Courses

The Program of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies offers a comprehensive blend of language and culture courses. Below are the courses scheduled for spring and fall 2017. For the most up-to-date listings, visit the Registrar's office through InsideND

 

Fall 2017

Arabic Language courses (MEAR)

First Year Arabic I and II 

This two-semester sequence of courses is a basic introduction to all aspects of the Arabic language through a comprehensive and integrated method. The focus is on language proficiency in all areas of the language including speaking, reading, and writing. The course also introduces students to aspects of Arabic culture and everyday life in the Middle East.

MEAR 10001/60001 01

First Year Arabic I (Section 1)

Prof. G. Bualuan

MWF 9:25 - 10:15 and TR 9:30 - 10:20, 5 credits

MEAR 10001/60001 02

First Year Arabic I (Section 2)

Prof. C. Bronson

MWF 11:30 - 12:20 and TR 11:00 - 11:50, 5 credits

MEAR 10001/60001 03

First Year Arabic I (Section 3)

Prof. N. El Horr

MWF 12:50 - 1:40 and TR 12:30 - 1:20, 5 credits

Second Year Arabic I and II 

This second-year Arabic course builds on the previous three semesters. The emphasis is on speaking and writing for self-expression with continued study of the basic grammatical structures. Proficiency remains the focus through readings and conversations in the language. Students develop skill in the use of the Arabic dictionary.

MEAR 20003/60003

Second Year Arabic I 

Instructor: Prof. N. El Horr

MW 10:30 - 11:20 and TR 9:30 - 10:20, 4 credits

Prerequisite:  MEAR 10002/60002 or equivalent

MEAR 20004/60004 

Second Year Arabic II 

Prof. G. Bualuan

MW 10:30 - 11:20 and TR 11:00 - 11:50, 4 credits

Prerequisite:  MEAR 20003/60003 or equivalent

Third Year Arabic I and II

This third-year Arabic course emphasis is on developing listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in interactive settings. Vocabulary building will be the focus of drills; we will cover basic vocabulary in various authentic uses of the language. Special attention will also be given to media Arabic. Basic Arabic grammar should be completed by the end of the year. We will continue with Part 2 of the Kitaab sequence. Supplementary materials, mainly from Arabic media (BBC Arabic News, newspapers, magazines), will be provided. Tests, both oral and written, will cover the textbook material, in addition to the basic grammar and the cumulative vocabulary.

MEAR 30005/60005

Third-Year Arabic I

Prof. C. Bronson

MWF 9:25 - 10:15, 3 credits

Prerequisite:  MEAR 20004/60004

MEAR 40020 

Media Arabic I

Prof. N. El Horr

MW 3:30-4:45, 3 credits

Prerequisite: MEAR 30006

This course aims to help the student acquire the skills needed to read and listen to Arabic Media at the advanced level, and to communicate in Arabic on contemporary political, social, and cultural issues relating to the Middle East and North Africa. Through media material, the student will solidify and build on the Arabic skills already acquired in previous years of study, and s/he will be trained to read and listen to different forms of Arabic Media, and speak and write about a wide range of topics related to contemporary events. 

MEAR 40028 

Introduction to Classical/Qur’anic Arabic II

Prof. L. Guo

TR 2:00 - 3:15, 3 credits

No prerequisites

The goal of this course is to continue to develop a basic knowledge of Classical/Qur'anic Arabic, with an emphasis on an overview of grammar and syntax, vocabulary acquisition, and serial readings of Islamic texts. We will read selections from Qur'an, Qur'anic exegeses, hadith (prophetic tradition), and other related material, such as Islamic legal texts. We will learn how to use Arabic/Islamic bibliographical references (in print and online).

 

Middle Eastern Courses (MELC)

MELC 13186

Literature University Seminar: The Arabian Nights and World Literature

Prof. L. Guo

TR 3:30 - 4:45, 3 credits

This course has as its focal point the famous collection of tales, the Thousand and One Nights (better known as the Arabian Nights). We examine issues of provenance. We study the stories as literary texts as well as historical documents. We examine how these tales have been interpreted by later societies. Finally, we use this course to introduce us to the study of the Middle East, its languages, history, literature, and peoples. 

