Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies

Departmental Office: 401 Knox; 212-854-2556
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/mesaas/

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Kai Kresse, 513 Knox; 212-854-4766; kk2918@columbia.edu

Language Coordinators:
African Languages: Mariame Sy, 408 Knox; 212-851-2439; sms2168@columbia.edu
Arabic: Taoufik Ben Amor, 308 Knox; 212-854-2985; tb46@columbia.edu
Armenian: Charry Karamanoukian, 407 Knox; 212-851-4002; ck2444@columbia.edu
Hebrew: Naama Harel, 410 Knox Hall, 212-854-6668; nh2508@columbia.edu
Hindi/Urdu: Rakesh Ranjan, 409 Knox; 212-851-4107; rr2574@columbia.edu
Persian: Saeed Honarmand, 313 Knox; sh3468@columbia.edu
Sanskrit: Guy Leavitt, 311 Knox; 212-854-1304; gl2392@columbia.edu
Tamil: D. Samuel Sudanandha, 305 Knox; 212-854-4702; dss2121@columbia.edu
Turkish: Zuleyha Colak, 412 Knox; 212-854-0473; zc2208@columbia.edu

The undergraduate program in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African studies (MESAAS) offers students the opportunity to study in depth the cultures, ideas, histories, and politics of several overlapping world regions. The program emphasizes a close engagement with intellectual traditions, creative movements, and political debates, drawing on a wide variety of historical and contemporary sources in literature, religion, political thought, law, the visual and performing arts, and new media. Courses also examine the historical and cultural contexts in which these traditions and debates have been produced.

Majors and Concentrations

Majors develop two closely related skills. The first is linguistic expertise. A minimum of two years of course work in one language is required, and further work (including intensive summer language study) is greatly encouraged, because the aim is to study a cultural field through its own texts and discourses. The Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies offers courses in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Hebrew, Armenian, Sanskrit, Hindi/Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Swahili, Wolof, and Zulu.

The second skill is learning how to think and write about complex cultural formations, drawing on a variety of methods and disciplinary approaches. The approaches vary according to the faculty members' expertise, incorporating methods from relevant fields in the humanities and social sciences, such as literary criticism, film studies, cultural studies, political theory, and intellectual history.

The only difference between the MESAAS major and the concentration is that the latter does not require language proficiency.

Professors

  • Gil Anidjar
  • Muhsin J. Ali al-Musawi
  • Partha Chatterjee
  • Hamid Dabashi
  • Mamadou Diouf
  • Wael Hallaq
  • Sudipta Kaviraj
  • Rashid Khalidi
  • Mahmood Mamdani
  • Joseph Massad
  • Brinkley Messick
  • Dan Miron
  • Timothy Mitchell
  • Sheldon Pollock
  • Frances Pritchett (emeritus)
  • George Saliba

Associate Professors

  • Allison Busch
  • Kai Kresse
  • Jennifer Wenzel

Assistant Professors

Mana Kia
Debashree Mukherjee

Senior Lecturers

  • Taoufik Ben Amor
  • Abdul Nanji
  • Rakesh Ranjan

Lecturers

  • Ouijdane Absi
  • Aftab Ahmad
  • May Ahmar
  • Tarik Belhoussein
  • Rym Bettaieb
  • Ihsan Colak
  • Zuleyha Colak
  • Reem Faraj
  • Illan Gonen
  • Naama Harel
  • Saeed Honarmand
  • Charry Karamanoukian
  • Rina Kreitman
    Yithak Lewis
  • Youssef Nouhi
  • Dalpat Rajpurohit
  • D. Samuel Sudanandha
  • Mariame Sy

On Leave

  • Profs. Busch, Kia, Mamdani, Pollock (Fall 2016)
  • Profs. Busch, Chatterjee, Diouf, Hallaq, Kia, Mamdani, Miron, Saliba (Spring 2017)

Guidelines for all Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies Majors and Concentrators

Introduction to MESAAS

Majors and concentrators begin their work with an introductory course that emphasizes a particular area (the Middle East, South Asia, or Africa). For instance, students interested in the Middle East would take ASCM UN2003 Introduction to Islamic Civilization or ASCM UN2008 Contemporary Islamic Civilization. Students keen on learning more about South Asia would take ASCM UN2357 Introduction to Indian Civilization, HSME W3810 History of South Asia I: al-Hind to Hindustan, or HIST W3811 South Asia II: Empire and Its Aftermath. The introductory course generally recommended for students interested in Africa is MDES W2030 Major Debates in the Study of Africa.

Required Core Courses

All majors must take two additional core courses. The first is a small seminar in which they explore some of the classic texts of the region, either AHUM UN3399 Colloquium on Major Texts: Middle East and South Asia (for those focusing on the Middle East and South Asia) or AFCV UN1020 African Civilizations (for those focusing on Africa).

With this background, students are ready to take MDES UN3000 Theory and Culture generally in the junior or senior year. This course examines critical approaches to the study of language, culture, and politics and encourages students to reflect on their own work from many different perspectives.

Additional Requirements

Fifteen additional points (generally five courses) are chosen in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. These may include six points of coursework from other departments, subject to the director of undergraduate studies' approval. Although students may have a particular interest (e.g., Arab political thought, Urdu literature, Armenian history, Iranian cinema, or contemporary West Africa), they are encouraged to gain exposure to the fullest range of courses and approaches offered by the faculty, and to familiarize themselves with other regions beyond their core area.

In Fulfillment of the Language Requirement (for Majors)

Enrollment in language courses is in some cases determined by placement exams. For more information, see Languages on the departmental website and, if necessary, consult the relevant Coordinator listed on that page. The website includes separate pages for each language, describing the program of instruction, courses for heritage speakers, summer language programs, and more. Language courses must be taken for a letter grade. Pass/D/Fail or Registration credit (R) is not permitted. Those seeking to waive a language requirement must take a proficiency test.

Students who enter with language proficiency at only the second-year level must complete one additional year of language study and one additional MESAAS course. When students enter with language proficiency at the third year level (or in cases where only two years of a particular language are offered in MESAAS), they must substitute three additional MESAAS courses.

Advising

Newly declared majors and concentrators should meet with the director of undergraduate studies in order to plan a program of study. The goal is to strike a balance between courses that help a student achieve depth in a particular area/discipline and those that foster a wider perspective.

Although students are encouraged to approach faculty in the department based on their specific interests, the director of undergraduate studies functions as an ad hoc adviser for all entering students, addressing issues of course requirements, credit, approval for courses in other departments or schools, study abroad, and, eventually, honors requirements (including the senior thesis). Students should not hesitate to contact the director of undergraduate studies to set up an appointment.

Grading

Courses in which the grade of D has been received do not count toward the major or concentration requirements, nor do those taken Pass/D/Fail, except for the first course taken toward the major or concentration.

Honors Program/Senior Thesis

Students may also wish to write a thesis. While not required for graduation, the thesis enables a student to be considered for departmental honors. It is advisable to begin planning for the thesis during the student's junior year. Interested students should attend the relevant information sessions and identify a potential faculty adviser.

All students who wish to write a thesis must enroll in MDES UN3960 MESAAS Honors Thesis Seminar, a full year course consisting of a 1-point segment in the Fall semester and a 3-point segment in the Spring semester. Students work closely with their peers in a supportive environment to produce a substantial piece of research (in the range of 40 pages). The primary intellectual guidance is provided by the faculty adviser, whereas the director of undergraduate studies and the honors seminar teaching assistant oversee the general development of the project. Every year in April, MESAAS hosts a senior colloquium in which students present their research. For more information on the honors program, see Frequently Asked Questions on the departmental website.

For additional guidelines, see Departmental Honors as outlined in the Academic Honors, Prizes, and Fellowships section of the Columbia College Bulletin.


