Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

Arnold Hall, 304 Elm Street, 203.432.2944
http://nelc.yale.edu
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.

Chair
Shawkat Toorawa

Director of Graduate Studies
Kevin van Bladel

Professors John Darnell, Benjamin Foster, Eckart Frahm, Dimitri Gutas (Emeritus), Bentley Layton (Emeritus), Shawkat Toorawa, Kevin van Bladel, Harvey Weiss

Senior Lecturer Kathryn Slanski

Lecturers Karen Foster, Christina Geisen, Agnete Lassen, Klaus Wagensonner

Senior Lector II Shiri Goren

Senior Lectors I Sarab al-Ani, Muhammad Aziz, Jonas Elbousty, Dina Roginsky, Farkhondeh Shayesteh

Lectors Elham Alkasimi, Ozgen Felek, Selim Tiryakiol, Orit Yeret

Fields of Study

Fields include Arabic Humanities, Assyriology, the Classical Near East, and Egyptology.

Special Admissions Requirements

Applicants should state their specific field of study and intended specialization. Evidence of reading knowledge of both French and German is required of all Ph.D. students. Proficiency in one of these languages is normally a prerequisite for admission and is demonstrated by passing a departmental examination upon registration at Yale. Proficiency in the second language must be achieved before admission to the second year of study. Ph.D. students admitted with only one of the two required languages or who fail the departmental examination are expected to enroll in an appropriate full-year course given by the French or German department at Yale (or the equivalent elsewhere, with the approval of the director of graduate studies [DGS]). Completion of such a course with a grade of A or B will be accepted as fulfilling the proficiency requirement in either language; exceptions, for instance, for native speakers of French or German, may be made by the department upon recommendation of the DGS. For students in the M.A. program, evidence of reading knowledge of either French or German is sufficient.

Special Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

Course Work

The department normally requires three full years of course work: four yearlong courses or eight term courses per year are considered a full load. Normal progress in course work is considered to be consistent achievement of grades of High Pass or better, and at least four term courses or two yearlong courses with Honors per year.

Of the twenty-four required courses for graduate study, at least eighteen should be taken within the department, usually within the student’s primary field of study. Courses taken outside of the department should be clearly related to the student’s primary field or constitute a coherent second field. For students who take no courses outside of the department, minimum competence in a second field within NELC is required, defined as follows: at least two terms of a Near Eastern language, to be evaluated either by examination or a course grade of High Pass or better, or at least two terms of nonlanguage courses outside the area of specialization.

Advanced standing In exceptional cases, upon presenting evidence of successful completion of graduate courses at other universities or at Yale prior to their matriculation in the Ph.D. program, students with significant prior knowledge in their primary fields of study may apply for a waiver of up to eight courses toward the twenty-four required for candidacy. The faculty adviser and the DGS will normally present such applications to the faculty of the department, with a recommendation, no later than the end of the second year.

Committees

While doing course work, students are mentored by a faculty adviser from their field and by the DGS. Students writing dissertations may, if they so wish, be mentored by a committee headed by a primary adviser from NELC (not necessarily the faculty adviser from the course work years) and staffed with one, two, or more additional members, from either inside or outside the department, depending on the student’s specific needs. Committees are to be approved by the DGS. Interested students are encouraged to seek out suitable and willing faculty to serve on their advisory committees.

Special Language and Course Requirements

Course work should be planned to meet two departmental general standards: core languages for the primary fields of study, and minimum competence in a secondary field. The core languages in each of the major fields of study are as follows: Arabic Humanities: Arabic and one other Near Eastern language, typically Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. Assyriology: Sumerian and Akkadian. Classical Near East: Arabic and at least two of the following: Armenian, Aramaic (Babylonian or Syriac), Coptic, Greek, Hebrew, Middle Persian, New Persian, or Sanskrit. Egyptology: Egyptian and at least four terms of Demotic or Coptic.

Minimum competence in a secondary field of study is defined as follows: at least two terms of a Near Eastern language to be evaluated either by examination or with a course grade of High Pass or better, or at least two terms of nonlanguage courses outside the area of specialization. A minimum grade of High Pass in these courses will be considered successful fulfillment of this requirement.

In Arabic Humanities, the minimum competence can be extended to an interdisciplinary course of study in a minor field. Minors may include six to eight term courses in such departments and programs as Comparative Literature, French, History, History of Science and Medicine, Italian, Judaic Studies, Linguistics, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Spanish and Portuguese, or others as applicable.

Students in all four fields of the department will be expected to declare their choice of a secondary language or area, or a minor field, by their third term of study.

