Western Wall and Dome of the Rock, Israel; photo courtesy of Tom Paradise

MEST Core Courses

The following courses have been pre-approved to count toward fulfilling requirements for the MEST major and minor. Transfer, study abroad, and special topics classes may selectively count toward MEST program requirements and must be approved by the MEST director.  Students seeking credit for outside classes should submit syllabi from courses taken for consideration.

Anthropology

Explores multiple aspects of Ancient Egyptian civilization including chronology, art, religion, literature and daily life. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Covers a special topic or issue. May be repeated for up to 12 hours of degree credit.

Special topics classes may selectively count toward MEST program requirements and must be approved by the MEST director.

Covers a special topic or issue, offered as part of the honors program. Prerequisite: honors candidacy (not restricted to candidacy in anthropology). May be repeated for degree credit.

Special topics classes may selectively count toward MEST program requirements and must be approved by the MEST director.

Study of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East; ecology, ethnicity, economics, social organizations, gender, politics, religion, and patterns of social change. May be repeated for up to 9 hours of degree credit.

Covers a special topic or issue. May be repeated for up to 9 hours of degree credit.

Arabic

Continued development of speaking, comprehension, reading, writing. Reading assignments introduce a variety of styles ranging from classical to modern in both prose and verse.

Development of advanced speaking and writing skills. Extensive reading and writing assignments and translating exercises from English into Arabic. Prerequisite: ARAB 4016.

Continued advanced speaking, reading, and writing skills. Prerequisite: ARAB 4023.

May be offered in a topic not specifically covered by courses otherwise listed. May be repeated for degree credit.

English

The study of works of Arab American literature, with attention to particular themes, genres, authors, literary movements, historical moments, or other organizing principles. Content varies. No knowledge of Arabic necessary. May be repeated for up to 9 hours of degree credit.

The study of works of Arab American literature, with attention to particular themes, genres, authors, literary movements, historical moments, or other organizing principles. Content varies. Research paper required. No knowledge of Arabic necessary. May be repeated for up to 9 hours of degree credit.

Geosciences

Physical and cultural landscapes, natural and cultural resources, art and architecture, land use, political history, OPEC, and current problems of North Africa and the Middle East region west of Afghanistan are discussed. Class participation, discussions, slides and films, and student presentations will round out the class. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Designed to meet the needs of students who wish to study one particular geographic topic in some detail.
Prerequisite: Junior standing. May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

Special topics classes may selectively count toward MEST program requirements and must be approved by the MEST director.

History

A survey of the foundation, evolution, and distinctive character of Islam, with attention to religion, literature, art, architecture, science, and political society. Particular attention given to the development of Islamic doctrines, sectarian movements, and systematic theology. Concludes with a look at Islamic resurgence movements and their place in the contemporary world.

Examines the history of the Islamic Middle East from the rise of the Ottoman and Safavid Persian empires up to World War I and then concludes with the issues and patterns of 20th century Middle Eastern political and socioeconomic life. Topics include Islam and politics, Arab nationalism, Western imperialism, the Arab-Zionist conflict, petroleum politics, and modernization vs. traditionalism.

History of 19th-20th Century Palestine, Zionism and the founding of modern Israel, and the Palestine-Israel
conflict in local and regional perspective.

Treats a special topic or issue, offered as part of the honors program. Prerequisite: Honors candidacy (not restricted to candidacy in history). May be repeated for degree credit.

Special topics classes may selectively count toward MEST program requirements and must be approved by the MEST director.

Historical topics which are not usually presented in depth in regular courses. May be repeated for up to 9 hours of degree credit.

Special topics classes may selectively count toward MEST program requirements and must be approved by the MEST director.

Main currents in Islamic theology and political philosophy from the Ottoman Empire to the end of the twentieth century.

An examination of the origins of modern Middle Eastern societies - Arabic, Turkish, and Persian - with
emphasis upon the development of the Islamic faith and culture. 

Middle East since 1914 addresses European colonialism, the rise of new social elites, independence, revolution, globalization, economic self-determination, persistent regional conflicts and ongoing battles over "cultural authenticity".

An examination of Egypt, the Fertile Crescent, and Iran in the period of the Turco-Mongol military elites. Special attention given to the rise of slave and free governments and their roles in shaping Middle East political and social patterns.

An examination of the historical development of the three great Islamic empires in the early modern period - the Ottomans, the Safavids of Iran, and the Mughals of India. Special attention given to imperial expansion, administrative structures, religious-legal establishment, and the formation of distinct traditions in political ideology, historiography, and the arts and sciences.

This course covers the transformation of social and cultural roles of women in the Middle East since the 19th Century. Emphases include political emancipation, religious reformation, artistic representation, and gendered redefinition.

 An analysis of Middle East history in the 17th-20th centuries which focuses on the social transformation of urban and rural life. Particular emphasis is given to the roles of economics, genealogy, art, and popular culture.

Required for all history majors. Examines research methods and current theories of interpreting and evaluating the past. Emphasizes skills of analysis, synthesis, and integration. Students produce a primary source-based research paper. A grade of a B or better will satisfy the Fulbright senior writing requirement. Prerequisite: History major; senior standing.

Special topics classes may selectively count toward MEST program requirements and must be approved by the MEST director.

