Middle Eastern and North African Studies

Middle Eastern and North African Studies (minor only)

Changes effective Fall Term 2012

Faculty teaching Middle Eastern and North African Studies include members of the Humanities and Social Sciences Divisions in the College of Arts and Sciences. Please see the schedule of classes for each academic term for specific assignments.


Nationwide, there has been an increased interest in the Middle East and North Africa, a region not well understood by most Americans. The minor in Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Studies offers a thorough survey of the cultures, politics, and religions of the region throughout history, with a strong focus on the contemporary period. Short-term or semester-long field studies are also encouraged, with students in recent years electing to spend time studying in Morocco, Jordan, and Israel. 


Six (6) courses are required: two (2) core courses and four (4) electives. 


  • ANT 255 - Middle East Culture
  • POL 304 - Middle East Politics
Choose four (4) courses listed in the schedule of classes as MENA electives that meet the following criteria.
  • No more than two (2) language courses may count toward the minor
  • No more than three (3) courses may be taken from any one department
  • At least one elective must be at the 300-level or above
  • Courses taken during semester-long field studies at universities in the Middle East and North Africa may also serve as electives, to be approved on a case-by-case basis


  • ARA 101 Elementary Arabic I
  • ARA 102 Elementary Arabic II
  • ARA 201 Intermediate Arabic I
  • ARA 202 Intermediate Arabic II
  • ANT 277 Women & Gender in the Middle East and North Africa
  • ARH 218 Archaeology of Egypt and the Near East
  • FRN 320 Introduction à la civilization maghrébine
  • HBR 101/102 Elementary Hebrew
  • HBR 201 Intermediate Hebrew
  • PHI 205 Middle Eastern Humanities
  • POL 306 Muslims in Western Politics
  • POL 307 Islam and Politics
  • REL 125 Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)
  • REL 217 Jewish Life and Thought
  • REL 219 Islam: Religion and Society
  • REL 223 Contemporary Jewish Literature and Film
  • REL 228 Women and Religion
  • REL 304 Jerusalem
  • REL 351X Religion and Popular Culture

Course of Study


ANT 255 Middle East Culture: Explores everyday lives of people in the Middle East as they negotiate the challenges of globalization, new media, human rights discourses, religion, and the legacy of colonialism.

POL 304 Middle East Politics: Explores the politics of the Middle East and various approaches for analyzing its regional and international issues such as U.S. foreign policy in the region.


ANT 277 Women and Gender in the Middle East and North Africa: Explores the concept of gender in the Middle East and North Africa from an anthropological perspective. Examines how religion, cultural practices, media, politics, and social class affect men's and women's roles in work, family, and society.

ANT 305 Middle Eastern Culture and Film: Uses film as a lens through which we can understand Middle Eastern Cultures.

ANT 377 Morocco: Culture and Society: Seminar focused on Morocco's history and culture, as well as its position as a developing nation.

FRN 323 Introduction à la civilization maghrébine: Explores the cultural and artistic expressions of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Focuses on works in French, with an emphasis on what can be learned about identity, history, politics and religion.  In French.

PHI 205 Middle Eastern Humanities: Explores topics such as Middle Eastern religions, philosophy, literature, architecture, visual arts, music, and the effects of modernity on the Middle East.

POL 306 Muslims in Western Politics: Explores the characteristics of Muslim populations and their role in politics in the U.S. and three West European countries from a comparative perspective.

POL 307 Islam and Politics: Introduces Islam and covers Islamic theology, spirituality, jurisprudence, culture, and political ideology.

REL 125 Hebrew Bible (Old Testament): Treats selections as literary, historical, and theological works. Discusses myth, story, and religious interpretation; theological concepts of creation, revelation, and redemption; views of nature, God, and social order; gender roles; and community.

REL 217 Jewish Life and Thought: Features modern historical, literary, and theological masterpieces that explore law, ritual, Zionism, Israel, American Judaism, and changing world of women in contemporary Judaism.

REL 219 Islam: Religion and Society: Explores religious, cultural, political, and social dimensions of Islam, from beliefs and practices to relationship of Islam to the Judaeo-Christian heritage.

REL 223 Contempoary Jewish Literature and Film: Draws upon short stories, novels, and films that depict modern Jewish experience in Europe, Israel, and the U.S. Considers shtetl, enlightenment, and emancipation in Europe, immigrant Jews in Israel and U.S., Holocaust, establishment of Israel and contemporary Israeli society, and tradition vs. modernity.

REL 228 Women and Religion: Studies the status, experiences, and contributions of women in world religions. Focuses on women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and on contemporary feminist ideology and spirituality. Readings include sacred texts, history, theology, and anthropology. Discussions center around topics such as male and female concepts of the divine, gender roles, creation of new rituals, and women's ordination. Prerequisite: one REL or WMS course.

REL 304 Jerusalem: History, Relgion, and Politics: Examines the history of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Jerusalem from the biblical period to the present. Focuses on religious teachings that expound notions of sacred land and the subsequent political dominations of the city, modern nationalist movements, and current debates and dialogues on the future of Jerusalem. Prerequisite: One REL course.

REL 351X Religion and Popular Culture: Focuses on the portrayal and treatment of religion in popular culture, and examines some of the ways that religious and mythic themes are expressed in films, music, television, and other pop culture venues.


ARA 101 Elementary Arabic I: Introduces students to the fundamentals of the Arabic language.

ARA 102 Elementary Arabic II: Continues fundamental introduction to Arabic language. Prerequisite: ARA 101.

ARA 201 Intermediate Arabic I: Reviews and builds on first year grammar and vocabulary. Prerequisite: ARA 102.

ARA 202 Intermediate Arabic II: Reviews and builds on first year grammar and vocabulary. Presents more intricate grammatical concepts and stresses reading for comprehension, expansion of vocabulary, and improvement of oral and written skills. Prerequisite: ARA 201.

HBR 101/102 Elementary Hebrew: Aimes for basic knowledge of modern Hebrew in both oral and written forms. Assigns readings on Jewish culture and history.

HBR 201 Intermediate Hebrew: Stresses reading, writing, speaking, grammar review, and lab. Offered alternate years as enrollment permits. Prerequisite: HBR 102 or equivalent.