Major in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies

Students should obtain a Major Declaration form from their advising dean and bring it to the director of undergraduate studies for approval. The director of undergraduate studies meets with students as necessary in order to establish and approve their individual programs of study. The requirements for the major are as follows:

Students should obtain a Major Declaration form (available in the online major declaration system or from your adviser) and bring it to the director of undergraduate studies for approval. The director of undergraduate studies meets with students as necessary in order to establish and approve their individual programs of study. The requirements for the major are as follows:

Select a one-term introductory culture course, to be approved by the director of undergraduate studies
AHUM UN3399 Colloquium on Major Texts: Middle East and South Asia
MDES UN3000 Theory and Culture
Select two years of a language regularly taught in the department, or substitutional courses for students who test out of this requirement with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies
Select 15 points of coursework, which may include up to six points from other departments, selected in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies

Concentration in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies

The requirements are identical with those for the major, except that there is no departmental language requirement. Fifteen points in department courses, selected with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies. These may not include elementary or intermediate language courses. Not more than two courses out of the general 15 points may be devoted to language study.

Lectures and Seminars

ASCM V2001 Introduction to Major Topics in the Civilizations of the Middle East and India. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

A general introduction to major cultures in the Middle East and South Asia. The range of cultural issues, institutional forces, textual sources, and figures of authority who have historically defined and symbolically distinguished Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, from their earliest origins to our own time. A representative sample of sacred and secular sources is closely examined in order to guide the students toward a comprehensive conception of what constitutes these distinct cultures and how they have been redefined in the process of their contemporary adaptations. Required of all majors.

ASCM UN2003 Introduction to Islamic Civilization. 4 points.

Lecture and recitation. Islamic civilization and its characteristic intellectual, political, social, and cultural traditions up through 1800.

Fall 2017: ASCM UN2003
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2003 001/73490 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Mana Kia 4 78/90

ASCM UN2008 Contemporary Islamic Civilization. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Lecture and recitation. No previous study of Islam is required. The contemporary Islamic world studied through freshly translated texts; recorded interviews with religious, political, and intellectual leaders; and films highlighting the main artistic and cultural currents. Topics include religion and society, religion and politics, issues of development, theories of government, gender issues, East-West confrontation, theatre, arts, films, poetry, music, and the short novel.

Spring 2017: ASCM UN2008
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2008 001/66270 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
417 International Affairs Bldg
Hamid Dabashi 4 82/120

MDES W2030 Major Debates in the Study of Africa. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)., CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement, Recitation Section Required

This course will focus on key debates that have shaped the study of Africa in the post-colonial African academy. We will cover seven key debates: (1) Historiography; (2) Slavery and slave trades; (3) State Formation; (4) Colonialism; (5) Underdevelopment; (6) Nationalism and the anti-colonial struggle; (7) Political Identity and political violence in the post-colony. Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement.

MDES UN2641 Cinemas of India. 3 points.

This course offers an expansive journey through the forms, pleasures, and meanings of Indian cinema. It explores the plural beginnings of popular film; the many competing cinemas produced across India; the diverse protagonists (from vamps to vigilantes) that populate the imagined entity named ‘national cinema’; and the varied audiences addressed by these cinemas. Over the course of the semester, we will watch 15 of the most iconic narrative films produced in India, including Diamond Queen (1940), Awara (1951), Deewar (1975), Roja (1992), Mahanagar (1963), and Bandit Queen (1994). As we voyage with the dynamic, shifting codes and priorities of India’s fiction filmmaking, we also shadow the emergence of the Indian nation and contestations of its coherence.

MDES UN3000 Theory and Culture. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement, Discussion Section Required

Required of all majors. Introduces theories of culture particularly related to the Middle East, South Asia. and Africa. Theoretical debates on the nature and function of culture as a symbolic reading of human collectivities. Examines critical cultural studies of the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. Enables students to articulate their emerging knowledge of Middle East, South Asian, and African cultures in a theoretically informed language. 

Fall 2017: MDES UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3000 001/25857 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
4 78/86

MDES UN3001 Supervised Readings. 1-6 points.

Sign up for sections in the department.

Fall 2017: MDES UN3001
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3001 001/17026  
1-6 0

MDES UN1220 Literary Modernities: The Arabic Novel and Its Others . 3 points.

How did the novel come to be seen as the dominant form of Arabic literary modernity in the twentieth century? And what other forms of literary expression and imagination might be obscured by the conflation of the novel and the modern? To explore these intertwined questions, we will study a set of Arabic texts composed before and during the so-called rise of the novel from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. These texts draw from a variety of literary traditions, techniques, and forms, giving us a sense of the heterogeneous literary imaginary that was subsequently subsumed by the modular form of the novel. Reading these texts alongside (and sometimes against) the scholarship that purports to explain them, we will discuss the major historiographical, aesthetic, and theoretical debates in the study of modern Arabic literature. 

Spring 2017: MDES UN1220
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1220 001/84281 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
104 Knox Hall
Max Shmookler 3 15/20

CLME UN1520 Introduction to Modern Hebrew Literature: The Emergence of Modernism in Hebrew Prose. 3 points.

Exploring a rich variety of literary prose fiction, this course focuses on the emergence of modernism in Hebrew literature at the turn of the 20th century. Ever since the 19th century Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah), Hebrew literature has played a major role in the processes of permutation and transition within Jewish society, articulating new modes of thinking on matters such as body, identity, sexuality and language. In both its themes and aesthetics, Hebrew literature not only reflected these processes, but in fact created and shaped the public sphere within which these new ideas emerged. Identifying literature as an institution of the modern, intertwined with the rise of nationalism, this course will examine the coincidence, as well as the discrepancy, between modernist poetics and the nationalist imagination. It will ask how literature constructs national consciousness and whether, and in what ways, it ever exceeds it

Spring 2017: CLME UN1520
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CLME 1520 001/90949 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
307 Pupin Laboratories
Roni Henig 3 4/20

MDES W2041 Introduction to Indian Philosophy. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course is an overview of Indian philosophy, starting in the first millennium BCE and ending just prior to European colonization, and encompassing Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain thinkers. The readings will introduce a diversity of philosophical traditions—including but not limited to the “six schools”—through the ideas and debates that defined them. Points of focus will include epistemology, aesthetics, hermeneutics, and the philosophy of language. Broader themes will include philosophy as a cross-cultural enterprise, the ways that philosophical traditions were constituted and reconstituted over their history, the ways they interacted with each other, and the relationship between philosophy and religion.

MDES W2650 Gandhi and His Interlocutors. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement, Discussion Section Required

Gandhi is in two senses an extraordinary figure: he was the most important leader of anti-imperialist movements in the twentieth century; yet, his ideas about modernity, the state, the industrial economy, technology, humanity’s place in nature, the presence of God – were all highly idiosyncratic, sometimes at odds with the main trends of modern civilization. How did a man with such views come to have such an immense effect on history? In some ways, Gandhi is an excellent entry into the complex history of modern India – its contradictions, achievements, failures, possibilities. This course will be primarily a course on social theory, focusing on texts and discursive exchanges between various perceptions of modernity in India. It will have two parts: the first part will be based on reading Gandhi’s own writings; the second, on the writings of his main interlocutors. It is hoped that through these exchanges students will get a vivid picture of the intellectual ferment in modern India, and the main lines of social and political thought that define its intellectual culture. The study in this course can be followed up by taking related courses in Indian political thought, or Indian politics or modern history. This course may not be taken as Pass/D/Fail.

MDES UN3004 Islam in South Asia. 3 points.

This course explores the beginnings of Islam in South Asia, its growth over time, and the development of South Asian Muslims' cultural, social, religious and political life from the 8th century until the present.  It assumes no previous background in Islamic or South Asian studies.  Readings will include not only scholarly works, but also material in translation from chronicles, biographies, memoirs, novels, stories, and other primary sources.

Spring 2017: MDES UN3004
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3004 001/98200 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
214 Pupin Laboratories
Owen Cornwall 3 6/30

MDES UN3042 Palestinian and Israeli Politics and Society. 4 points.

The History of the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskala) in 19th century Europe and the development of Zionism through the current "peace process" between the state of Israel and the Arab states and the Palestinian national movement. Provides a historical overview of the Zionist-Palestinian conflict to familiarize undergraduates with the background of the current situation. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Spring 2017: MDES UN3042
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3042 001/21693 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
627 Seeley W. Mudd Building
Joseph Massad 4 25/90

MDES W3051 The Anatomy of Development: Critical Perspectives on Expertise in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. 3 points.