Middle East Studies

This course introduces Islam as a global religion and world civilization, including study of the Qur'an, prophet Muhammad, ritual and community practices, metaphysics, mysticism, art, literature, and sacred and critical history.

This course is cross-listed with MEST 2003H.

This course introduces Islam as a global religion and world civilization, including study of the Qur'an, prophet Muhammad, ritual and community practices, metaphysics, mysticism, art, literature, and sacred and critical history.

This course is cross-listed with MEST 2003.

This course is designed to provide students with fundamental building blocks for understanding the contemporary Middle East/Islamic World. Students will be introduced to a variety of disciplinary approaches to the study of the geo-cultural region, including history, politics, arts and literature, religions and cultures, social geography, and economics.

Explores the relationship between teachings, norms, customary practices and Muslim perception of Islam. Examines theoretical concepts and practices, such as war and peace, democracy, pluralism, modernity, human rights, environment, gender, Islamic law, nation-state, and citizenship in addition to the basic tenets of Islam. Prerequisite: MEST 2003.

This course is cross-listed with MEST 3003H.

Explores the relationship between teachings, norms, customary practices and Muslim perception of Islam. Examines theoretical concepts and practices, such as war and peace, democracy, pluralism, modernity, human rights, environment, gender, Islamic law, nation-state, and citizenship in addition to the basic tenets of Islam. Prerequisite: MEST 2003.

This course is cross-listed with MEST 3003.

An exploration of varied topics related to the Middle East and North Africa studied independently with the supervision of a faculty member. Credit arranged with instructor. Prerequisite: Instructor consent and junior standing. May be repeated for up to 9 hours of degree credit.

An exploration of varied topics related to the Middle East and North Africa studied independently with the supervision of a faculty member. Credit arranged with instructor. Prerequisite: Instructor consent, junior standing and honors standing. May be repeated for up to 9 hours of degree credit.

This course is cross-listed with MEST 340V.

 

Middle East Studies Honors research, readings and thesis. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

An interdepartmental colloquium with an annual change in subject required of all students in the Middle East studies program. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

May be repeated for up to 3 hours of degree credit. This course is equivalent to MEST 4003.

Courses in lecture or seminar format to be offered in a variety of disciplines relating to the history, culture, politics, geography, languages, literature, arts, and religions of the Middle East, North Africa, and/or Islamic world. May be repeated for up to 12 hours of degree credit.

Internship experience with a group, firm, agency, or non-profit organization related to the Middle East and/or North Africa (MENA). Local, regional, and international internships (paid and unpaid) may take place with various NGOs, related corporations, and US Agencies and Departments. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing. May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

Internship experience with a group, firm, agency, or non-profit organization related to the Middle East and/or North Africa (MENA). Local, regional, and international internships (paid and unpaid) may take place with various NGOs, related corporations, and US Agencies and Departments. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing and honors standing. May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

This course is cross-listed with MEST 420V.

Political Science

Survey of the unity and diversity in the political development of the Middle East, as evident in historical legacies, state formation, civil society, social class, and political identity.

Special topics in political science. May be repeated for degree credit. 

Special topics classes may selectively count toward MEST program requirements and must be approved by the MEST director.

Topics in political science not usually covered in other courses. May be repeated for degree credit.

Special topics classes may selectively count toward MEST program requirements and must be approved by the MEST director.

Compares contemporary Islamist political movements. Seeks to explain causes, debates, agendas, and strategies of Islamists in the political realm. Addresses sovereignty, the rule of law, visions of the good state and society, and relations between nationalism, religion and political development. Focus on Middle East with comparative reference to other cases.

An analysis of geopolitical and socioeconomic characteristics of Middle Eastern societies and their impact on world economic and political order. Special attention to such issues as the Arab-Israeli conflict, the promotion of lasting peace in the region, impact of oil on world politics, the involvement of superpowers, rehabilitation of Palestinian refugees and the role of the United Nations.

World Literature

The Quran as literary text, its style and form, historical context, translation issues, communities of interpretation, and comparative perspectives. Course's integrated approach includes translations of literature originally in Arabic. All readings in English; students with reading abilities in Arabic encouraged to read original text.

Examines the multiple cultural traditions of Spain between 711 and 1615 C.E. Course's integrated approach includes translation of literature originally in Arabic (50%+ of course content), Hebrew, Spanish, and French. All readings in English; students with reading abilities in original languages encouraged to read original text.

Arabic literature from the 1) pre-Islamic era; 2) dawn of Islam, 610-661 C.E.; 3) Umayyad era, 661-750; Abbasid era, peaking in the ninth and tenth centuries. May include selected post-classical but pre-modern works. No Arabic required; students with Arabic encouraged to engage original text.

Arabic literature from the 1) pre-Islamic era; 2) dawn of Islam, 610-661 C.E.; 3) Umayyad era, 661-750; Abbasid era, peaking in the ninth and tenth centuries. May include selected post-classical but pre-modern works. No Arabic required; students with Arabic encouraged to engage original text.

This course is equivalent to WLIT 3723.

Covers a topic not usually presented in depth in regular courses. Not an independent study. May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

Special topics classes may selectively count toward MEST program requirements and must be approved by the MEST director.