Training in Teaching

NELC students normally acquire four terms of teaching experience, between their second and fourth years in residence. Teaching Fellow assignments will be made by the DGS in consultation with the relevant faculty and will, whenever possible, take student preferences into account.

Examinations and the Dissertation

The qualifying examination is normally taken at the end of the third year of study or no later than the beginning of the fourth year of study. For students who enter with advanced standing, the qualifying examination could be taken at the end of the second year. Qualifying examinations normally include three written and one oral examination, including language, literature, history, and other topics to be determined by the DGS in consultation with the student and the relevant faculty. Qualifying examinations may be based in part on reading lists of primary core texts and secondary literature compiled in advance by the student and the relevant faculty. Primary texts and secondary literature from course work may also be topics of the examination. For language examinations, unseen texts may also be included. In the case of the program in Arabic Humanities, for students electing to do a minor, the written portion will consist of two language examinations and one subject in the minor field, and the oral will consist of two subjects in Arabic studies and one in the minor field. Written examinations are set by the individual faculty members responsible for particular areas of study, but the oral portion may be conducted by the full staff of the department. The dissertation proposal is normally submitted one month after completing the qualifying examination.

In their final term of course work, students may, with the permission of the DGS and the relevant faculty, enroll in a Directed Readings course related to the general field of the prospective dissertation topic. Course work should include preparation of a comprehensive, annotated bibliography for the prospective topic and exploration of selected aspects of the topic in a research paper. Students availing themselves of this option may present some of their work at the NELC Roundtable.

The dissertation prospectus may comprise up to thirty pages, excluding the bibliography. A two-page summary of the prospectus will normally be circulated among and voted upon by the faculty, though the full prospectus will be available for consideration.

Successful completion of the comprehensive examination and submission of an acceptable prospectus will qualify the student for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. After completion of the dissertation, the candidate may receive a final examination concerned primarily with the defense of the thesis.

Archaia Graduate Qualification

Students can participate in the Yale Program for the Study of Ancient and Premodern Cultures and Societies (Archaia) and receive a graduate qualification by fulfilling the necessary requirements. For further information, see Archaia, under Non-Degree-Granting Programs, Councils, and Research Institutes.

Master’s Degrees

M.Phil. See Degree Requirements under Policies and Regulations.

Terminal Master’s Degree Program Applicants who do not enroll in the Ph.D. program may pursue a Master of Arts degree. Students enrolled in the M.A. program should complete a minimum of twelve term courses with at least two term grades of Honors and an average of High Pass in the remaining courses, and will be required to submit a master’s thesis no later than April 1 of the fourth term of study. No financial aid is available. Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program are also eligible for this degree by meeting the same requirements. Automatic petition for the M.A. degree is not available to students in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

Courses

AKKD 500a, Elementary Akkadian IJonathan Beltz

Introduction to the language of ancient Babylonia and its cuneiform writing system, with exercises in reading, translation, and composition.
TTh 9am-10:15am

AKKD 501b, Elementary Akkadian IIJonathan Beltz

Introduction to the language of ancient Babylonia and its cuneiform writing system, with exercises in reading, translation, and composition.
TTh 9am-10:15am

AKKD 510a, Akkadian DialectsBenjamin Foster


HTBA

AKKD 547b, Assyrian LettersEckart Frahm

An introduction to Assyrian letters, mostly from the Assyrian “state archives” of the first millennium B.C.E.  Prerequisite: AKKD 110/AKKD 120.
HTBA

ARBC 500a, Elementary Modern Standard Arabic IElham Alkasimi

A two-term course for students who have no previous background in Arabic. Students learn the Arabic alphabet, basic vocabulary and expression, and basic grammatical structures and concepts, and concentrate on developing listening and speaking skills. The course aims at developing the following skills: reading to extract the gist of written Modern Standard Arabic texts; speaking with increased ease, good pronunciation, sound grammatical forms, and correct usage; writing to respond to simple daily life issues; forming and recognizing grammatically correct Modern Standard Arabic.
HTBA

ARBC 501b, Elementary Modern Standard Arabic IIStaff

A two-term course for students who have no previous background in Arabic. Students learn the Arabic alphabet, basic vocabulary and expression, and basic grammatical structures and concepts, and concentrate on developing listening and speaking skills. The course aims at developing the following skills: reading to extract the gist of written Modern Standard Arabic texts; speaking with increased ease, good pronunciation, sound grammatical forms, and correct usage; writing to respond to simple daily life issues; forming and recognizing grammatically correct Modern Standard Arabic.
HTBA