MELC 30023

Gendered Bodies in the Islamic Tradition

Prof. C. Bronson

TR 12:30 - 1:45, 3 credits

This interdisciplinary course offers a topical survey of the relationships between biological sex, culturally bound notions of "masculinity" and "femininity," and the gendered body in the Islamic tradition. The primary aim of the course is to explore the intersection of religion and social constructions of gender and the body in a variety of historical and cultural contexts in the Muslim World. Students read and interpret religious texts and commentaries, literary and legal texts, women's writings, and media in English translation. Coursework focuses on increasing students' understanding of the diversity of scholarly views on women's bodies as sites of piety and sites of political and social contestation (reproductive rights, public vs. private space, etc.). 

MELC 30052

Sunni and Shi'i Muslims: Common Legacy, Multiple Narratives

Prof. H. Abdulsater

TR 11:00 - 12:15, 3 credits

News coverage of Middle East developments is replete with references to Shi'i and Sunni Muslims. Their differences are often presented as a millenarian conflict, and as the cause of the discord that ravages the region. This course examines the formation of the different versions of Shi?i and Sunni Islam. While studying the common Islamic legacy shared by both, we will look into the multiple narratives that are based on this legacy. As such, the course investigates the political developments, intellectual currents, legal positions and ritual practices that provided Shi?i and Sunni Muslims with their rich variations on the story of Islam. Students are expected to actively participate in discussions based on the assigned weekly readings and material presented in class lectures. It is strongly recommended that students have prior knowledge of Arabic culture, the Middle East, or Islam. 

MELC 40705

Islamic Studies: Sources, Methods and Major Themes

Prof. H. Abdulsater

TR 3:30 - 4:45, 3 credits

Islam is the dominant religious phenomenon in vast areas of the world, collectively named the Muslim World. The study of Islam, therefore, requires much exposure to diverse cultures, languages and intellectual pursuits. This study has been conducted traditionally over the centuries by Muslim scholars. In the last few centuries, 'Western' scholars have made contributions to the study of Islam using approaches different from the traditional ones. This course will familiarize students with the sources, research tools and methods used in the field of Islamic Studies as primarily understood in Western academic circles. In addition to surveying the history and current state of Islamic studies in modern scholarship, it will provide students with a closer look at the main contributions in the various fields of literary, linguistic, religious, philosophical and scientific activity in Islamic culture. Primary sources will be briefly presented in translation, based on discussions of representative samples. It is required that students have prior knowledge of Arabic culture, the Middle East, or Islam. 

Spring 2017

Arabic Language courses (MEAR)

First Year Arabic I and II 

This two-semester sequence of courses is a basic introduction to all aspects of the Arabic language through a comprehensive and integrated method. The focus is on language proficiency in all areas of the language including speaking, reading, and writing. The course also introduces students to aspects of Arabic culture and everyday life in the Middle East.

MEAR 10001/60001 01

First Year Arabic I

Prof. G. Bualuan

MWF 9:25 - 10:15 and TR 9:30 - 10:20, 5 credits

MEAR 10002/60002 01

First Year Arabic II (Section 1)

Prof. C. Bronson

MWF 9:25 - 10:15 and TR 9:30 - 10:20, 5 credits

MEAR 10002/60002 02

First Year Arabic II (Section 2)

Prof. C. Bronson

MWF 11:30 - 12:20 and TR 11:00 - 11:50, 5 credits

Second Year Arabic I and II 

This second-year Arabic course builds on the previous three semesters. The emphasis is on speaking and writing for self-expression with continued study of the basic grammatical structures. Proficiency remains the focus through readings and conversations in the language. Students develop skill in the use of the Arabic dictionary.

MEAR 20003/60003

Second Year Arabic I 

Instructor: Eman El Wardany

MTWR 3:30 - 4:45, 4 credits

Prerequisite:  MEAR 10002/60002 or equivalent

MEAR 20004/60004 

Second Year Arabic II 

Prof. G. Bualuan

MW 10:30 - 11:20 and TR 11:00 - 11:50, 4 credits

Prerequisite:  MEAR 20003/60003 or equivalent

Third Year Arabic I and II

This third-year Arabic course emphasis is on developing listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in interactive settings. Vocabulary building will be the focus of drills; we will cover basic vocabulary in various authentic uses of the language. Special attention will also be given to media Arabic. Basic Arabic grammar should be completed by the end of the year. We will continue with Part 2 of the Kitaab sequence. Supplementary materials, mainly from Arabic media (BBC Arabic News, newspapers, magazines), will be provided. Tests, both oral and written, will cover the textbook material, in addition to the basic grammar and the cumulative vocabulary.

