2013-2014 Undergraduate Catalog

Middle Eastern Studies

Students may complete a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies.

Co-Directors

Michael Allen, Professor of Political Science
Kalala Ngalamulume, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History
 
Steering Committee Members and Advisors

Grace Armstrong, Chair and Eunice M. Schenck 1907 Professor of French, Director of Middle Eastern Languages
Cynthia Bisman, Professor of Social Work and Social Research (on leave semester II)
Carol J. Hager, Associate Professor of Political Science
Carola Hein, Professor of Growth and Structure of Cities
Toba Kerson, Professor of Social Work and Social Research
Christine Koggel, Harvey Wexler Chair and Professor of Philosphy
Mary Osirim, Interim Provost and Professor of Sociology
Melissa Pashigian, Chair and Associate Professor of Anthropology
Yonglin Jiang, Associate Professor of East Asian Studies on the Jye Chu Lectureship in Chinese Studies

Courses on the Middle East may contribute to majors in other fields or serve as electives. In addition, students may complete a concentration in Middle East Studies.

The Middle Eastern Studies Program focuses on the study of the area from Morocco to Afghanistan from antiquity to the present day. Bryn Mawr students can investigate the history, politics and cultures of the Middle East through coursework, independent study, study abroad, and events here and at neighboring institutions. In conjunction with courses at Haverford and Swarthmore, the Advisory Committee from Bryn Mawr College co-ordinates courses and works with colleagues from Haverford and Swarthmore College on tri-college curricular planning.

The members of the Middle Eastern Studies Committee can help students who are interested in Middle Eastern topics plan coursework and independent study.

There are two tracks to Middle East Studies Concentration; one requires study or competence in a Middle Eastern language, the other does not.

Track 1

The first track consists of six courses in the Humanities or Social Sciences that focus on the ancient or modern Middle East distributed in the following manner:

a.     An introductory course called “Themes in Middle Eastern Society and Culture” This course will be offered every other year by relevant Middle Eastern Studies Institute faculty from Bryn Mawr and, where possible, the Tri-Co Community. The course will be taught by at least two faculty members who would follow a broadly defined theme. Possible themes include: Irrigation, Agriculture and Society; History and Collective Memory; Urbanism and Social Transformation; War and Peace, and Literature and Imagination.
b.     Three elective Middle Eastern topic courses, including at least one at the 300 level in a specific area to be chosen in consultation with the student’s adviser. This area might be defined in terms of conceptual, historical, or geographical interests and, in many cases, will be connected to work in the student’s major.
c.     Two additional Middle Eastern topic courses, at least one of which must be in either the humanities or social sciences if a student’s work in (a) and (b) does not include one or the other of these.
d.     Of the six courses one must be pre-modern in content.
e.     Of the six courses only three may be in the student’s major.

Track 2

The second track consists of language study and other courses. Students opting for this track must take the equivalent of two years of study of a modern Middle Eastern language or pass a proficiency exam in one of these languages, whereby they may also meet the standard set for the A.B. degree for the foreign language requirement. Four additional courses distributed as follows are required for the concentration:

a.     An introductory course called “Themes in Middle Eastern Society and Culture” as defined above.
b.     Three elective Middle Eastern topic courses, which meet the following conditions:

  • One course must be in the social sciences;
  • One course must be in the humanities;
  • At least one course must be at the 300 level to be selected after consultation with the student’s adviser so as to expose the student to in-depth study of the Middle East with a geographic, conceptual, or particular historical focus;
  • At least one course must be pre-modern in content.
c.     Of the four courses, only two may also form a part of the student’s major.

For Arabic and Hebrew languages, please see those sections.

COURSES

ANTH B275 Cultures and Societies of the Middle East
Through a close reading of ethnographic, historical, and literary materials, this course will introduce students to some of the key conceptual issues and regional distinctions that have emerged from classic and contemporary studies of culture and society in the Middle East. The course will survey the following themes: orientalism; gender and patriarchy; democracy and state-formation; political Islam; oil and Western dominance; media and religion; violence and nationalism; identity and diaspora. Prerequisite: ANTH B102 or equivalent. No knowledge of the Middle East is assumed.
Requirement(s): Division I: Social Science
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