ARBC 502a, Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic ISarab Al Ani

A two-term course for students with previous background in Arabic. It is designed to improve proficiency in aural and written comprehension as well as in speaking and writing skills. The course aims to develop the following skills: reading to extract the gist as well as key details of written Modern Standard Arabic texts on a variety of academic, social, cultural, economic, and political topics; speaking with greater fluency and enhanced engagement in conversations on a variety of topics; mastering writing, easily forming and recognizing grammatically correct Arabic sentences. Prerequisite: ARBC 501 or successful completion of a placement test.
HTBA

ARBC 503b, Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic IIMuhammad Aziz

A two-term course for students with previous background in Arabic. It is designed to improve proficiency in aural and written comprehension as well as in speaking and writing skills. The course aims to develop the following skills: reading to extract the gist as well as key details of written Modern Standard Arabic texts on a variety of academic, social, cultural, economic, and political topics; speaking with greater fluency and enhanced engagement in conversations on a variety of topics; mastering writing, easily forming and recognizing grammatically correct Arabic sentences. Prerequisite: ARBC 501 or successful completion of a placement test.
MTWThF 10:30am-11:20am

ARBC 504a, Advanced Modern Standard Arabic IMuhammad Aziz

Focus on improving the listening, writing, and speaking skills of students who already have a substantial background in the study of modern standard Arabic. Prerequisite: ARBC 503 or permission of the instructor.
HTBA

ARBC 505b, Advanced Modern Standard Arabic IIMuhammad Aziz

Focus on improving the listening, writing, and speaking skills of students who already have a substantial background in the study of modern standard Arabic. Prerequisite: ARBC 503 or permission of the instructor.
MWF 9:25am-10:15am

ARBC 509a, Intermediate Classical Arabic IAdeel Mohammadi

Introduction to classical Arabic, with emphasis on analytical reading skills, grammar, and prose composition. Readings from the Qur’an, Islamic theology, and literature and history of the Middle East, as well as Jewish and Christian religious texts in Arabic.
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

ARBC 510b, Intermediate Classical Arabic IIStaff

Introduction to classical Arabic, with emphasis on analytical reading skills, grammar, and prose composition. Readings from the Qur’an, Islamic theology, and literature and history of the Middle East, as well as Jewish and Christian religious texts in Arabic.
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

ARBC 519a, Levantine ArabicSarab Al Ani


MW 1pm-2:15pm

ARBC 523a, Arabic Prose NarrativeMuhammad Aziz

Close reading of some of Naguib Mahfouz’s novels. Attention to idiomatic expressions, structural patterns, literary analysis, and discussions. Students write a brief report on their weekly reading and discuss the main ideas of the assigned reading. Short midterm paper relevant to Mahfouz (to be discussed with the instructor) and a final paper. Prerequisite: ARBC 503 or permission of the instructor.
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

ARBC 526a / NELC 558a, Creative Writing in ArabicJonas Elbousty

This course combines both analysis and production of literary texts. Students study modern Arabic literary texts as a vehicle for generating their own creative prose and to engage with prose, personal essay, and other literary genres, attending particularly to how authors evoke experience through character, setting, dialog, etc. The class looks to popular fiction in Arabic and focuses upon the writer’s craft to create vivid and engaging narratives. This analysis provides inspiration for students writing their own unique creative pieces and encourages them to polish their ability to express themselves in Arabic. Prerequisite: ARBC 503.
MWF 9:25am-10:15am

ARBC 527b / NELC 598b, Hunger in Eden: Mohamed Choukri’s NarrativesJonas Elbousty

A survey of the work of Mohamed Choukri, one of the most prominent Moroccan, if not Arab, writers to have shaped the modern Arabic literary canon. His influence has been instrumental in forming a generation of writers and enthusiastic readers, who cherish his narratives. Students dive deeply into Choukri’s narratives, analyzing them with an eye toward their cultural and political importance. The class looks to Choukri’s life story to reveal the roots of his passion for writing and explores the culture of the time and places about which he writes. Through his narratives, students better understand the political environment within which they were composed and the importance of Choukri’s work to today’s reader regarding current debates over Arab identity. This class surveys the entirety of his work, contextualizing within the sphere of Arabic novelistic tradition. Prerequisite: ARBC 505 or permission of the instructor.
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

ARBC 530a, Arabic Seminar: Early AdabKevin Van Bladel

Study and interpretation of classical Arabic texts for advanced students. Prerequisite: ARBC 510 or permission of the instructor.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

ARBC 560b, Graduate Arabic Seminar: The FihristShawkat Toorawa

Study and interpretation of classical Arabic texts for advanced students. The focus this year is the Fihrist.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

ARBC 598a / ARBC 173a / CPLT 828a / LITR 303a / NELC 338a / NELC 614a, Tracing the Image of the Arab "Other"Jonas Elbousty