This course examines the emergence of development in the 20th Century as a global discourse of governance and how it shapes forms of power and authority in postcolonial societies. The class offers new ways for framing the question of development and thinking about the forms of social and economic knowledge which it produces.  Rather than tracing the history of development as a set of international institutions or as a "global" idea, this course approaches development from the local points where the knowledge and expertise of development are produced and deployed. Moving between the three regions of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the course explores the invention of concepts key to development discourse - such as progress, poverty market infomality, and empowerment - through readings in primary and secondary sources. How these concepts have been deployed and contested is then traced through specific historical examples.

MDES UN3121 Literature and Cultures of Struggle in South Africa. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Generations of resistance have shaped contemporary life in South Africa -- in struggles against colonialism, segregation, the legislated racism known as apartheid, and the entrenched inequalities of the post-apartheid era. Two constants in this history of struggle have been youth as a vanguard of liberation movements and culture as a "weapon of struggle." As new generation of South African youth -- the "born frees" -- has now taken to the streets and social media to "decolonize" the university and claim their education as a meaningful right, this course traces the ways that generations of writers, artists, and activists have faced censorship, exile, and repression in an ongoing struggle to dismantle apartheid and to free the mind, "the most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor" according to Black Consciousness activist Steve Biko. This course traces the profoundly important roles that literature and other cultural production (music, photography, film, comics, Twitter hashtags like #rhodesmustfall and #feesmustfall) have played in struggle against apartheid and its lingering afterlife. Although many of our texts were originally written in English, we will also discuss the historical forces, including nineteenth-century Christian missions and Bantu Education, as well as South Africa's post-1994 commitment to being a multilingual democracy, that have shaped the linguistic texture of South African cultural life.

Spring 2017: MDES UN3121
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3121 001/91446 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
503 Hamilton Hall
Jennifer Wenzel 3 26/30

MDES UN3130 East Africa and the Swahili Coast. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course offers an introduction to East African history and society. It is intended primarily for those who have taken an introductory course in African studies, such as MDES W2030 Major Debates in the Study of Africa or AFCV 1020 African Civilization, or similar courses in South Asian or Middle Eastern studies. Students read anthropological and historical studies of the region, alongside works of literature by a number of leading East African writers. The course emphasizes the historical role of the Swahili coast and Swahili language as forces that shaped an interconnected world stretching far inland and across the Indian Ocean, but that also shaped adversity and antagonisms.CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement.

MDES UN3260 Rethinking Middle East Politics. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course examines a set of questions that have shaped the study of the politics of the modern Middle East. It looks at the main ways those questions have been answered, exploring debates both in Western academic scholarship and among scholars and intellectuals in the region itself. For each question, the course offers new ways of thinking about the issue or ways of framing it in different terms. The topics covered in the course include: the kinds of modern state that emerged in the Middle East and the ways its forms of power and authority were shaped; the birth of economic development as a way of describing the function and measuring the success of the state, and the changing metrics of this success; the influence of oil on the politics of the region; the nature and role of Islamic political movements; the transformation of the countryside and the city and the role of rural populations and of urban protest in modern politics; and the politics of armed force and political violence in the region, and the ways in which this has been understood. The focus of the course will be on the politics of the twentieth century, but many topics will be traced back into developments that occurred in earlier periods, and several will be explored up to the present. The course is divided into four parts, each ending with a paper or exam in which participants are asked to analyze the material covered. Each part of the course has a geographical focus on a country or group of countries and a thematic focus on a particular set of questions of historical and political analysis.

Spring 2017: MDES UN3260
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3260 001/82531 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
601 Fairchild Life Sciences Bldg
Timothy Mitchell 4 58/60

AHUM UN3399 Colloquium on Major Texts: Middle East and South Asia. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Readings in translation and discussion of texts of Middle Eastern and Indian origin. Readings may include the Qur'an, Islamic philosophy, Sufi poetry, the Upanishads, Buddhist sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, Indian epics and drama, and Gandhi's Autobiography. 

Fall 2017: AHUM UN3399
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 3399 001/22856 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Wael Hallaq 3 20/20

MDES W3445 Societies & Cultures Across the Indian Ocean. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement
Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

The course is designed to introduce the Indian Ocean as a region linking the Middle East, East Africa, South and Southeast Asia. With a focus on both continuities and rupture from the medieval to the modern period, we study select cultures and societies brought into contact through interregional migration and travel over a broad arc of history. Different types of people - nobles, merchants, soldiers, statesmen, sailors, scholars, slaves - experienced mobility in different ways. How did different groups of people represent such mobilities? What kinds of cooperation, accommodation or conflict did different Indian Ocean encounters engender? Using an array of different primary sources, we look at particular case studies and their broader social and cultural contexts.

MDES W3541 Zionism: A Cultural Perspective. 3 points.

The course, based on Zionist texts of various kinds, will offer a view of Zionism as a cultural revolution aimed at redefining Judaism and the Jewish Identity.

MDES UN3644 Visual Cultures of Modern South Asia. 3 points.

This lecture course introduces students to the power and meaning of popular visual cultures of South Asia. Visual culture is a crucial arena for the enactment of social transformations and the creation of collective imaginaries. We will track such varied modern media types as calendar art, photography, film, architecture, clothing, and religious festivals, loosely following key chronological signposts in the shared histories of the subcontinent. Together, we will practice a new way of understanding history and society – a visual way that will make us aware of the diversity of hopes, fears, and dreams that comprise South Asia. Designed for students with a basic understanding of South Asian history, the course aims to familiarize you with key methodological approaches in visual culture studies and current debates in South Asian art history and media theory.

Spring 2017: MDES UN3644
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3644 001/12532 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
103 Knox Hall
Debashree Mukherjee 3 12/30

HSME W3810 History of South Asia I: al-Hind to Hindustan. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement
Graduate students must register for HIST G6999 version of this course.

This survey lecture course will provide students with a broad overview of the history of South Asia as a region - focusing on key political, cultural and social developments over more than two millennia. The readings include both primary sources (in translation) and secondary works. Our key concerns will be the political, cultural and theological encounters of varied communities, the growth of cities and urban spaces, networks of trade and migrations and the development of both local and cosmopolitan cultures across Southern Asia. The survey will begin with early dynasties of the classical period and then turn to the subsequent formation of various Perso-Turkic polities, including the development and growth of hybrid political cultures such as those of Vijayanagar and the Mughals. The course also touches on Indic spiritual and literary traditions such as Sufi and Bhakti movements. Near the end of our course, we will look forward towards the establishment of European trading companies and accompanying colonial powers.

HSME UN3916 Africa, Empire, and the 20th Century World. 3 points.

This seminar offers students an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of African political thought and action during the first half of the twentieth century. It brings together readings from a range of disciplines, including history, colonial and post­colonial studies, women's studies, and literary studies as well as primary documents and novels to explore African intellectuals' engagement with European imperialism and international politics, and their positioning of Africa within the twentieth century world. 

MDES UN3920 Contemporary Culture in the Modern Arab World. 3 points.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

This seminar, designed for seniors, aims to acquaint students with the notion and theoretical understanding of culture and to introduce them to a critical method by which they can study and appreciate contemporary culture in the Arab World. The seminar will survey examples of written and cinematic culture (fiction and autobiography), as well as music, dance, and literary criticism in the contemporary Arab world. Students will be reading novels, autobioghraphies and literary criticism, as well as watch films and listen to music as part of the syllabus. All material will be in translation. Films will be subtitled. Songs will be in Arabic.

Fall 2017: MDES UN3920
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3920 001/24506 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Joseph Massad 3 18/24

CLME UN3928 Arabic Prison Writing. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course studies the genealogy of the prison in Arab culture as manifested in memoirs, narratives, and poems. These cut across a vast temporal and spatial swathe, covering selections from the Quran, Sufi narratives from al-Halllaj oeuvre, poetry by prisoners of war: classical, medieval, and modern. It   also studies modern narratives by women prisoners and political prisoners, and narratives that engage with these issues. Arabic prison writing is studied against other genealogies of this prism, especially in the West, to map out the birth of prison, its institutionalization, mechanism, and role. All readings for the course are in English translations.