ANTH B382 Religious Fundamentalism in the Global Era
Through a comparison of Jewish, Islamic, Christian and Hindu political movements, the course seeks to investigate the religious turn in national and transnational contexts. We will also seek to find commonalities and differences in religious movements, and religious regimes, while considering the aspects of globalization which usher in new kinds of transnational affiliation. Prerequisite: An introductory course in Anthropology, Political Science or History or permission of the instructor.
Requirement(s): Division I or Division III
Counts towards: Middle East Studies; Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice Studies
Crosslisting(s): POLS-B382; HIST-B382
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

ARCH B104 Archaeology of Agricultural and Urban Revolutions
This course examines the archaeology of the two most fundamental changes that have occurred in human society in the last 12,000 years, agriculture and urbanism, and we explore these in Egypt and the Near East as far as India. We also explore those societies that did not experience these changes.
Requirement(s): Division III: Humanities
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Geoarchaeology; Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): CITY-B104
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Magee,P.
(Fall 2013)

ARCH B140 The Visual Culture of the Ancient Near East
The visual culture of ancient Mesopotamia, a region with its heartland in modern Iraq, from the first city to the fall of Babylon in 539 BCE, includes images designed to gain favor of the gods, promote royal achievements and adorn the deceased on the journey to the afterlife. Particular emphasis placed on the visual analysis of royal and elite artistic production of architecture, sculpture and cylinder seals.
Requirement(s): Division III: Humanities
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): HART-B140
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

ARCH B226 Archaeology of Anatolia
One of the cradles of civilization, Anatolia witnessed the rise and fall of many cultures and states throughout its ancient history. This course approaches the ancient material remains of pre-classical Anatolia from the perspective of Near Eastern archaeology, examining the art, artifacts, architecture, cities, and settlements of this land from the Neolithic through the Lydian periods. Some emphasis will be on the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age, especially phases of Hittite and Assyrian imperialism, Late Hittite states, Phrygia, and the Urartu.
Requirement(s): Division III: Humanities
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

ARCH B240 Archaeology and History of Ancient Mesopotamia
A survey of the material culture of ancient Mesopotamia, modern Iraq, from the earliest phases of state formation (circa 3500 B.C.E.) through the Achaemenid Persian occupation of the Near East (circa 331 B.C.E.). Emphasis will be on art, artifacts, monuments, religion, kingship, and the cuneiform tradition. The survival of the cultural legacy of Mesopotamia into later ancient and Islamic traditions will also be addressed.
Requirement(s): Division III: Humanities
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

ARCH B244 Great Empires of the Ancient Near East
A survey of the history, material culture, political and religious ideologies of, and interactions among, the five great empires of the ancient Near East of the second and first millennia B.C.E.: New Kingdom Egypt, the Hittite Empire in Anatolia, the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires in Mesopotamia, and the Persian Empire in Iran.
Requirement(s): Division III: Humanities
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): POLS-B244; HIST-B244; CITY-B244
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Ataç,M.
(Spring 2014)

ARCH B355 Archaeology of the Achaemenid Empire in Cross Cultural Context
The Achaemenid Empire (538-332 B.C.E.) ruled the largest landmass of any of the ancient Near Eastern Empires. Attempts by archaeologists to understand the manner in which authority was asserted over this area have suffered from a reliance on biased historical sources, largely from the Classical World. This course uses archaeological data to re-examine the Achaemenid Empire in a global context. This data is examined through a methodological framework that emphasizes comparative studies of ancient and more recent Empires in Africa, the Americas, South Asia, and the Mediterranean.
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

COML B225 Censorship: Historical Contexts, Local Practices and Global Resonance
This course examines the ban on books and art in the US, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe through a study of the historical, political, and sociocultural conditions of censorship practices and the rhetorical strategies writers and artists use to translate repression and trauma into idioms of resistance. Prerequisite: EMLY B001 or a 100-level intensive writing course.
Requirement(s): Division III: Humanities
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
Counts towards: Latin Amer/Latino/Iberian Peoples & Cultures; Middle East Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

CSTS B223 The Early Medieval World
The first of a two-course sequence introducing medieval European history. The chronological span of this course is from the early 4th century and the Christianization of the Roman Empire to the early 10th century and the disintegration of the Carolingian Empire.
Requirement(s): Division I or Division III
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): HIST-B223
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Truitt,E.
(Fall 2013)

GNST B156 Themes in Middle Eastern Society
The basis for the Middle East Studies Concentration, this course features changing themes. For Fall 2010, the theme is the space of religion: in daily life; in politics and culture; space and metaphor. Included are sacred kingship, the rise of Islamic states, roles of Middle Eastern Christians and Jews and challenges from secular ideologies that transform the space of religion.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

