shai Feldman

POL 164a Seminar: Conflict and Peacemaking in the Middle East
[ ss ]
Provides students with historical and analytic mastery of the Arab- Israeli conflict in a novel way. Through immersion in three competing narratives - Israeli, Palestinian, and pan-Arab - students will gain proficiency in the history of the conflict as well as analytic leverage on the possibility of its resolution. The course is organized as a seminar and is premised on active student participation. Usually offered every year.
Shai Feldman

POL 166b Seminar: The Middle East in International Relations
[ ss ]
Explores how the concepts, theories, and paradigms from the field of International Relations can be used to analyze the politics of the Middle East. This class provides students a toolbox for understanding current and future developments in the ever-changing relations between the region's states. Usually offered every second year.
Shai Feldman

IMES Elective Courses: Classical Period

NEJS 3a Religions of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam
[ hum ]
An introduction to the three major religions originating in the Near East: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Areas of focus include historical development, sacred texts, rituals, and interpretive traditions. Usually offered every second year.
Jonathan Decter

NEJS 140a Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages
[ hum ss wi ]
Surveys Jewish political, social and intellectual history in the domains of Islam and Christianity from the rise of Islam (622) to the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain (1492) and Portugal (1497). Topics include the legal status of Jews, Jewish communal organization, persecution and response, inter-religious polemics, conversion, the origins of anti-Judaism, and trends in Jewish law, philosophy, literature, and mysticism. Usually offered every second year.
Jonathan Decter

NEJS 144a Jews in the World of Islam
[ hum nw ]
Examines social and cultural history of Jewish communities in the Islamic world. Special emphasis is placed on the pre-modern Jewish communities. Usually offered every second year.
Jonathan Decter

NEJS 186a Introduction to the Qur'an
[ hum nw ]
Traces the history of the Qur'an as text, its exegesis, and its role in inter-religious polemics, law, theology, and politics. Examines the role of the Qur'an in Islamic teachings and its global impact. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

NEJS 186b The Quran: Composition, Collection, and Commentary
[ hum ]
Prerequisites: IMES 104a or NEJS 186a or permission of the instructor.
Examines the historical development and collection of the Quran, and the emergence of the different schools of Quranic commentary within various branches of Islam throughout the Islamic world and the central themes upon which they focus. Emphasis is placed upon the guiding principles of Quranic commentary and the way in which they give rise to a hermeneutical tradition that is particular to Islam and has shaped the lives of Muslims around the globe. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

NEJS 187b The Book and Writing in the Islamic World
[ hum ]
The rise of Islam and its expansion as a political entity coincided with the widespread use of paper as a cheap writing material and the rise of an urban scholarly elite. Therefore, in the "Golden Age" of Islamic civilization, thousands and thousands of manuscripts, beautifully illuminated books, ornate copies of the Qur'an and exquisite inscriptions in mosaics and stone were produced. In this course we will study the history of Islamic civilization through one of its greatest achievements: the art and the craft of writing and books. Usually offered every third year.
Suleyman Dost

NEJS 188a The Rise and Decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1800
[ hum nw ss ]
A historical survey of the Middle East from the establishment of the Ottoman Empire as the area's predominant power to 1800. Topics include Ottoman institutions and their transformation, and the Ottoman Empire as a world power. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

NEJS 190b Islamic Philosophy
[ hum ]
Prerequisite: IMES 104a or NEJS 186a or a course on Islam.
An examination of the development and teachings of the Islamic philosophical tradition, covering its development from the Greek philosophical tradition and in response to Islamic teachings, and the relationship between Islamic philosophy and theology up to the Safavid period. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

NEJS 194b Sufism: Mystical Traditions in Classical and Modern Islam
[ hum nw ]
An examination of the teaching and practices of the Sufi tradition. Explores the foundations of Sufism, its relation to other aspects of Islam, the development of Sufi teachings in both poetry and prose, and the manner in which Sufism is practiced in lands as diverse as Egypt, Turkey, Iran, India, Malaysia, and Europe. Usually offered every second year.
Suleyman Dost

NEJS 195a Muhammad: From Early Muslim Accounts to Modern Biographies
[ hum ]
Studies the life of Muhammad based upon the earliest biographical accounts and the academic analyses in both Islamic and non-Islamic sources, accompanied by an examination of his legacy in different aspects of Islam, such as Shi'ism and Sufism. Usually offered every third year.
Suleyman Dost

NEJS 195b Early Islamic History from Muhammad to the Mongols
[ hum nw ]
Introduces Islamic history from the birth of Islam in the 7th century to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century. Students will examine trends in political, social, and intellectual history, focusing on three main periods; Islamic Origins, The High Caliphate, and Fragmentation/Efflorescence. Readings will include primary sources in translation, as well as academic analyses from traditional, critical, and revisionist perspectives. Usually offered every second year.
Suleyman Dost