Middle East Studies

The Middle East studies program is an intercampus, interdisciplinary major that is designed to provide a broad background in the language, literature, history, religion, anthropology, politics, economics, and art of the Middle East and North Africa (defined to include all the countries of the Arabic-speaking world plus Israel, Turkey, and Iran) from ancient times to the present. Through exposure to several disciplines, this University-wide liberal arts curriculum both provides a rich background for work in business, diplomacy, government, philanthropy, and education and prepares students for advanced work in one of the disciplines.

Program Activities

Internship Program

Students have the option of enrolling in the Middle East studies internship program, which offers opportunities to gain practical experience in the field while simultaneously receiving academic credit (at the student’s discretion). Internships are currently available with the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, Human Rights Watch/Middle East, Amnesty International, Human Rights First, and the International Catholic Organizations Information Center.

Off-Campus Courses

Students are encouraged to enroll in Middle East studies courses at both the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses although they may complete a Middle East studies major/minor without taking any off-campus courses. Also, credit may be received for work completed in any one of the several cooperative agreements the Middle East studies program has with the American University of Cairo (Egypt), the Arabic Language Institute in Fez (Morocco), the Bourguiba Institute for Arabic Language Study in Tunisia (Tunisia), and the AIMS-sponsored overseas Arabic language program in Tangiers at the Tangiers-American Legation Museum (TALM). In spring 2006, Fordham University entered into a collaborative agreement with St. Joseph University, the French-language Jesuit university in Beirut, Lebanon. MESP Students can attend summer, one and two-semester-long programs in Lebanon and receive appropriate academic credit at Fordham. See the program director, John Entelis, Ph.D., for more details.

Opportunities for Nonmajors

Of course, students wishing to take only one or two courses in the program are welcome to do so. Excellent achievement in several such courses would prove attractive to a number of prospective employers.

For more information

Visit the Middle East Studies program web page. 

Middle East studies offers Arabic courses, which, when taken in sequence through to the exit level (ARAB 2001 ARABIC LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE), will fulfill the foreign language core requirement. The descriptions for all Arabic language courses can be located in the Modern Languages and Literature section of this bulletin. In addition, the program offers courses that will fulfill the Global Studies core requirement.

Our Courses

MEST 1999. TUTORIAL. (1 Credit)

MEST 2000. INTRODUCTION TO THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST. (4 Credits)

A multidisciplinary introduction to the modern Middle East and North Africa from the perspectives of history, anthropology/sociology, economics, political science and international affairs. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: AFSS, AFST, GLBL, INST, ISME, JWST.

MEST 2400. MIDDLE EAST DILEMMAS. (4 Credits)

This course examines intellectual, political, and social change and reaction to it in the Middle East from 18c to the 21c. Focus is on the impact of the West, the transformation of identities, the constancy of tradition, the establishment of modern nation-states, and the effects of globalization. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

MEST 2600. MEDIEVAL ISLAM. (4 Credits)

This course surveys the rise of Islam in Arabia and its spread throughout the Mediterranean and beyond. It examines Muslim civilization and its institutions in the medieval period, the impact of Turkic and Mongol invaders, and the rise of the Ottoman and Safavid Empires. Emphasis is on the political and cultural role of the religious and military classes, on the impact of Islam on gender and minorities, and on the various exchanges with Christendom. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

MEST 3324. ISRAEL IN FICTION AND FILM. (4 Credits)

Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: COLI, INST, ISME.

MEST 3500. MODERN EGYPT. (4 Credits)

This course will survey the transformation of Egypt from the end of the 18th century to the present. A dormant Ottoman province when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded it in 1798, by the end of the 19th century, Egypt had turned into the region's entrepot while evolving as a center of political and cultural dynamism. During the Cold War, the country emerged as the USSR's main client in the Middle East until the Camp David Accords of 1979 when it became a strategic partner for the US. Topics to be covered include British economic and French cultural imperialism; the genesis and growth of Egyptian nationalism; urbanization; gender issues; foreign resident minorities; the Muslim Brotherhood; the formation of a modern indigenous bourgeoisie; Nasser's revolution, its impact, and his pan-Arabism; Sadat's domestic and regional policies, crony capitalism under Mubarak; and the re-Islamization of society. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: GLBL, INST, ISME.