HART B140 The Visual Culture of the Ancient Near East
The visual culture of ancient Mesopotamia, a region with its heartland in modern Iraq, from the first city to the fall of Babylon in 539 BCE, includes images designed to gain favor of the gods, promote royal achievements and adorn the deceased on the journey to the afterlife. Particular emphasis placed on the visual analysis of royal and elite artistic production of architecture, sculpture and cylinder seals.
Requirement(s): Division III: Humanities
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): ARCH-B140
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

HART B311 Topics in Medieval Art
This is a topics course. Topics vary.
Requirement(s): Division III: Humanities
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): HIST-B311; CITY-B312
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

HEBR B110 Israeli Cinema
The course traces the evolution of the Israeli cinema from ideologically charged visual medium to a universally recognized film art, as well as the emergent Palestinian cinema and the new wave of Israeli documentaries. It will focus on the historical, ideological, political, and cultural changes in Israeli and Palestinian societies and their impact on films’ form and content.
Requirement(s): Division III: Humanities
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Film Studies; Middle East Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

HEBR B271 Topics in Judaic Studies
What happened in Jewish history between antiquity and the modern era, between composing the Talmud and receiving citizenship in European nations? As we try to understand how Jews got from there to here, this seminar will explore the diverse and sometimes astonishing forms of Jewish life in the medieval and early modern periods (approximately 1000-1800), with special focus on the evolution of Jewish relations with the majority culture. Topics will include the golden age of Jewry in Muslim Spain, the development of European anti-Jewish policies and persecutions, Jewish self-government, and cosmopolitanism, as well as many of the philosophers, mystics and would-be messiahs who sparked religious movements and change in the course of these tumultuous centuries.
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): HIST-B273
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

HEBR B283 Introduction to the Politics of the Modern Middle East and North Africa
This course is a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the politics of the region, using works of history, political science, political economy, film, and fiction as well as primary sources. The course will concern itself with three broad areas: the legacy of colonialism and the importance of international forces; the role of Islam in politics; and the political and social effects of particular economic conditions, policies, and practices.
Requirement(s): Division I: Social Science
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): POLS-B283; HIST-B283
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Rudy,S.
(Spring 2014)

HIST B128 Crusade, Conversion and Conquest
A thematic focus course exploring the nature of Christian religious expansion and conflict in the medieval period. Based around primary sources with some background readings, topics include: early medieval Christianity and conversion; the Crusades and development of the doctrines of “just war” and “holy war”; the rise of military order such as the Templars and the Teutonic Kings; and later medieval attempts to convert and colonize Eastern Europe.
Requirement(s): Division I or Division III
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Truitt,E.
(Spring 2014)

HIST B222 France and Algeria since 1830
This course will trace the intertwined history of France and Algeria by analyzing the beginnings of the French presence in Algeria, colonization and resistance, citizenship and race, the Algerian War, and decolonization. Prerequisite: One 100-level history course.
Approach: Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): POLS-B223; FREN-B222; ANTH-B222
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

HIST B223 The Early Medieval World
The first of a two-course sequence introducing medieval European history. The chronological span of this course is from the early 4th century and the Christianization of the Roman Empire to the early 10th century and the disintegration of the Carolingian Empire.
Requirement(s): Division I or Division III
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): CSTS-B223
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Truitt,E.
(Fall 2013)

HIST B273 Topics in Judaic Studies
What happened in Jewish history between antiquity and the modern era, between composing the Talmud and receiving citizenship in European nations? As we try to understand how Jews got from there to here, this seminar will explore the diverse and sometimes astonishing forms of Jewish life in the medieval and early modern periods (approximately 1000-1800), with special focus on the evolution of Jewish relations with the majority culture. Topics will include the golden age of Jewry in Muslim Spain, the development of European anti-Jewish policies and persecutions, Jewish self-government, and cosmopolitanism, as well as many of the philosophers, mystics and would-be messiahs who sparked religious movements and change in the course of these tumultuous centuries.
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): HEBR-B271
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

HIST B283 Introduction to the Politics of the Modern Middle East and North Africa
This course is a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the politics of the region, using works of history, political science, political economy, film, and fiction as well as primary sources. The course will concern itself with three broad areas: the legacy of colonialism and the importance of international forces; the role of Islam in politics; and the political and social effects of particular economic conditions, policies, and practices.
Requirement(s): Division I: Social Science
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): POLS-B283; HEBR-B283
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Rudy,S.
(Spring 2014)