This course places the modern Arabic novel in conversation with the west in an effort to uncover both dominant narratives regarding Arab identity, as well as counter narratives that present a challenge to these dominant narratives. We study the tradition of modern Arabic literature, looking specifically to the ways in which the image of the “other” is presented in Arabic narratives as well as the ways in which the image of the Arab is constructed through the others’ literature. Prerequisite: ARBC 140.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

EGYP 500a, Introduction to Classical Hieroglyphic Egyptian IJulien Cooper

A two-term introduction to the language of ancient pharaonic Egypt (Middle Egyptian) and its hieroglyphic writing system, with short historical, literary, and religious texts. Grammatical analysis with exercises in reading, translation, and composition.
TTh 9am-10:15am

EGYP 501b, Introduction to Classical Hieroglyphic Egyptian IIJulien Cooper

A two-term introduction to the language of ancient pharaonic Egypt (Middle Egyptian) and its hieroglyphic writing system, with short historical, literary, and religious texts. Grammatical analysis with exercises in reading, translation, and composition.
TTh 9am-10:15am

EGYP 512b / RLST 658b, Egyptian Monastic Literature in CopticStephen Davis

Readings in the early Egyptian classics of Christian ascetism in Sahidic Coptic, including the Desert Fathers and Shenoute. Prerequisite: EGYP 510b or equivalent.
TTh 9am-10:15am

EGYP 514a, Gnostic Texts in CopticHarold Attridge

The course reads selected portions of important texts from the Nag Hammadi collection, including the Apocryphon of John, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Truth, Thunder, the Treatise on Resurrection, the Tripartite Tractate, as well as other noncanonical texts preserved in Coptic, including the Gospel of Mary and the Gospel of Judas. Prerequisite: EGYP 510 or equivalent.
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

EGYP 521b, The Wisdom of Ancient Egypt: Pharaonic Cultural Texts in TranslationChristina Geisen

Overview of the different text genres in ancient Egypt. Critical analysis of primary sources and their important role in the reconstruction of the history and cultural aspects of ancient Egyptian civilization.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

EGYP 522a, Ancient Egyptian Hieratic TextsChristina Geisen

An introduction to the hieratic script mainly used for everyday documents. The course also considers Old and Late Egyptian texts.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

EGYP 533a, Intermediate Egyptian I: Literary TextsJohn Darnell

Close reading of Middle Egyptian literary texts; introduction to the hieratic (cursive) Egyptian script. Readings include the Middle Kingdom stories of “Sinuhe” and the “Eloquent Peasant” and excerpts from wisdom literature. Prerequisite: EGYP 501.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

EGYP 542b, Intermediate Egyptian: Late Egyptian TextsChristina Geisen

Focus on Late Egyptian. After discussion of grammar, highlighting the differences between Middle and Late Egyptian, students read documents from different text genres (historical, literary, love poems, letters) to gain background information in this area. This course is valuable for any student planning to pursue studies within the field of Egyptology, and/or focus on the Coptic language. Prerequisites: EGYP 110 and 120.
W 7pm-8:50pm

EGYP 578b, The Egyptian Netherworld BooksJohn Darnell

Study of the Underworld texts from the royal tombs of the New Kingdom. Readings from the Amduat, the Book of Gates, the Book of Caverns, the Book of the Creation of the Solar Disk, the Book of the Day and the Night, the cryptographic Books of the Solar-Osirian Unity, the Book of the Heavenly Cow, and the Book of Nut. Discussions of the significance of these texts for understanding Egyptian religion, and the possible contributions of these compositions to the Hermetica and Christian Gnosticism.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

EGYP 579a, Directed Readings: EgyptologyJohn Darnell


HTBA

HEBR 500a, Elementary Modern Hebrew IDina Roginsky

A two-term introduction to the language of contemporary Israel, both spoken and written. Fundamentals of grammar; extensive practice in speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension under the guidance of a native speaker. No previous knowledge required. Successful completion of the fall term required to enroll in the spring term.
HTBA

HEBR 501b, Elementary Modern Hebrew IIOrit Yeret

A two-term introduction to the language of contemporary Israel, both spoken and written. Fundamentals of grammar; extensive practice in speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension under the guidance of a native speaker. No previous knowledge required. Successful completion of the fall term required to enroll in the spring term.
HTBA

HEBR 502a, Intermediate Modern Hebrew IOrit Yeret

A two-term review and continuation of grammatical study leading to a deeper comprehension of style and usage. Focus on selected readings, writing, comprehension, and speaking skills. Prerequisite: HEBR 501 or equivalent.
HTBA