MEST 3501. MODERN TURKEY AND IRAN. (4 Credits)

This course will assess the ideas, events, and personalities that contributed to the transformation of the Ottoman and Persian Empires into modern Turkey and Iran respectively in the past two centuries. topics examined comparatively will include the impact of the west, the internal forces of modernization, Islamist and other reactions to such developments, the formation of nationalist identities, authoritarian transition to modern democracy in Turkey and Islamist republic in Iran education, industrialization, urbanization, religion, and mass politics, gender and minorities, and the impact of regional dynamics since the end of World War II. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

MEST 3502. PALESTINE-ISRAEL CONFLICT. (4 Credits)

This course examines the issues, events, and personalities that shaped dynamics between Jews and Palestinians from 19th-century nationalism to the present. Topics include land and its symbolism, religious identity, political aspirations and frustrations, the origins and consequences of wars, as well as regional and global interplay. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: INST, ISME, JWST.

MEST 3620. ISLAM IN AMERICA. (4 Credits)

This course will examine the history of Islam and the experience of Muslims in American from the time of the slave trade to the present day. Through a close analysis of both primary and secondary materials, students will explore – through speaking and writing exercises – the rich diversity of US Muslim communities and their multi-faceted contributions to the global umma and the formation of an “American Islam”. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attribute: PLUR.

MEST 3701. URBAN THEATRE DANCE AND MUSIC. (4 Credits)

Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: GLBL, INST, REST.

MEST 3800. INTERNSHIP. (3 Credits)

MEST 3901. THE MIDDLE EAST IN FILM. (4 Credits)

Using documentaries and features from Algeria to Yemen, this course examines politics, religion, gender, and minorities as well as love, comedy, and music, sometimes all together, and their impact on the region's diverse societies. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

MEST 4001. SEMINAR: MIDDLE EAST. (4 Credits)

Advanced research-oriented seminar for students who have already completed one or more introductory and elective courses in Middle East studies. Required of all majors and minors. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: GLBL, INST, IPE, ISME.

MEST 4331. U.S. IN THE MIDDLE EAST: 1945-PRESENT. (4 Credits)

Examines how the US replaced Great Britain as the pre-eminent power in the Middle East in the post-WWII era. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: INST, ISIN, ISME.

MEST 4701. URBAN THEATRE, MUSIC, DANCE: CULTURE AND THE FORMATION OF THE MIDDLE EAST IDENTITIES. (4 Credits)

This course draws on the two disciplines of the performing arts (as viewed through performance studies) and anthropology to examine how Middle East identities are embodied, constructed, and transcended through gesture, sound and enactment – both religious and aesthetic -- in the cities of Casablanca, Cairo, & Istanbul. Anthropological approaches to the study of Muslim ritual traditions and devotional practices (e.g., dhikr, ziyarāt, majlis, hajj, ta’zīya, ṣalāt and tajwīd) that seek to discern a more transcendent human experience, nature and identity in relation to the divine, will be compared/contrasted with performing studies’ approaches to speech, gesture, music, dance, sound and spectacle that emphasize contingency, aesthetics, and shifting social, political, and cultural influences on identity formation over time. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: GLBL, ICC, INST, ISME, REST.

MEST 4999. TUTORIAL. (1 to 4 Credits)

Independent research and reading with supervision from a faculty member.

Courses in Other Areas

The following courses offered outside the department have the MEST attribute and count toward the Middle East Studies major and minor:

Course Title Credits
AFAM 1600UNDERSTANDING HISTORICAL CHANGE: AFRICA3
AFAM 3070AFRICAN POLITICS4
AFAM 3071AFRICAN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY4
AFAM 3072CIVIL WARS IN AFRICA4
AFAM 3075DEMOCRACY IN AFRICA4
AFAM 3693CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN LITERATURES4
AFAM 3695MAJOR DEBATES IN AFRICAN STUDIES4
AFAM 4192RACE AND RELIGION IN THE TRANSATLANTIC WORLD4
ANTH 1300INTRODUCTION TO ARCHAEOLOGY3
ANTH 2614URBANISM AND CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST4
ANTH 2888GENDER AND ISLAM4
ANTH 3110ANCIENT CULTURES OF THE BIBLE4
ANTH 3351COMPARATIVE CULTURES4
ANTH 3725CULTURE AND CULTURE CHANGE4
ARAB 1001INTRODUCTION TO ARABIC5
ARAB 1501INTERMEDIATE ARABIC I3
ARAB 1502INTERMEDIATE ARABIC II3
ARAB 2001ARABIC LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE3
ARAB 2400APPROACHES TO ARABIC CULTURE4
ARAB 2450The Short Story of Arabic Literature4
ARAB 2601ARABIC CONVERSATION AND COMPOSITION3
ARAB 3000TOPICS IN ARABIC CULTURES4
ARAB 4999TUTORIAL1-4
ARHI 2230ISLAMIC ART4
CLAS 4545BATH CULTURES AND BATHING RITUALS FROM ANTIQUITY TO BROOKLYN4
COLI 3119CONTEMPORARY MIDDLE EAST FILM AND LITERATURE4
COLI 4016REWRITING THE MEDITERRANEAN (20th and 21st Centuries)4
FREN 3460POSTCOLONIAL REPRESENTATIONS4
FREN 3465WOMEN ON THE MARGINS4
FREN 3470FRANCOPHONE NORTH AFRICA4
FREN 3630FRANCOPHONE VOICES FROM NORTH AFRICA4
FREN 3631NORTH AFRICAN FRANCE4
FREN 3637FRANCOPHONE MIDDLE EAST4
FREN 3640POSTCOLONIAL REPRESENTATION4
HEBW 1001INTRODUCTION TO HEBREW I5
HIST 1600UNDERSTANDING HISTORICAL CHANGE: AFRICA3
HIST 1700UNDERSTANDING HISTORICAL CHANGE: MIDEAST3
HIST 1750UNDERSTANDING HISTORICAL CHANGE: ISLAMIC HISTORY AND CULTURE3
HIST 3474THE ARAB ISRAELI CONFLICT: CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES4
HIST 3575TORTURE, TERROR, AND THE BODY IN THE MODERN WORLD4
HIST 3670THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST4
HIST 3675HISTORY OF MODERN ISRAEL4
HIST 3983APOCALYPTICISM AND MESSIANISM IN ISLAMIC THOUGHT AND HISTORY4
HIST 3985OTTOMAN EMPIRE/ 1300-18004
HIST 3986RELIGION AND POLITICS IN ISLAMIC HISTORY4
HIST 4308ANTISEMITISM4
HIST 4631SEMINAR: US IN THE MID EAST:1945 -PRES4
HPLC 2811HONORS SACRED TEXTS3
HUST 4001HUMANITARIAN ACTION4
JWST 3300LITERATURES AND CULTURES OF MODERN ISRAEL4
JWST 3474THE ARAB ISRAELI CONFLICT: CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES4
MLAL 3350PROMISED LAND: ISRAELI CULTURE BETWEEN UTOPIA AND DYSTOPIA4
MLAL 3410ARAB CINEMA: HISTORY AND CULTURAL IDENTITY4
MLAL 3440ARABIC LITERATURE IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION4
MLAL 3442ARABIC CULTURE AND THE NEWS MEDIA4
MLAL 3474THE ARAB ISRAELI CONFLICT: CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES4
MLAL 3624MUSIC AND NATION IN THE ARAB WORLD4
MLAL 3822THE ARABIAN NIGHTS4
MLAL 4016REWRITING THE MEDITERRANEAN (20th and 21st Centuries)4
MVST 4009MEDIEVAL JERUSALEM4
POSC 2501INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL POLITICS4
POSC 3418ISLAMIC POLITICAL THOUGHT4
POSC 3520MIDEAST AND THE WORLD4
POSC 3624THE QU'RAN AND HADITH IN THE GLOBAL POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE4
POSC 3651COMPARATIVE POLITICS OF THE MIDDLE EAST4
POSC 6552POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THE MIDDLE EAST3
SOCI 3110GLOBAL CONFLICT: WARS/RELIGION4
SOCI 3714TERRORISM AND SOCIETY4
SPAN 3540SPAIN AND ISLAM4
THEO 1060ELEMENTARY COPTIC I3
THEO 3100INTRODUCTION TO OLD TESTAMENT3
THEO 3105THE TORAH3
THEO 3120THE PROPHETS3
THEO 3310EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITINGS3
THEO 3316BYZANTINE CHRISTIANITY3
THEO 3700SCRIPTURES OF THE WORLD3
THEO 3711Sacred Texts of the Middle East3
THEO 3713CLASSIC JEWISH TEXTS3
THEO 3715CLASSIC ISLAMIC TEXTS3
THEO 3822THE BIBLE IN WESTERN CULTURE4
THEO 3847LATINO/A THEOLOGY4
THEO 3876MUSLIMS IN AMERICA4
THEO 3877RELIGION AND THE AMERICAN SELF4
THEO 4009MEDIEVAL JERUSALEM4
THEO 4027THE ETHICS OF LIFE4
THEO 4545BATH CULTURES AND BATHING RITUALS FROM ANTIQUITY TO BROOKLYN4
THEO 4600RELIGION AND PUBLIC LIFE4