Fall 2017: CLME UN3928
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CLME 3928 001/22923 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Muhsin Al-Musawi 3 20/20

MDES UN3960 MESAAS Honors Thesis Seminar. 4 points.

Open to seniors who have declared MESAAS as their major only.

Prerequisites: minimum GPA of 3.5 in MESAAS courses.

The MESAAS honors seminar offers students the opportunity to undertake a sustained research project under close faculty supervision. The DUS advises on general issues of project design, format, approach, general research methodologies, and timetable. In addition, students work with an individual advisor who has expertise in the area of the thesis and can advise on the specifics of method and content. The thesis will be jointly evaluated by the adviser, the DUS, and the honors thesis TA. The DUS will lead students through a variety of exercises that are directly geared to facilitating the thesis. Students build their research, interpretive, and writing skills; discuss methodological approaches; write an annotated bibliography; learn to give constructive feedback to peers and respond to feedback effectively. The final product is a polished research paper in the range of 40-60 pages. Please note: This is a one-year course that begins in the fall semester (1 point) and continues through the spring semester (3 points). Only students who have completed both semesters will receive the full 4 points of credit.

Spring 2017: MDES UN3960
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3960 001/21477 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
208 Knox Hall
Kai Kresse 4 7/20
Fall 2017: MDES UN3960
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3960 001/21026 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
4 7/20

MDES G4052 Locating Africa in the Early 20th Century World. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement
Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

During the early twentieth century the meaning of Africa and its location within the “universal” historical narrative was a source of discussion and debate among western and African elites.  In this seminar, we will study the ways that African and people of African descent participated in this discussion. Through primary and secondary readings, we will learn about how African, African American and European writers, artists and activists engaged and (re) interpreted imperial and international resources (including the insights of the new sciences of Man) to (re)imagine their political and social situations, and to participate in various political expressions , including surrealism, pan-Africanism, communism, feminism, black internationalism, and anti-imperialism. We will also engage critically debates (e.g., Egyptianisms and Ethiopianisms) and theoretical developments in African, imperial, transnational, international and global scholarship that seeks to understand the complex traffic of people and ideas across national and imperial boundaries.

MDES W4122 The Novel in Africa. 4 points.

The main task of this course will be to read novels by African writers. But "the novel in Africa" also involves connections between the literary genre of the novel and the historical processes of colonialism, decolonization, and globalization in Africa. One important question we'll consider is how African novels depict those historical experiences in their themes and plots—we'll read novels that are "about" colonialism, etc. A more complex question is how these historical processes relate to the emergence of the novel as an important genre for African writers. Edward Said went so far as to say that without imperialism, there would be no European novel as we know it. How can we understand the novel in Africa (whether read or written) as a product of the colonial encounter? How did it shape the process of decolonization? What contribution to history, whether literary or political, does the novel in Africa make? We'll undertake a historical survey of African novels from the 1930s to the present, with attention to various subgenres (village novel, war novel, urbanization novel, novel of postcolonial disillusion, Bildungsroman). We'll attend to how African novelists blend literate and oral storytelling traditions, how they address their work to local and global audiences, and how they use scenes of characters reading novels (whether African or European) in order to position their writing within national, continental, and world literary space.

MDES G4144 Africa: Modernity and the Post Colonial Experience. 4 points.

Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

This 4000 level seminar course is organized around weekly readings that represent substantial contributions to the debate about both 'modernity' and 'postcolonial experience' in Africa, from a range of interrelated disciplinary perspectives. In readings and discussions, we will keep the relationship between the two main discursive fields in view, and also (re-)consider the ongoing relevance of colonialism and colonial experiences in relation to them. Conceptual reflections on modernity and postcolonial experience(s) need to be based upon empirical research, and underpinned by regional socio-historical knowledge of the settings and scenarios discussed - there is no 'modernity' per se and no 'postcolonial experience' as such. We will involve comparative, historical and contemporary angles of discussion, and pursue an interest in critical conceptualization in relation to social and political realities in Africa, and with a view to African thinkers.

MDES GU4150 Introduction to African Philosophy. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

In seminar discussions, we will be covering key readings in African Philosophy, following how this field of research and academic debate has emerged, progressed and become more sub­differentiated in the 20th and early 21 st century. While the main task set here is to understand the essential readings of the debate about African philosophy as it has been led by academic African philosophers, in the second part of the semester, we will pick up in an interdisciplinary manner on open questions and fields for further research that have been identified. For instance, in addressing questions of how to approach (document, qualify, understand) traditions of oral and written philosophical discourse as part of long-standing regional (and trans-regional) intellectual histories, expressed in African languages, we involve knowledge in linguistics, history, anthropology and religion. 

Spring 2017: MDES GU4150
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4150 001/25284 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
104 Knox Hall
Kai Kresse 4 11/20

CLME G4226 Arabic Self-Narratives. 4 points.

This course applies current theories to the study of Arabic literary production.  It focuses on forms of the 'sacred' and social critique that have developed over time and gathered momentum in the modern period.  Although a number of Arab intellectual interventions are used to substantiate literary production, the primary concern of the discussion is narrative.  A base for modern narrative was laid in the tenth century Maqamat of Badi al-Zaman al-Hamadhnai that led in turn to the growth of this phenomenal achievement that set the stage for narratives of contestation, crisis, and critique.  

CLME G4227 The Islamic Context of the Arabian Nights since the Establishment of Baghdad. 4 points.

Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

This course questions the popular assumption that the tales of the Thousand and One Nights lack any Islamic content and that their fantastic or erotic dimensions are the only dynamic narrative components behind the vogue. This collection is read against a number of contemporaneous writings (in English translation), including al-Hamadan’s Manama, to discuss issues that relate to market inspectorships, economy, social order, marginal groups like the mad, the use of public space including the hammed, and the position on fate, destiny, time, afterlife, sex and love. The course takes its starting point from classical Arabic narratives, poetry and epistolary art and follows up the growth of this repository as it conveys, reveals, or debates Islamic tenets and jurists’ stand. The course aspires to provide students with a solid and wide range of information and knowledge on Islamic culture since the emergence of the Islamic center in Baghdad (b. 762). Students are expected to develop a critical method and insightful analysis in dealing with the text, its contemporaneous works from among the belletristic tradition and popular lore, its adaptations, and use and misuse in Arabic culture since the ninth century. No prior knowledge of Arabic language is required.

CLME G4228 The Arab Street: Politics and Poetics of Transformation. 4 points.

This course responds to the sweeping winds of change in the Arab region, covering a great amount of archival and media material including documentaries, films, narratives, poetry and songs.  It substantiates and synthesizes its analysis with a theoretical frame that makes use of Arab intellectual thought in translation, along with legacies of popular revolutions and liberation movements in the Arab region and in the three continents, along with readings of significance in the literature of World War I and II. The course initiates its discussion with experts’ speculations on the difference between the deliberate ‘creative chaos’ as part of an imperial strategy, and popular revolutions that swept some autocratic and dictatorial regimes. To reach a better understanding of this difference, the course will explore the rites of passage through which these movements grow and authenticate their presence before finding the right medium or occasion to burst out in a volcanic fashion. The course explores: memory, the changing role of the elite, youth movements, people’s leadership, the changing lexicon, conceptualization of nationhood, social media and solidarity, regional specifics and common concerns, and the rise of a new poetics as a confederation of semiotics, rhetoric and expressive devices. In their presentations and research students are encouraged to participate in archival material gathering, analysis of required texts and active participation in roundtable discussions.

CLME GU4231 Cold War Arab Culture. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course studies the effects and strategies of the cold war on Arab writing, education, arts and translation, and the counter movement in Arab culture to have its own identities. As the cold war functioned and still functions on a global scale, thematic and methodological comparisons are drawn with Latin America, India and Africa.