HIST B288 The Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa
This comparative approach considers historical constructions, the power of economic ideas, domestic politics and resources, and international regimes. Specific areas of focus include theories that seek to explain the economic/political conditions, left, nationalist and liberal, as well as the exceptional growth of the Gulf economies. Prerequisite: at least one other course on the Middle East or a strong area expertise in another region such as Latin America or China with permission of the instructor.
Requirement(s): Division I: Social Science
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): POLS-B288
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

HIST B311 Topics in Medieval Art
This is a topics course. Topics vary.
Requirement(s): Division III: Humanities
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): HART-B311; CITY-B312
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

HIST B382 Religious Fundamentalism in the Global Era
Through a comparison of Jewish, Islamic, Christian and Hindu political movements, the course seeks to investigate the religious turn in national and transnational contexts. We will also seek to find commonalities and differences in religious movements, and religious regimes, while considering the aspects of globalization which usher in new kinds of transnational affiliation. Prerequisite: An introductory course in Anthropology, Political Science or History or permission of the instructor.
Requirement(s): Division I or Division III
Counts towards: Middle East Studies; Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice Studies
Crosslisting(s): ANTH-B382; POLS-B382
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

POLS B282 The Exotic Other: Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East
This course is concerned with the meanings of gender and sexuality in the Middle East, with particular attention to the construction of tradition, its performance, reinscription, and transformation, and to Western interpretations and interactions. Prerequisite: one course in social science or humanities. Previous gender or Middle East course is a plus.
Requirement(s): Division I: Social Science
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies; Middle East Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

POLS B283 Introduction to the Politics of the Modern Middle East and North Africa
This course is a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the politics of the region, using works of history, political science, political economy, film, and fiction as well as primary sources. The course will concern itself with three broad areas: the legacy of colonialism and the importance of international forces; the role of Islam in politics; and the political and social effects of particular economic conditions, policies, and practices.
Requirement(s): Division I: Social Science
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): HIST-B283; HEBR-B283
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s):Rudy,S.
(Spring 2014)

POLS B287 Media and Politics: The Middle East Transformed
The events of 2011 transformed the Middle East, overthrowing or threatening regimes across the region. The course will focus on the media technologies, the political actors, and international events that produced these changes, as well as examine works on political transitions, revolutions, and social movements. Prerequisite: A previous social science or history course is strongly recommended, or a previous course on media.
Requirement(s): Division I: Social Science
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

POLS B288 The Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa
This comparative approach considers historical constructions, the power of economic ideas, domestic politics and resources, and international regimes. Specific areas of focus include theories that seek to explain the economic/political conditions, left, nationalist and liberal, as well as the exceptional growth of the Gulf economies. Prerequisite: at least one other course on the Middle East or a strong area expertise in another region such as Latin America or China with permission of the instructor.
Requirement(s): Division I: Social Science
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): HIST-B288
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

POLS B382 Religious Fundamentalism in the Global Era
Through a comparison of Jewish, Islamic, Christian and Hindu political movements, the course seeks to investigate the religious turn in national and transnational contexts. We will also seek to find commonalities and differences in religious movements, and religious regimes, while considering the aspects of globalization which usher in new kinds of transnational affiliation. Prerequisite: An introductory course in Anthropology, Political Science or History or permission of the instructor.
Requirement(s): Division I or Division III
Counts towards: Middle East Studies; Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice Studies
Crosslisting(s): ANTH-B382; HIST-B382
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

POLS B383 Two Hundred Years of Islamic Reform, Radicalism, and Revolution
This course will examine the transformation of Islamic politics in the past two hundred years, emphasizing historical accounts, comparative analysis of developments in different parts of the Islamic world. Topics covered include the rationalist Salafy movement; the so-called conservative movements (Sanussi of Libya, the Mahdi in the Sudan, and the Wahhabi movement in Arabia); the Caliphate movement; contemporary debates over Islamic constitutions; among others. The course is not restricted to the Middle East or Arab world. Prerequisites: a course on Islam and modern European history, or an earlier course on the Modern Middle East or 19th-century India, or permission of instructor.
Requirement(s): Division I: Social Science
Counts towards: Middle East Studies
Crosslisting(s): HIST-B383
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)