HEBR 503b, Intermediate Modern Hebrew IIShiri Goren

A two-term review and continuation of grammatical study leading to a deeper comprehension of style and usage. Focus on selected readings, writing, comprehension, and speaking skills. Prerequisite: HEBR 502 or equivalent.
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

HEBR 504a, Advanced Modern Hebrew: Daily Life in IsraelOrit Yeret

An examination of major controversies in Israeli society. Readings include newspaper editorials and academic articles as well as documentary and historical material. Advanced grammatical structures are introduced and practiced.
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

HEBR 509b, Reading Academic Texts in Modern HebrewDina Roginsky

The course addresses the linguistic needs of English-speaking students who would like to be able to read with ease and accuracy contemporary Hebrew-language scholarship in the fields of Judaic studies, religious studies, history, political science, sociology, Near Eastern studies, and other related fields. Particularly, this course confronts reading comprehension problems through straightforward exposition of the grammar supported by examples from scholarly texts. Conducted in Hebrew. Prerequisite: two years of modern or biblical Hebrew, or permission of the instructor.
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

HEBR 511a, Elementary Biblical Hebrew IStaff

A two-term introduction to Biblical Hebrew. Intensive instruction in grammar and vocabulary, supplemented by readings from the Bible. No prior knowledge of Hebrew required.
HTBA

HEBR 512b, Intermediate Biblical HebrewStaff

A two-term review and continuation of instruction in grammar and vocabulary, supplemented by readings from the Bible. Prerequisite: HEBR 510 or equivalent.
HTBA

HEBR 516b, Israeli Popular MusicDina Roginsky

Changes in the development of popular music in Israel explored as representations of changing Israeli society and culture. The interaction of music and cultural identity; the role of modern popular music in representing, shaping, challenging, and criticizing social conventions; songs of commemoration and heroism; popular representation of the Holocaust; Mizrahi and Arab music; feminism, sexuality, and gender; class and musical consumption; criticism, protest, and globalization. Prerequisite: HEBR 502 or equivalent.
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

HEBR 519a, Israel in Ideology and PracticeDina Roginsky

An advanced Hebrew class that focuses on changing ideology and politics in Israel. Topics include right- and left-wing political discourse, elections, state-religion dynamics, the Jewish-Arab divide, and demographic changes. Materials include newspapers, publications, online resources, speeches of different political and religious groups, and contemporary and archival footage. Also, this course draws comparisons to American political and ideological discourse. Prerequisite: HEBR 502 or equivalent.
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

MESO 530a, Beginning Sumerian IKlaus Wagensonner

A two-term introduction to the Sumerian language.
HTBA

MESO 531b, Beginning Sumerian IIKlaus Wagensonner

A two-term introduction to the Sumerian language.
HTBA

MESO 533a, Advanced SumerianBenjamin Foster


HTBA

NELC 508a, Ancient Painting and Mosaics

Study of the major developments in wall painting, vase painting, and mosaics as seen in ancient Egypt, the Aegean Bronze Age, and the Greek, Etruscan, and Roman world.
HTBA

NELC 509a, The Age of AkhenatonJohn Darnell

Study of the period of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaton (reigned 1353–1336 B.C.E.), often termed the Amarna Revolution, from historical, literary, religious, artistic, and archaeological perspectives. Consideration of the wider Egyptian, ancient Near Eastern, African, and Mediterranean contexts. Examination of the international diplomacy, solar theology, and artistic developments of the period. Reading of primary source material in translation.
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

NELC 519b, Religion and Politics in the Ancient Near East

Survey of interaction between religion and politics in ancient Mesopotamia, compared to Egypt and Israel. Topics include divine kingship and royal rituals, religious justification of war, the politics of religious icons, politics and scholarship, political dimensions of myths, religious reforms, and the invention of monotheism as a response to empire.
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

NELC 520a, Mesopotamian History of the Third MillenniumBenjamin Foster

Readings and discussion of issues and evidence for a selected 500-year period of Mesopotamian history.
HTBA

NELC 529a, Seals and Sealing in the Ancient Near EastAgnete Lassen

The course investigates seals and seal use in mesopotamia and surrounding areas from the earliest impressions in the Neolithic to the Neo-Babylonian period. The teaching will take the form of a research seminar with active student participation and will be based on the extensive glyptic material in the Yale Babylonian Collection.
HTBA

NELC 533b / ANTH 531b / ARCG 531b / CLSS 815b / EALL 773b / HIST 502b / HSAR 564b / JDST 653b / RLST 803b, Sensory Experiences in Ancient RitualCarolyn Laferriere and Andrew Turner