Spring 2017: CLME GU4231
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CLME 4231 001/64506 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
207 Knox Hall
Muhsin Al-Musawi 4 18/20

CLME GU4241 Sufism: Primary Texts and Contexts. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course studies Sufism as it has emerged, developed, and assumed its presence in Sufi autobiographies and religious and literary writings. The Sufi Path is traced in these writings that include poems like ibn al-Farid’s Poem of the Way. Sufi States and Stations are analyzed to understand this Path that reaches its culmination in an ecstatic sense of Oneness. Sufism is also a social and political phenomenon that unsettles formal theologies and involves Sufis in controversies that often end with their imprisonment and death.

Spring 2017: CLME GU4241
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CLME 4241 001/68688 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
207 Knox Hall
Muhsin Al-Musawi 4 14/20

CLME G4248 Iraq: War, Love and Exile. 4 points.

This course explores three major thematic concerns that distinguish Iraqi narrative after 2003. War, love, and exile are at the center of Iraqi writers' narrative which has been winning the attention of very large audiences in Iraq, the Arab world, the US and Europe. These narratives demonstrate richness and dexterity and have been winning high acclaim as great writings of war, estrangements and love.  

MDES G4253 Islamic Law: The Three Debates. 4 points.

Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

Prerequisites: ASCM V2003 or equivalent.

This seminar deals with three paradigmatic sets of questions in the history of Islamic law, each set representing and encompassing key themes pertaining to three important historical phases. Long-standing debates on the “origins” of the Shari‘a will be explored, as will the constitution of the formative period, which is variably claimed to stretch from two to four centuries. Scholarship on this period will be examined as ideology. In the second set of questions, squarely situated in the post-formative period (ca. 11th – 17th c.) we examine the relationship between and among social custom, juridical practice and formal legal doctrine, discussing in outline the structural mechanisms the Shari‘a has developed to accommodate legal change. Scholarship on this period and on what the features of this period came to represent in the overall constructed history of the Shari‘a will also be examined as ideology. In the third set of questions, we analyze so-called legal reform and the role of state in converting the Shari‘a to a modern institution that is qualitatively different from its pre-modern predecessor. Scholarship on the Shari‘a in the modern period will also be examined as ideology. Finally, but not necessarily at the end of the course, we will pose questions about the nature of interpretation and language in the construction of a paradigmatic idea (and history) of the Shari‘a.

MDES GU4257 Jerusalem: the Sacred, Imaginary, and Worldly City. 4 points.

...This course will address the sacred, imagined and worldly Jerusalem through its social history, religious rituals, the politics of archaeology, planning and urban transformation, demographic debates, ethnicity and war.  It will examine the commodification and packaging of holy city for pilgrimage and tourism.  The course will address the current predicament of the city and its future within the context of Arab Israeli conflict....

Spring 2017: MDES GU4257
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4257 001/11036 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
325 Pupin Laboratories
Salim Tamari 4 9/20

CLME G4261 Popular Islam: Asia and Africa. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course explores common beliefs and practices that are held by Muslims across ethnicities and national borders. It looks at these not only from a Herder’s perspective of a national-popular dynamic as a formative part in cultural capital, but also from a deep-rooted Islamica as an accumulated faith that got woven into local and indigenous cultures. Hence, it questions the whole idea of Islamic modernity, in its ethnic and national images, as a culmination of the encounter with Europe. It interrogates the premise as an elitist worldview that has overlooked the formation processes in the makeup of cultural and identitarian politics and poetics. Laying emphasis on the shared and common beliefs among the Muslim mass audience, it studies visitations, sites of intercession like shrines, amulets, encomiums to the Prophet, Sufi tales, dhikr recitations, dreams and their interpretation,  divination, and many other common beliefs and practices that cut across modernity paradigms  and binary structures. Through close analysis of these practices in texts, poetry, narrative, travelogue and memoirs, it argues that the bane of modernity is its subordination to a Western ideal that minimizes or even negates its engagement with Islamic and Arabic-writing tradition. The nation state and through codification processes and as led by the intelligentsia forged a social program that usually invalidates common practices and rural culture. Only after 1967, the unsettling experience of total bankruptcy, that intellectuals question the dichotomies of science versus religion and the myth of progress versus tradition. The rise of Islamic movements since the Iranian Revolution began to pose questions with respect to modernity and the viable means of economic and social welfare. New writings, forms and modes of expression take to the street where they find substance and faith that has been ignored for long under cultural dependency.  Under the increasing role of social media and cyberspace, non-traditional forums, modes of expression and mediums gradually take over the right to speak for religion and disseminate its own languages that ironically converse with pre-modern venues and means of dialogue.   These works receive due attention in relation to theoretical studies that may help increase readers’ critical insight. No prior knowledge of Arabic language is required. 

MDES GU4357 WAR,GENOCIDE,& AFTERMATH COMP PERSPECTIV. 3 points.

This 4000-level course examines how societies grapple with the legacy of mass violence, through an exploration of historical texts, memoirs, textbooks, litigation, and media reports and debates on confronting the past. Focusing on case studies of the Herero Genocide, the Armenian genocide during WWI, and the Holocaust and the Comfort Women during WWII, students investigate the crime and its sequelae, looking at how societies deal with skeletons in their closets ( engaging in silence, trivialization, rationalization, and denial to acknowledgment, apology, and repair); surveying responses of survivors and their descendants (with particular attention to intergeneration transmission of trauma, forgiveness, resentment, and the pursuit of redress); and dissecting public debates on modern day issues that harken back to past atrocities. 

Spring 2017: MDES GU4357
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4357 001/75780 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
C01 Knox Hall
Khatchig Mouradian 3 11/25

MDES G4601 Politics in India. 4 points.

This course will combine study of long-term historical sociology with more short term understanding of policies and their possible effects. Though its main purpose will be to provide students with an understanding of politics after independence, it will argue, methodologically, that this understanding should be based on a study of historical sociology – plotting long-terms shifts in the structure of social power.  The course will start with analyses of the structures of power and ideas about political legitimacy in pre-modern India, and the transformations brought by colonialism into that order. After a brief study of the nature of political order under the colonial state, the courses will focus primarily on the history of the democratic state after independence.

MDES G4652 Mughal India. 4 points.

The Mughal period was one of the most dynamic eras in world history, when India was the meeting place of many cultures. Of Timurid ancestry, the earliest Mughal rulers drew upon the heritage of Central Asia in their ruling styles and cultural practices, but they would soon adapt to the complexities of their Indian milieu, which had longstanding traditions that were a blend of Sanskrit and Persian, Hindu and Muslim idioms. European culture, whether filtered through Jesuit sermons, itinerant merchants, or Flemish engravings, was also making inroads into India during this period. This course is a broad cultural history of Mughal India as seen from a range of perspectives and sources. We consider the Mughals’ major achievements in visual culture as manifested in painting and architecture, as well as exploring diverse topics in religion, literature, politics, and historiography. Yet another approach is to listen to the voices of the Mughal rulers as recorded in their memoirs, as well as investigating the signal contributions of the dynasty’s women.

CLME G4621 Court Cultures of India. 4 points.

This course approaches the phenomenon of princely India from a range of perspectives. Students learn about the political and cultural practices of specific courts that played a major role in Indian history such as the Guptas, Vijayanagarm and the Mughals, while also being exposed to aspects of Indian courtly life more generally. Topics include, among others, literature, art, architecture, intellectual practices, music and the science of erotics (Kamasutra). While the emphasis is on Indian court culture as seen from within India, cross cultural perspectives are also introduced. For instance, why were Sanskrit literature and Indian architecture emulated far afield in Southeast Asia in the first millenium? And how was Indian court culture perceived by Europeans in the early modern and colonial periods? The course concludes with some reflections on the legacy of Mughals and maharajas in postcolonial India.

MDES GU4630 Histories of Translation in Premodern India. 4 points.

