Modern Middle East Studies (MMES)

MMES 148b / HIST 345b / JDST 265b / RLST 202b, Jews in Muslim Lands from the Seventh to the Sixteenth CenturiesIvan Marcus

Jewish culture and society in Muslim lands from the time of the Prophet Muhammad to that of Suleiman the Magnificent. Topics include Islam and Judaism; Jerusalem as a holy site; rabbinic leadership and literature in Baghdad; Jewish courtiers, poets, and philosophers in Muslim Spain; and the Jews in the Ottoman Empire.  HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

MMES 149a / ER&M 219a / HIST 219a / JDST 200a / RLST 148a, Jewish History and Thought to Early Modern TimesIvan Marcus

A broad introduction to the history of the Jews from biblical beginnings until the European Reformation and the Ottoman Empire. Focus on the formative period of classical rabbinic Judaism and on the symbiotic relationships among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Jewish society and culture in its biblical, rabbinic, and medieval settings. Counts toward either European or non-Western distributional credit within the History major, upon application to the director of undergraduate studies.  HURP
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

MMES 156a / HEBR 161a / JDST 407a, 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; modern popular music and 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. Conducted in Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR 140 or equivalent.  L5
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

* MMES 157b / JDST 306b / NELC 157b, Israeli NarrativesShiri Goren

This course looks at contemporary representations of social, political, and domestic space in Israel through cultural production such as literature, visual work, and art. It focuses on close reading of major Israeli works in translation with attention to how their themes and forms relate to the Israeli condition. Reading and viewing include: Amos Oz’s major novel A Tale of Love and Darkness, Anne Frank: The Graphic Diary, Maya Arad’s novella “The Hebrew Teacher,” TV show Arab Labor and writing by Yehudah Amichai, Etgar Keret, and Sayed Kashua, among others. We discuss topics and theories of personal and collective identity formation, war and peace, ethnicity and race, migration, nationalism, and gender. No knowledge of Hebrew required.  WR, HUTr
Th 9:25am-11:15am

* MMES 159a / HEBR 159a / JDST 409a, Conversational Hebrew: Israeli MediaShiri Goren

An advanced Hebrew course for students interested in practicing and enhancing conversational skills. Focus on listening comprehension and on various forms of discussion, including practical situations, online interactions, and content analysis. Prerequisite: HEBR 140 or permission of instructor.  L5RP
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

* MMES 161b / HEBR 162b / JDST 319b, Israel in Ideology and PracticeDina Roginsky

An advanced Hebrew class focusing 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, on-line resources, speeches of different political and religious groups, and contemporary and archival footage. Comparisons to American political and ideological discourse. Prerequisite: HEBR 140 or permission of instructor.  L5RP
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* MMES 164b / LITR 473b, Politics and Literature in the Middle EastSamuel Hodgkin

This course considers the relationship between literature and politics in Turkey, Iran, and the Arab world since the late 19th century. We read novels, short stories, poetry, essays, play scripts, and comics, and watch movies, while situating them in their artistic and political contexts. This course considers the ways that an artwork can intervene in the political debates of its time, while taking seriously the distinctive modes of political thought that are possible only through art. Topics include gender relations, the legacies of European colonialism, modernization and modernism, revolutionary movements, the role of religion in society, experiences of violence and trauma, and the drastic changes to Middle Eastern societies wrought by the oil boom. All readings are in English translation, but if sufficient students with relevant language skills enroll, an additional biweekly session may be arranged for selected course readings in the original languages.  HU
HTBA

* MMES 168a / HEBR 158a / JDST 305a, Contemporary Israeli Society in FilmShiri Goren

Examination of major themes in Israeli society through film, with emphasis on language study. Topics include migration, gender and sexuality, Jewish/Israeli identity, and private and collective memory. Readings in Hebrew and English provide a sociohistorical background and bases for class discussion. Prerequisites: HEBR 140 or permission of instructor.  L5, HURP
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

* MMES 176a / NELC 170a / PERS 161a, Cinema of Iran, Past and PresentFarkhondeh Shayesteh

A thematic survey of Iranian cinema, past and present. Prominent Iranian directors such as Kiarostami, Beyzai, Panahi, Banietemad, and Farhadi are explored through discussion and in-class viewing of clips from assigned films. Students enhance their awareness of Persian culture through Iranian films while advancing their language skills. L4 and instructor permission.  L5
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