A comparative exploration of the role the senses played in the performance of ancient and premodern ritual, drawing from a range of ancient traditions including those of Greece, Rome, and Egypt, and from cultural traditions of the Near East, India, China, and the New World. Placing particular emphasis on the relationship between art and ritual, we discuss the methods available for reconstructing ancient sensory experience, how the ancient cultures conceived of the senses and perception, and how worshipers’ sensory experiences, whether visual, sonic, olfactory, gustatory, or haptic, were integral aspects in their engagement with the divine within religious ritual. This seminar incorporates material in the Yale Art Gallery.
Th 9:25am-11:15am

NELC 537b / ANTH 692b / ARCG 692b, Imaging Ancient WorldsRoderick McIntosh, John Darnell, and Agnete Lassen

The interpretation of epigraphic and archaeological material within the broader context of landscape, by means of creating a virtual model to reconstruct the sensory experiences of the ancient peoples who created the sites. Use of new technologies in computer graphics, including 3-D imaging, to support current research in archaeology and anthropology.
W 9:25am-11:15am

NELC 557b, Israeli NarrativesShiri Goren

Close reading of major Israeli novels in translation with attention to how their themes and forms relate to the Israeli condition. Focus on topics and theories of war and peace, migration, nationalism, and gender. Authors include Oz, Yehoshua, Grossman, Matalon, Castel-Bloom, Shalev, and Kashua.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

NELC 558a / ARBC 526a, Creative Writing in ArabicJonas Elbousty

This course combines both analysis and production of literary texts. Students study modern Arabic literary texts as a vehicle for generating their own creative prose and to engage with prose, personal essay, and other literary genres, attending particularly to how authors evoke experience through character, setting, dialog, etc. The class looks to popular fiction in Arabic and focuses upon the writer’s craft to create vivid and engaging narratives. This analysis provides inspiration for students writing their own unique creative pieces and encourages them to polish their ability to express themselves in Arabic. Prerequisite: ARBC 503.
MWF 9:25am-10:15am

NELC 588b / ANTH 773b / ARCG 773b, Abrupt Climate Change and Societal CollapseHarvey Weiss

Collapse documented in the archaeological and early historical records of the Old and New Worlds, including Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, the Andes, and Europe. Analysis of politicoeconomic vulnerabilities, resiliencies, and adaptations in the face of abrupt climate change, anthropogenic environmental degradation, resource depletion, “barbarian” incursions, or class conflict.
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

NELC 589b / ANTH 763b / ARCG 763b, Archaeologies of EmpireHarvey Weiss

Comparative study of origins, structures, efficiencies, and limitations of imperialism, ancient and modern, in the Old and New World, from Akkad to “Indochine,” and from Wari to Aztec. The contrast between ancient and modern imperialisms examined from the perspectives of nineteenth- and twentieth-century archaeology and political economy.
Th 9am-11am

NELC 598b / ARBC 527b, Hunger in Eden: Mohamed Choukri’s NarrativesJonas Elbousty

A survey of the work of Mohamed Choukri, one of the most prominent Moroccan, if not Arab, writers to have shaped the modern Arabic literary canon. His influence has been instrumental in forming a generation of writers and enthusiastic readers, who cherish his narratives. Students dive deeply into Choukri’s narratives, analyzing them with an eye toward their cultural and political importance. The class looks to Choukri’s life story to reveal the roots of his passion for writing and explores the culture of the time and places about which he writes. Through his narratives, students better understand the political environment within which they were composed and the importance of Choukri’s work to today’s reader regarding current debates over Arab identity. This class surveys the entirety of his work, contextualizing within the sphere of Arabic novelistic tradition. Prerequisite: ARBC 505 or permission of the instructor.
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

NELC 605a, Global Environmental HistoryHarvey Weiss


TTh 9am-10:15am

NELC 606a, Agriculture: Origins, Evolution, CrisesHarvey Weiss

Analysis of the societal and environmental drivers and effects of plant and animal domestication, the intensification of agroproduction, and the crises of agroproduction: land degradation, societal collapses, sociopolitical transformation, sustainablity, and biodiversity.
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

NELC 611a / ARCG 611a / CLSS 811a / RLST 833a, The Ancient Egyptian Temple as Cosmos: Correlation of Architecture and Decoration ProgramChristina Geisen

The course focuses on the correlation of archaeology, iconography, and philology by analyzing ancient Egyptian temples under the specific consideration of the interplay of architecture and decoration program. The different types of temples and their developments over time are discussed. The main focus is the function of each temple type, which can only be understood by analyzing the architecture of the monument, its decoration program, related texts (such as rituals, myths, and festival description, but also historical texts), and its place in the cultic landscape of the specific location. The class also provides an overview of rituals performed and festivals celebrated in the temples, as well as of the administrative sphere of the temple. Optional field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to see the Temple of Dendur. No previous knowledge of ancient Egyptian culture or languages is necessary; all texts are read in translation.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