This course will provide a survey of the historical practices of textual translation in India as well as some of the ways in which translation has been used to open up analysis of a broad set of cultural practices.  Discussion topics will range from methods of translation to conceptual commensurability, translatability, patronage and vernacularization, as the class rigorously examines how to approach the following questions: What was translation in India?  What were the ways in which it was theorized? What was the relationship between translation and political power?  How does a history of translation challenge nationalist narratives of culture, if at all? 

 

Spring 2017: MDES GU4630
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4630 001/19291 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
318 Knox Hall
Owen Cornwall 4 2/20

MDES G4654 Gender, Power and Culture in Early Modern India. 4 points.

Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

This course engages with the history of early modern India (c. 1500-1800) through the analytic lenses of gender, culture and power with an emphasis on Persianate contexts. Our main question is how the analytics of gender and sexuality can illuminate issues surrounding culture and power in India. Conversely, we explore how early modern Indian contexts challenge the assumptions of theoretical works on gender and sexuality. The topics we consider include the politics of history writing, mysticism, self-fashioning, imperial self-figuring, the ethics and aesthetics of morality, love, heroism, homosocial relations and homoerotic practices.  To this end, we read theoretical works, recent scholarly studies and an array of primary sources such as memoirs, moral exempla, historical chronicles, monuments, paintings, Sufi sayings (malfuzat), epic literature, moral philosophy, and political advice literature.

CLME G4733 Iran: Film, Fiction, Poetry & History. 4 points.

Through varied exposure to Iranian film and fiction, and Persian poetry, this course is designed to introduce students to critical themes and creative effervescence of modern Iranian culture. The course will concentrate on Iranian cultural history of the last two centuries, with particular emphasis on contemporary issues.

CLME G4760 Shi'ites and Shi'ism. 4 points.

Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

Arabic Language Courses

MDES GU4210 Third Year Arabic I. 5 points.

NOTE: There are 2 sections of Third Year Arabic I. Section 001 follows the standard curriculum building all 4 language skills, as described below. Section 002 follows a reading-intensive curriculum, with less emphasis on listening and writing while still conducted in Arabic, and is intended for those preparing for advanced research in modern or classical Arabic texts. Students in the regular third-year Arabic track improve reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills through close reading, compositions, class discussions, and presentations in Arabic on topics such as cultures of the Arab world, classical and modern Arabic literature, and contemporary Arabic media. Review of grammatical and syntactic rules as needed. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES GU4210
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4210 001/21383 M T W Th 8:50am - 9:55am
Room TBA
Reem Faraj 5 12/12
MDES 4210 002/74990 M T W Th 1:10pm - 2:15pm
Room TBA
Ouijdane Absi 5 3/12

MDES GU4214 Fourth Year Classical Arabic I. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Students should have completed Third Year Arabic

Through reading excerpts from thirteen essential works, starting with Jabarti's history of the French Campaign in Egypt to a chapter from al-Qur'an, students will be able to increase their fluency and accuracy in Arabic while working on reading text and being exposed to the main themes in Classical Arabic literature, acquire a sense of literary style over a period of fourteen centuries as well as literary analytical terminology and concepts. The texts are selections from essential works that the students will read in detail, write critical pieces, engage in discussion and have assignments which will expand their vocabulary, manipulation of advanced grammar concepts, and employing stylistic devices in their writing. This course will enable students to start doing research in classical Arabic sources and complements MESAAS's graduate seminar Readings in Classical Arabic. The course works with all four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing). Arabic is the language of instruction. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES GU4214
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4214 001/71150 T Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Taoufik Ben-Amor 4 1/15

MDES GU4216 Advanced Arabic Grammar Review. 4 points.

Through reading and writing, students will review Arabic Grammar concepts within the context of linguistic functions such as narration, description, comparison, etc. For example, within the function of narration, students will focus on verb tenses, word order, and adverbials. Based on error analysis in the past twelve years that the Arabic Program has been using Al-Kitaab, emphasis will be placed on common and frequent grammatical errors. Within these linguistic functions and based on error analysis, the course will review the following main concepts:   Types of sentence and sentence/clause structure.The Verb system, pattern meanings and verb complementation.Quadriliteral verb patterns and derivations.Weak Verbs derivations, conjugation, tense frames and negation.Case endings.Types of noun and participle: Noun of time, place, instance, stance, instrument, active and passive participles.Types of construct phrase: al-iDafa.Types of Adverbials and verb complements: Hal, Tamyiz, Maf’ul mutlaq, Maf’ul li’ajlihi, adverbs of time, frequency, place and manner.The number system and countable nouns.Types of maa.Diptotes, al-mamnu’ min-aSSarf. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

MDES UN1208 Arabic For Heritage Speakers I. 5 points.

Intended for heritage speakers only.

As of academic year 2016-17, this course is now MDES 2208. This is an intensive course that combines the curriculum of both First and Second Year Arabic in two semesters instead of four, and focuses on the productive skills (speaking and writing) in Modern Standard Arabic (Fusha). Students are exposed intensively to grammar and vocabulary of a high register. After successful completion of this course, students will be able to move on to Third Year Arabic. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES UN1208
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1208 001/25399 M T W Th 10:10am - 11:15am
Room TBA
Youssef Nouhi 5 3/15

MDES UN1210 First Year Arabic I. 5 points.

As of academic year 2016-17, this course is now MDES 1201. An introduction to the language of classical and modern Arabic literature. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Spring 2017: MDES UN1210
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1210 002/16001 M T W Th 10:10am - 11:15am
101 Knox Hall
Youssef Nouhi 5 8/12
Fall 2017: MDES UN1210
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1210 001/65018 M T W Th 8:50am - 9:55am
Room TBA
Youssef Nouhi 5 12/12
MDES 1210 002/13294 M T W Th 10:10am - 11:15am
Room TBA
5 10/12
MDES 1210 003/71726 M T W Th 11:40am - 12:45pm
Room TBA
Rym Bettaieb 5 5/12
MDES 1210 004/11815 M T W Th 4:10pm - 5:15pm
Room TBA
May Ahmar 5 11/12

MDES UN1211 First Year Arabic II. 5 points.

Prerequisites: MDES W1201 or instructor permission.

As of academic year 2016-17, this course is now MDES 1202. An introduction to the language of classical and modern Arabic literature. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Spring 2017: MDES UN1211
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1211 002/26554 M T W Th 8:50am - 9:55am
101 Knox Hall
Taoufik Ben-Amor 5 14/12
MDES 1211 003/75922 M T W Th 4:10pm - 5:15pm
101 Knox Hall
May Ahmar 5 10/12
Fall 2017: MDES UN1211
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1211 001/77730 M T W Th 10:10am - 11:15am
Room TBA
Reem Faraj 5 12/12

Armenian Language Courses

MDES UN1301 Elementary Armenian I. 4 points.

In Elementary Armenian I, students learn the Armenian script and the basic grammar that will enable them to communicate about topics relating to themselves and their immediate surroundings: family, school, daily occupations, describing people, expressing likes and dislikes, requesting and giving information about themselves and others, proper forms of greetings, etc. They also begin to read signs, advertisements, and develop the skills to read texts like short stories and Armenian fables. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES UN1301
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1301 001/62812 M W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Charry Karamanoukian 4 1/15

MDES UN1309 Intensive Armenian for Heritage Speakers. 4 points.

Intensive Armenian for Heritage Speakers is an accelerated course for students of Armenian origin who already have basic knowledge of the spoken language and are able to converse on familiar topics relating to themselves and their immediate surroundings. The course will focus on developing their skills in reading, writing, and speaking and Armenian grammar and vocabulary. By the end of the course, students will be able to read, write and discuss simple texts. Placement will be based on an interview and questionnaire about their background. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES UN1309
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1309 001/72301 T Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Charry Karamanoukian 4 0/15

MDES UN2301 Intermediate Armenian I. 4 points.

Prerequisites: MDES W1310-W1311 or the equivalent.

A continuation of the study of reading, writing and speaking of Armenian. In Intermediate Armenian I, students learn to communicate about a wide range of topics. Such topics include biographical narration, cooking and recipes, health and well-being, holidays and celebrations, travel and geography, etc. At this level, students continue to develop their skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening while perfecting the grammatical concepts to which they were introduced in the first year. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES UN2301
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 2301 001/22273 T Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Charry Karamanoukian 4 1/15

MDES W4314 Readings in Armenian Texts. 3 points.