MEAR 30006/60006

Third-Year Arabic II

Prof. C. Bronson

MWF 12:50 - 1:40, 3 credits

Prerequisite:  MEAR 30005/60005

MEAR 40027 (Cross-list MI 40669, 60669)

Introduction to Classical/Qur’anic Arabic I

Prof. L. Guo

TR 12:30 - 1:45, 3 credits

No prerequisites

The goal of this course is to develop a basic knowledge of the Classical/Koranic Arabic, with emphasis on an overview of grammar and syntax, vocabulary acquisition, and serial readings of Islamic texts. We read selections from Qur’an, Qur’anic exegeses, hadith (Prophetic tradition), and other related material. We learn how to use an Arabic dictionary and bibliographical references (in print and online).  

Middle Eastern Courses (MELC)

MELC 20042

Classical Islamic Literature: An Anthology of Arabic Texts

Prof. H. Abdulsater

MW 11:00 - 12:15, 3 credits

This is a text-based course introducing students to pre-modern Arabic/Islamic culture, from the rise of Islam to about 15thcentury. It begins with pre-Islamic poetry and ends with Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406). Translated selections cover diverse themes such as poetry, religion, philosophy, history and fiction by both male and female authors. As we read these texts we ask ourselves a number of questions. For example, how do I relate to this text? Does it in any way reflect my experience or speak to it or remind me of something? What kind of society produced this text or is reflected in it? These texts are separated from us today by many centuries. Sometimes we can’t understand our own mothers and fathers, so how can we understand these truly ancient ancestors? If a time machine carried us back to the times of our readings, how long do you think we will survive there, and is this sufficient to judge it? How do some of these major classical texts survive in modern Arabic thought? What the course is meant to do is to excite students’ interest in Arab-Islamic culture so that they might be tempted in future to explore it further, or to make use of it in future research or for general interest. 

MELC 30025

Arabic Literary Heritage

Prof. L. Guo

TR 3:30 - 4:45, 3 credits

This course introduces students to classical/medieval Arabic literature from its beginnings in the pre-Islamic period to the eve of the Ottoman Empire (600-1517). Its emphasis is on direct examination of Arabic literature through a close reading of the representative texts in English translation. Among the topics to be discussed: the impact of Islam on the Arabic literary tradition, the relationship between convention and invention, the emergence of lyric genres and the development of a concept of fiction. Readings include pre-Islamic Arabian poetry, the Qur’an (as literary text), lyric poetry and Sufi poetry, the Arabian Nights and medieval Arabic narrative romances. No knowledge of Arabic is required.

MELC 30071

Islamic Theology: From Classical Origins to Modern Challenges

Prof. H. Abdulsater

MW 2:00 - 3:15, 3 credits

This course studies the major themes of Islamic theology. It starts from the early debates concerned with Muslim views of God, the nature of the Qurʾan, the prophethood of Muhammad and ends with current debates about the status of Islamic law (shariʿa).It also discusses divine vs. human will, the role of politics in Muslim view of salvation and the limits of rationality. It traces how these topics moved from simple formulae to complex concepts due to socio-political controversies and conditions, whether they were sectarian or interreligious conflicts, crises of legitimacy, colonialism or modernity.  The arguments of various schools are presented, and translated excerpts from prominent theologians are studied. As we read these texts we ask ourselves a number of questions. For example, what alternatives were possible for theologians other than what later became standard Muslim doctrines? What is the importance of imagination in the creation of these theological systems? Did modern Muslim theologians have better options to handle ancient traditions that most of them ended up adopting? Do some modern Muslim theologians have an alternative view to offer? The course is meant to help students see the problems of theology from an Islamic viewpoint that may deepen their understanding of wider religious questions.