Interdivisional Programs

Middle Eastern Studies

Middle Eastern Studies (MES) promotes the intellectual exploration and analytic study of the historical and contemporary Middle East, from North Africa to Central Asia. MES provides an interdisciplinary framework with course offerings cross-listed with history, literature, Arabic, Hebrew, religion, human rights, sociology, anthropology, gender studies, political studies, art history, and environmental and urban studies.

Students in MES must meet the following requirements before Moderation: enroll in an MES core course and obtain one year of language proficiency in Arabic or Hebrew. At Moderation, students must submit papers on past experience and projected work, as well as an academic paper about the Middle East written in one of their core or elective MES classes. Students also indicate whether they wish to moderate into the Social Studies or Language and Literature Division. At least one member of the Moderation board should be a faculty member affiliated with MES.

After Moderation, students must enroll in a MES junior theory seminar before the senior year that requires a substantial research paper on a topic pertaining to the Middle East. Students take three other electives (200 level and above) to broaden their understanding of the region, one of which should be a 300-level seminar that requires a substantial paper on some topic pertaining to the Middle East. MES students moderating into Languages and Literature are required to complete a second year of Arabic or Hebrew. Students in the Social Studies division are strongly encouraged to continue language study, and course work should introduce the methodologies of the discipline(s) that will frame their research on the Middle East in the Senior Project. The Senior Project board should include at least one faculty member affiliated with MES.

Recent Senior Projects in MES

  • “Challenging and Subverting Girlhood and Motherhood in Contemporary Egyptian Children’s Literature”
  • “Curricula and Performativity: Defining the Arab ‘Other’”
  • “Diaspora as Nation: Examining the Transnational Mobility of Syrian Armenians during Wartime”
Core courses include: Religion 106, Islam; Literature 2060, Modern Arabic Fiction; Literature 2185, The Politics and Practice of Cultural Production in the Middle East and North Africa; and History 185, The Making of the Modern Middle East. MES electives include: Arabic 101–102, Beginning Arabic; Arabic 201–202, Intermediate Arabic; Arabic 301–302, Advanced Arabic; Hebrew 101–102, Elementary Hebrew; Literature 2062, Old Arabic Books; and Anthropology 277, In the Garden of Empire: Nature and Power in the Modern Middle East. MES junior seminars carry the 300-level designation, and are chosen in consultation with the student’s adviser.

Program Website:

Program Director: Elizabeth Holt
Phone: 845-758-7676