Prerequisites: MDES W1312 and MDES W1313, Intermediate Armenian or equivalent.

Readings in Armenian Texts is the highest-level language course offered by the Armenian Language Program at MEALAC. It is designed for students who have a good foundation of the language or have attained the equivalent of Intermediate level Armenian and wish to perfect their knowledge of grammar while developing their skills in independent reading. The content of the course will change each term. Students will be introduced to a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts in Armenian. Texts will consist of full length short stories and newspaper articles as well as excerpts from lengthier works, all in modern Western Armenian. The emphasis will be on analyzing context, syntax and grammatical structures as clues towards comprehension. In addition to grammar and vocabulary analysis, students will produce translations, brief summaries and commentaries on the texts they read, both orally and in written form. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Hebrew Language Courses

MDES GU4501 Readings in Hebrew Texts I. 4 points.

Prerequisites: 3RD Year Modern Hebrew or the instructor's permission.

This course focuses on central identities shaping Israeli society and is designed to give students extensive experience in reading Hebrew. Through selected readings of contemporary literary works and media texts, students will increase their proficiency in Hebrew and enhance their understanding of Israeli culture and society. All readings, written assignments, and class discussions are in Hebrew. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES GU4501
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4501 001/64568 T Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Naama Harel 4 3/15

MDES GU4510 Third Year Modern Hebrew I. 4 points.

Prerequisites: 2nd Year Modern Hebrew II or the instructor's permission. Students are expected to have basic familiarity with regular and irregular verbs in five categories of the Hebrew verb system: Pa'al, Pi'el, Hif'il, Hitpa'el and Nif'al.

This course is designed to take students from the intermediate to advanced level. Students will further develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in Hebrew through an examination of a wide range of sources, including short stories, poems, visual arts, popular music, television shows and films. All readings, written assignments, and class discussions are in Hebrew. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES GU4510
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4510 001/63904 T Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Naama Harel 4 6/15

Persian Language Courses

MDES GU4710 Advanced Persian I. 3 points.

While helping students advance their levels of oral and written expression, this course focuses on literature of the modern and medieval periods, with particular emphasis on the development of the modern novella and traditional and new forms of poetry. In addition to literature, students are introduced to a wide variety of genres from political and cultural essays and blogs to newspaper translations of the early 20th century. They will be further exposed to ta´rof in reference to a wide variety of socio-cultural contexts and be expected to use ta´rof in class conversations. Students will be exposed to popular artists and their works and satirical websites for insight into contemporary Iranian culture and politics. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES GU4710
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4710 001/16619 M W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Saeed Honarmand 3 2/12

MDES W4711 Advanced Persian II. 3 points.

While helping students advance their levels of oral and written expression, this course focuses on literature of the modern and medieval periods, with particular emphasis on the development of the modern novella and traditional and new forms of poetry. In addition to literature, students are introduced to a wide variety of genres from political and cultural essays and blogs to newspaper translations of the early 20th century. They will be further exposed to ta´rof in reference to a wide variety of socio-cultural contexts and be expected to use ta´rof in class conversations. Students will be exposed to popular artists and their works and satirical websites for insight into contemporary Iranian culture and politics.

Spring 2017: MDES W4711
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4711 001/68656 M W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
300 Union Theological Seminary
Saeed Honarmand 3 2/12

Turkish Language Courses

MDES GU4910 Advanced Turkish I. 3 points.

 Advanced Turkish I is designed to use authentic Turkish materials around projects that are chosen by the student in a research seminar format where students conduct their own research and share it in class in a friendly atmosphere. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES GU4910
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4910 001/75251 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Zuleyha Colak 3 0/10

MDES GU4921 Elementary Ottoman Turkish I. 3 points.

Prerequisites: two years of modern Turkish.

Elementary Ottoman Turkish aims to focus on reading selected authentic print materials that are enjoyable and interesting, such as authentic detective novels, historical documents, and literary materials. The class materials are designed according to the interests of students in a fast-paced learning environment. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES GU4921
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4921 001/24870 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Ihsan Colak 3 0/15

MDES GU4926 Intermediate Ottoman Turkish I. 3 points.

Prerequisites: Elementary Ottoman Turkish.

Intermediate Otttoman deals with authentic Ottoman texts from the early 18th and 19th centuries. The class uses Turkish as the primary language for instruction, and students are expected to translate assigned texts into Turkish or English. A reading packet will include various authentic archival materials in rika, talik and divani styles. Whenever possible, students will be given texts that are related to their areas of interest. Various writing styles will be dealt with on Ottoman literature, history, and archival documents. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES GU4926
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4926 001/20067  
3 1/10

Hindi-Urdu Language Courses

MDES UN1608 Hindi for Heritage Speakers I. 5 points.

This is an accelerated course for students of South Asian origin who already possess a knowledge of basic vocabulary and limited speaking and listening skills in Hindi. They may not have sufficient skills in reading and writing but are able to converse on familiar topics such as: self, family, likes, dislikes and immediate surroundings. This course will focus on developing knowledge of the basic grammar of Hindi and vocabulary enrichment by exposing students to a variety of cultural and social topics related to aspects of daily life; and formal and informal registers. Students will be able to read and discuss simple texts and write about a variety of everyday topics by the end of the semester. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES UN1608
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1608 001/10986 M T W Th 11:40am - 12:45pm
Room TBA
Dalpat Rajpurohit 5 8/15
MDES 1608 002/75858 M T W Th 2:40pm - 3:45pm
Room TBA
Dalpat Rajpurohit 5 5/15

MDES W1609 Hindi for Heritage Speakers II. 5 points.

This is an accelerated course for students of South Asian origin who already possess a knowledge of basic vocabulary and limited speaking and listening skills in Hindi. They may not have sufficient skills in reading and writing but are able to converse on familiar topics such as: self, family, likes, dislikes and immediate surroundings. This course will focus on developing knowledge of the basic grammar of Hindi and vocabulary enrichment by exposing students to a variety of cultural and social topics related to aspects of daily life; and formal and informal registers. Students will be able to read and discuss simple texts and write about a variety of everyday topics by the end of the semester. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Spring 2017: MDES W1609
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1609 001/20330 M T W Th 2:40pm - 3:45pm
104 Knox Hall
Dalpat Rajpurohit 5 12/15

MDES W1611 Elementary Hindi-Urdu II. 5 points.

As of academic year 2016-17, this course is now MDES 1602. An introduction to the most widely spoken language of South Asia. Along with an understanding of the grammar, the course offers practice in listening and speaking. The Hindi (Devanagari) script is used for reading and writing. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Spring 2017: MDES W1611
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1611 002/28707 M T W Th 4:10pm - 5:15pm
C01 Knox Hall
Rakesh Ranjan 5 7/15

MDES W1613 Intermediate Hindi-Urdu II. 5 points.

Prerequisites: MDES W1610-W1611 or the instructor's permission.

As of academic year 2016-17, this course is now MDES 2602. Continuing practice in listening, speaking, and grammatical understanding. Along with the Hindi (Devanagari) script, the Urdu (Perso-Arabic) script is taught in the class; both scripts are used for reading and writing. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

MDES UN1614 Urdu for Heritage Speakers I. 5 points.

Prerequisites: a knowledge of basic vocabulary and limited speaking and listening skills in Urdu.

This is an accelerated course for students of South Asian origin who already possess a knowledge of basic vocabulary and limited speaking and listening skills in Urdu. They are not expected to know how to read and write in Urdu but are able to converse on familiar topics such as self, family, likes, dislikes and immediate surroundings. This course will focus on developing knowledge of the basic grammar of Urdu and vocabulary enrichment by exposing students to a variety of cultural and social topics related to aspects of daily life; and formal and informal registers. Students will be able to read and discuss simple Urdu texts  and write about a variety of everyday topics by the end of the semester. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES UN1614
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1614 001/76536 M T W Th 2:40pm - 3:45pm
Room TBA
Aftab Ahmad 5 6/15

MDES W4610 Readings In Hindi Literature I. 4 points.