NELC 613b / RLST 828b, Authors, Editors, and Scribes: The Making of the Hebrew BibleJoel Baden

This course provides an overview of the diverse compositional techniques employed in the creation of the various books of the Hebrew Bible. By closely examining the literary features of a selection of biblical texts, along with comparative evidence from related corpora, students learn how authors, editors, and scribes have created and influenced this central text of Western civilization. Prerequisite for Divinity students: REL 503 or REL 504 or equivalent; for Graduate School students: an introductory course in the Bible at some level is preferred.
W 9:25am-11:15am

NELC 614a / ARBC 173a / ARBC 598a / CPLT 828a / LITR 303a / NELC 338a, Tracing the Image of the Arab "Other"Jonas Elbousty

This course places the modern Arabic novel in conversation with the west in an effort to uncover both dominant narratives regarding Arab identity, as well as counter narratives that present a challenge to these dominant narratives. We study the tradition of modern Arabic literature, looking specifically to the ways in which the image of the “other” is presented in Arabic narratives as well as the ways in which the image of the Arab is constructed through the others’ literature. Prerequisite: ARBC 140.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

NELC 615a / CPLT 655a / MDVL 662a, Medieval BaghdadShawkat Toorawa

The founding of Baghdad in the mid-eighth-century by the ascendant ’Abbasid dynasty (ruled 750–1258) ushered in a period of intense scholarly, administrative, and artistic activity. The rulers patronized poets and prose writers and supported translation from Greek, Persian, and other languages into Arabic; learned individuals hosted intellectual discussions (and meals and drinking sessions) late into the night at their homes; the literati spent entire nights in bookstores voraciously reading everything they could lay their hands on; theologians and philosophers debated the nature of reality and of God; scientists tested theories in engineering, medicine, and mathematics; and travelers reported their discoveries from China and India. We read works by and about Baghdadis, including how they overthrew the preceding Umayyad dynasty and how they built the legendary Round City. We read travel accounts, geographies, and graffiti; and we read tales from the Arabian Nights. We see how paper, books, and writing changed Baghdad, Islamic society, and human knowledge; and how Arab-Islamic society’s contributions changed the world.
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

NELC 701a / JDST 736a / RLST 746a, Midrash Seminar: The Exodus from EgyptSteven Fraade

The Exodus from Egypt as seen through rabbinic eyes. Close readings of the early rabbinic commentary (midrash), Mekhilta, to the narrative of Exodus 13:17ff (the lection Beshallah). Particular attention to the methods and language of rabbinic exegesis and to the rhetorical interplay of tradition and scriptural commentary. Interpretations and interpretive strategies compared and contrasted with those of other ancient biblical exegetes (Jewish and non-Jewish) where available. Prerequisite: reading fluency in ancient Hebrew.
Th 9:25am-11:15am

NELC 702a / JDST 727a / RLST 752a, Mishnah Seminar: Tractate SanhedrinSteven Fraade

Close study of a section of the Mishnah, the earliest digest of Jewish law, treating religious courts and their jurisprudential practice. Dual attention to the historical significance of the institutions of law represented and to the cultural significance of the rhetoric of that representation. Consideration of the textual practices of rabbinic legal discourse in relation to its social function, as well as to the interplay of law and narrative. Prerequisite: reading fluency in ancient Hebrew.
W 9:25am-11:15am

NELC 703b / JDST 721b, Introduction to Judaism in the Ancient World: From Temple to TalmudSteven Fraade

The emergence of classical Judaism in its historical setting. Jews and Hellenization; varieties of early Judaism; apocalyptic and postapocalyptic responses to suffering and catastrophe; worship and atonement without sacrificial cult; interpretations of scriptures; law and life; the rabbi; the synagogue; faith in reason; Sabbath and festivals; history and its redemption.
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

