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

Spring 2018

Arabic Language courses (MEAR)

MEAR 10001/60001 01

First Year Arabic I

Prof. N. El-Horr

MWF 3:30-4:20

Also meets TR 3:30-4:20

5 credits

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 is offered each spring semester and MEAR 10002 is offered each fall semester.

 

MEAR 10002/60002 01

First Year Arabic II (Section 1)

Prof. G. Bualuan

MWF 9:25-10:15

Also meets TR 9:30-10:20

5 credits

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 10002/60002 02

First Year Arabic II (Section 2)

Prof. C. Bronson

MWF 11:30-12:20

Also meets TR 11:00-11:50

5 credits

 

MEAR 20004/60004 02

Second Year Arabic II

Prof. G. Bualuan

MWF 10:30-11:20

Also meets TR 11:00-11:50

4 credits

Prerequisite:  MEAR 20003/60003 or equivalent

This course is geared to consolidating skills gained in the previous three semesters while enhancing the ability to converse and conduct oneself in Arabic.  Reading skills are enhanced by exposure to more sophisticated examples of literature.  Original written expression is encouraged through the composition of short essays.

 

MEAR 20020

Lebanese Colloquial

Prof. N. El-Horr

MWF 2:00-2:50

3 credits

Colloquial Arabic, rooted in classical Arabic, is used in daily communication between people in the Arab world.  This course initiates speech and dialogue through audiovisual aids, and focuses on the development of listening and speaking skills in interactive settings.  Materials in the course are designed to provide students with very rich vocabulary needed in every day communication with Lebanese people.  It presents a wide variety of themes and presents vocabulary in context.  The Lebanese colloquial is a variety of Levantine Arabic (closely related to the Syrian, Palestinian, and Jordanian dialects) and is understood throughout the Arabic-speaking Middle East.  Prerequisite:  MEAR 10002 or equivalent.

 

MEAR 30005/60005 01

Third-Year Arabic I

Prof. C. Bronson

MWF 9:25-10:15

3 credits

Prerequisite:  MEAR 30005/60005

This third-year Arabic course emphasis 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 or equivalent.

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 40027 (Cross-list MI 40668/60668)

Intro to Classical/Quranic Arabic

Prof. L. Guo

TR 12:30-1:45

3 credits

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 Arabic dictionary and bibliographical references (in print and online).  No prerequisite. 

 

MEAR 40040

Arabic Folk Literature

Prof. G. Bualuan

MW 11:00-12:15

3 credits

This is an advanced Arabic language course designed to enhance and develop students’ reading, speaking, and writing skills.  The substantial component of this course comprises a close textual study and critical analysis of a variety of selected stories from “The Arabian Nights” designed to evoke aesthetic and intellectual discussions of Arabic folk literature.

 

Middle Eastern Courses (MELC)

MELC 10101

Introduction to Arab Culture and Civilization

Prof. H. Abdulsater

MW 12:30-1:45

3 credits

First Year Studies

This course is an introductory survey of Arabic culture and civilization from the pre-Islamic era to the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The course will trace the origins of the Arab people and their distinctive culture and literature. The revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad and subsequent development of Islam will be treated in detail. Following this, the course will focus on the spread of Islamic civilization, its interactions with other cultures, and its contributions to scholarship in the areas of literature, art, and architecture.

 

MELC 30025 (MI 30667/60667)

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 30071/60071 (MI 30659/60659)

Islamic Theology: From Classical Origins to Modern Challenges

Prof. H. Abdulsater

MW 9:30-10:45

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 sociopolitical 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. 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 sociopolitical controversies and conditions, whether they were sectarian or interreligious conflicts, crises of legitimacy, colonialism or modernity. 

 

Hebrew

 

MEHE 10002 01 (Cross-list THEO 40003/60003)

Elementary Hebrew II

Prof. A. Geist

MW 9:30-10:45

3 credits

This is a two-semester introductory course in biblical Hebrew; under normal circumstances, the student must complete the first in order to enroll in the second. The fall semester will be devoted to learning the grammar of biblical Hebrew. The spring semester will be divided into two parts. For the first six weeks we will finish and review the grammar. In the remaining part of the course we will read and translate texts from the Hebrew Bible, Qumran, and Rabbinic literature. The course will focus on developing reading and comprehension skills in biblical Hebrew through the study of biblical texts. In addition, students will learn how to use reference grammars, concordances, and apparatus to the Biblical Hebraica. The course encourages students to think about the grammatical forms and their implications for biblical interpretation.

 

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.