May be repeated for credit; content varies.

Prerequisites: MDES W1613 or the instructor's permission.

The course introduces students to the riches of the classical Hindi tradition. We read bhakti and Sufi literature in tandem, with a special interest in Tulsidas and the Indo-Islamic romance. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

MDES W4611 Readings In Hindi Literature II. 4 points.

May be repeated for credit; content varies.

Prerequisites: MDES W1613 or the instructor's permission.

The course introduces students to the riches of the classical Hindi tradition. We read bhakti and Sufi literature in tandem, with a special interest in Tulsidas and the Indo-Islamic romance. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

MDES GU4624 Advanced Hindi I. 5 points.

Advanced Hindi I and II are third year courses in the Hindi-Urdu program that aim to continue building upon the existing four language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) along with grammar and vocabulary in a communicative approach.  The objective of these courses is to strengthen students’ language skills and to go beyond them to understand and describe situations and the speech community, understand and discuss Hindi literature and films, news items, T.V. shows and current events. Students will also be given opportunities to work on their areas of interest such as popular culture, professional and research goals in the target language. Students will be expected to expand their vocabulary, enhance grammatical accuracy and develop cultural appropriateness through an enthusiastic participation in classroom activities and immersing themselves in the speech community outside. This course will be taught in the target language.  All kinds of conversations such as daily life, on social/public interests’ topics as well as on academic interests, will occur in the target language. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES GU4624
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4624 001/64032 T Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Rakesh Ranjan 5 5/15

MDES W4625 Advanced Hindi II. 5 points.

Advanced Hindi I and II are third year courses in the Hindi-Urdu program that aim to continue building upon the existing four language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) along with grammar and vocabulary in a communicative approach.  The objective of these courses is to strengthen students’ language skills and to go beyond them to understand and describe situations and the speech community, understand and discuss Hindi literature and films, news items, T.V. shows and current events. Students will also be given opportunities to work on their areas of interest such as popular culture, professional and research goals in the target language. Students will be expected to expand their vocabulary, enhance grammatical accuracy and develop cultural appropriateness through an enthusiastic participation in classroom activities and immersing themselves in the speech community outside. This course will be taught in the target language.  All kinds of conversations such as daily life, on social/public interests’ topics as well as on academic interests, will occur in the target language. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Spring 2017: MDES W4625
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4625 001/20967 T Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
112 Knox Hall
Rakesh Ranjan 5 6/15

MDES GU4635 Readings In Urdu Literature I. 4 points.

Prerequisites: two years of prior coursework in Hindi-Urdu (MDES W1612 & MDES W1613), one year of Urdu for Heritage Speakers (MDES W1614 & MDES W1615), or the instructor's permission.

This course is a a literary course, with in-depth exposure to some of the finest works of classical and modern Urdu prose and poetry. In the fall semester, our focus will be on some of the most famous Urdu short stories while, in the spring semester, we will focus on various genres of Urdu poetry. The content may change each semester. This course is open to both undergraduates and graduates. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES GU4635
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4635 001/28566 T Th 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
Aftab Ahmad 4 2/15

MDES W4636 Readings In Urdu Literature II. 4 points.

Prerequisites: two years of prior coursework in Hindi-Urdu (MDES W1612 & MDES W1613), one year of Urdu for Heritage Speakers (MDES W1614 & MDES W1615), or the instructor's permission.

This course is a literary course, with in-depth exposure to some of the finest works of classical and modern Urdu prose and poetry. In the fall semester, our focus will be on some of the most famous Urdu short stories while, in the spring semester, we will focus on various genres of Urdu poetry. The content may change each semester. This course is open to both undergraduates and graduates. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Spring 2017: MDES W4636
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4636 001/29598 T Th 6:10pm - 8:00pm
116 Knox Hall
Aftab Ahmad 4 9/15

Sanskrit Language Courses

MDES UN1401 Elementary Sanskrit I. 4 points.

An introduction to classical Sanskrit. Grammar, and reading of texts. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES UN1401
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1401 001/77056 M T W Th 9:10am - 10:00am
Room TBA
Guy Leavitt 4 1/15

MDES GU4810 Advanced Sanskrit I. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Two years of Sanskrit or the instructor's permission.

The two levels of advanced Sanskrit are given in alternate years. In 2015-2016, court literature (fall) and literary criticism (spring) will be offered; in 2016-2017, philosophy. Close reading of major works, exploring both philological and literary-theoretical aspects of the texts. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: MDES GU4810
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4810 001/21500 M W F 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Guy Leavitt 4 0/15

Tamil Language Courses

MDES W1202 Intermediate Tamil II. 4 points.

Prerequisites: MDES W1101-W1102 or the instructor's permission.

Further develops students' written and oral proficiency in order to allow them to function adequately in a Tamil-speaking environment. Of particular interest to students planning to conduct scholarly research or fieldwork in a Tamil-speaking context. Develops the students' appreciation for the rich culture of the Indian subcontinent where Tamil is spoken. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Pulaar Language Courses

PULA W1101 Elementary Pulaar I. 4 points.

This course offers students an introduction to the basic structures of Pulaar, a major language of West Africa. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

PULA W1102 Elementary Pulaar II. 4 points.

This course offers students an introduction to the basic structures of Pulaar, a major language of West Africa. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

PULA W1201 Intermediate Pulaar I. 4 points.

Prerequisites: PULA W1101-W1102 or the instructor's permission.

This course further develops a student's knowledge of Pulaar, a major language of West Africa. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

PULA W1202 Intermediate Pulaar II. 4 points.

Prerequisites: PULA W1101-W1102 or the instructor's permission.

This course further develops a student's knowledge of Pulaar, a major language of West Africa. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Swahili Language Courses

SWHL UN1101 Elementary Swahili I. 4 points.

Essentials of grammar, basic vocabulary, practice in speaking and reading Swahili the most widely used indigenous language of East Africa. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: SWHL UN1101
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SWHL 1101 001/19020 M T W Th 9:10am - 10:00am
Room TBA
Abdul Nanji 4 14/15

SWHL W1102 Elementary Swahili II. 4 points.

Essentials of grammar, basic vocabulary, practice in speaking and reading Swahili the most widely used indigenous language of East Africa. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Spring 2017: SWHL W1102
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SWHL 1102 001/28597 M T W Th 10:10am - 11:00am
318 Knox Hall
Abdul Nanji 4 5/15
SWHL 1102 002/14602 T Th 6:10pm - 8:00pm
114 Knox Hall
Abdul Nanji 4 7/15

SWHL W1202 Intermediate Swahili II. 4 points.

Prerequisites: SWHL W1101-W1102 or the instructor's permission.

As of academic year 2016-17, this course is now SWHL 2102. A review of the essentials of Swahili grammar; detailed analysis of Swahili texts; practice in conversation. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

SWHL W3336 Advanced Swahili II. 3-4 points.

Prerequisites: SWHL W1201-W1202 or the instructor's permission.

As of academic year 2016-17, this course is now SWHL 3302. An introduction to the advanced syntactical, morphological, and grammatical structures of Swahili grammar; detailed analysis of Swahili texts; practice in conversation. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Wolof Language Courses

WLOF N0101 Elementary Wolof, I and II. 0 points.

Same course as Wolof W1101x - W1102y, on a noncredit basis

WLOF UN1101 Elementary Wolof I. 4 points.

Introduction to the basic grammatical structures of Wolof, a major language of West Africa spoken in Senegal and Gambia. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Fall 2017: WLOF UN1101
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WLOF 1101 001/69656 M T W Th 12:10pm - 1:00pm
Room TBA
Mariame Sy 4 3/15

WLOF W1202 Intermediate Wolof II. 4 points.

Prerequisites: WLOF W1101-W1102 or the instructor's permission.

As of academic year 2016-17, this course is now WLOF 2102.  Further develops a student's knowledge of Wolof, a major language of West Africa spoken primarily in Senegal and Gambia. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Of Related Interest

History (Barnard)