NELC 705a / CLCV 705a, Ancient EmpiresKevin Van Bladel

This is an introduction to the history and cultures of the ancient empires of southwestern Asia, focusing on the period from the Assyrian and Persian Empires to the establishment of Islam (ca. 900 BCE–ca. 750 CE). Students learn how to use ancient primary sources critically to create a historical narrative and to understand the modern appropriation of ancient history for political and other purposes. Primary sources include classical Greek and Latin authors, as well as works composed in Iran, from royal inscriptions to neighboring Armenian and Aramaic sources chronicling war and strife. Major topics include the formation of early states, the kingdoms of Mesopotamia, Anshan and the Elamites, the Achaemenid dynasty, Alexander and his successors, the Parthian and Sasanian Persian empires and their rivalries with Rome, as well as the empires of Afghanistan and the kingdom of Armenia. Additionally, the course includes an introduction to the geography of southwestern Asia and a survey of languages, Iranian and other religions, and some ancient literature from a variety of cultures. Events covered in this course contributed decisively to the demography of the present-day Near East and the social characteristics of its people, from the distribution of language communities to the variety of Near Eastern religions. Students gain some understanding of the makeup of the modern Near East, including how the population of the region became predominantly Muslim.
MW 9am-10:15am

NELC 768b, Sasanian SeminarKevin Van Bladel

This is an intensive introduction to the primary sources for the study of the Sasanian Persian kingdom (third–seventh century C.E.) and the state of research on the topic.
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

NELC 829b, History of the Arabic LanguageKevin Van Bladel

The course covers the development of the Arabic language from the earliest epigraphic evidence through the formation of the Classical ’Arabiyya and further, to Middle Arabic and Neo-Arabic. Readings of textual specimens and survey of secondary literature.
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

PERS 500a, Elementary Persian IFarkhondeh Shayesteh

A two-term introduction to modern Persian with emphasis on all four language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The objective is to allow students to develop the foundational knowledge necessary for further language study. Designed for nonnative speakers.
MTWThF 10:30am-11:20am

PERS 501b, Elementary Persian IIFarkhondeh Shayesteh

A two-term introduction to modern Persian with emphasis on all four language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The objective is to allow students to develop the foundational knowledge necessary for further language study. Designed for nonnative speakers.
MTWThF 10:30am-11:20am

PERS 502a, Intermediate Persian IFarkhondeh Shayesteh

This two-term course is a continuation of PERS 501 with emphasis on expanding vocabulary and understanding of more complex grammatical forms and syntax. Designed for nonnative speakers. Prerequisite: PERS 501 or permission of the instructor.
MTWThF 11:35am-12:25pm

PERS 503b, Intermediate Persian IIFarkhondeh Shayesteh

This two-term course is a continuation of PERS 501 with emphasis on expanding vocabulary and understanding of more complex grammatical forms and syntax. Designed for nonnative speakers. Prerequisite: PERS 501 or permission of the instructor.
MTWThF 11:35am-12:25pm

PERS 561b, Persian Culture and MediaFarkhondeh Shayesteh

Advanced study of Persian grammar, vocabulary, and culture through the use of authentic Persian media. Examination of daily media reports on cultural, political, historical, and sporting events in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and other Persian-speaking regions. Designed for nonnative speakers. Prerequisite: PERS 140 or permission of instructor.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

SMTC 513a / RLST 838a and RLST 839b, Introductory SyriacJimmy Daccache

Syriac was an Aramaic dialect which developed its own written tradition in the city of Edessa in classical antiquity. This two-term course provides students with a basic working knowledge of the language, namely, the three principal scripts (Estrangela, Serṭo, and “Nestorian”), verbal morphology, and the fundamental rules of the syntax. Extracts of several Syriac texts are studied for purposes of application. At the end of the course, students are able to read, translate, and analyze simple texts.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

SMTC 520a / RLST 840a, Introductory UgariticJimmy Daccache

The Ugaritic texts from the Bronze Age found at Ras Shamra on the Mediterranean coast of Syria provide the earliest well-attested example of the use of alphabet writing. The Ugaritic corpus comprises more than 2,000 texts of several genres (myths, rituals, incantations, “scientific” manuals, letters, administrative documents, and others), written in a “cuneiform” script. This two-term course prepares students to read, transcribe, and analyze texts written in Ugaritic by using basic grammar rules.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

SMTC 546b / RLST 834b, Northwest Semitic Inscriptions: Phoenician EpigraphyJimmy Daccache

This course is designed to lay the groundwork for the study of the Phoenician grammar, illustrated through a selection of a wide variety of inscriptions (monumental, cursive, numismatic, seal inscriptions). The chronological span stretches from the early centuries of the first millennium BCE to the Hellenistic period. The study of inscriptions—examined from photographs and drawings—follows a geographical and chronological order beginning with the inscriptions from “Phoenicia” itself (Byblos, Sidon, and Tyre), Anatolia, Cyprus, Greece, and other places around the Mediterranean. By the end of the term, students have an overview of the Phoenician inscriptions and are able to transcribe, translate, and analyze Phoenician inscriptions from different periods.
T 3:30pm-5:20pm