* MMES 201a / HUMS 233a / LITR 178a / NELC 156a, Classics of the Arabic-Islamic WorldShawkat Toorawa

Arabic-Islamic civilization has produced numerous works that would make it onto almost anyone’s list of wondrous books. In this course, we will read a selection of (or from) those books and study the literary and intellectual cultures that produced them in an attempt to deepen and nuance our understanding of Islamic civilization. Readings will include the Qur’an, classical Arabic poetry, Jahiz’s epistles, the Maqamat of Hariri, al-Ghazali, the Shahnameh,  Leyli ve Mejnun, the Conference of the Birds, the Hang Tuah Epic, Aisha al-Bauniyyah’s Sufi poetry, and much else besides. All readings in translation.  HUTr
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

* MMES 204a / HIST 273Ja / SOCY 204a, Empire, Nation, and DecolonizationJonathan Wyrtzen

What is an empire? What is a nation?  How do these interact in moments of crisis like decolonization? This course examines how spatial boundaries and social boundaries interact as empires expand, both over land and over seas, and as empires contract.  Our central focus is how the “nation” works as a contested notion, and a contented boundary, within the broader frame of empire. We trace struggles over national identities as metropolitan cores and colonial peripheries have been produced in the Americas (including the Caribbean), Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The two main empire-nation cases the course focuses on are the United States and France, but we also consider the British, Russian/Soviet, Hapsburg, Japanese and other empires.  HU, SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* MMES 216b / HEBR 156b / JDST 405b, Dynamics of Israeli CultureShiri Goren

Controversies in Israeli society as revealed in novels, films, poetry, newspaper articles, Web sites, art, advertisements, and television shows. Themes include migration and the construction of the Sabra character; ethnicity and race; the emergence of the Mizrahi voice; women in Israeli society; private and collective memory; the minority discourse of the Druze and Russian Jews; and Israeli masculinity and queer culture. Conducted in Hebrew. Papers may be written in English or Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR 140 or permission of instructor.  L5, HURP
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* MMES 308b / ER&M 306b / JDST 353b / LITR 308b, Literature at the Limit from Palestine and IsraelHannan Hever

Readings and films from post-1948 Palestine and Israel, with special attention given to historical and political contexts. Consideration of the limit, in the geographical sense of borders and checkpoints, as well as in the existential sense of extremity and trauma.  HU
HTBA

* MMES 312b / JDST 312b / LITR 196b / NELC 323b, Hebrew Poetry in Muslim SpainPeter Cole

Introduction to the Golden Age of Hebrew poetry in Muslim Andalusia from the tenth century through the twelfth. Major figures of the period and the cultural and philosophical questions they confronted. The Judeo-Arabic social context in which the poetry emerged; critical issues pertaining to the study and transmission of this literature. Readings from the works of several poets. Readings in translation. Additional readings in Hebrew available.  HU
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* MMES 327a / NELC 327a, Introduction to the Field of Near Eastern Languages & CivilizationsKevin van Bladel

This half-credit course is a concise introduction to the field of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations and its cognates (Middle Eastern Studies, etc.), focusing on the history and constitution of institutional bases for the study of the Near East, the development of the terms by which it is defined, subfields like Assyriology, Egyptology, and Arabic studies, the debate over Orientalism and its aftermath, the conflation of the Near East with religions and nations, the development of Area Studies, the place of NELC knowledge in higher education and scholarship generally, the public face of Near Eastern studies, and how careers in NELC are made. Priority given to seniors and juniors with majors in the NELC department.  ½ Course cr
F 9:25am-11:15am

* MMES 342a / HIST 232Ja / HUMS 443a / JDST 270a / RLST 201a, Medieval Jews, Christians, and Muslims In ConversationIvan Marcus

How members of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities thought of and interacted with members of the other two cultures during the Middle Ages. Cultural grids and expectations each imposed on the other; the rhetoric of otherness—humans or devils, purity or impurity, and animal imagery; and models of religious community and power in dealing with the other when confronted with cultural differences. Counts toward either European or Middle Eastern distributional credit within the History major, upon application to the director of undergraduate studies.  WR, HU
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* MMES 382a / ARCH 380a / HSAR 437a, The Global MuseumKishwar Rizvi

When the Carters (Jay-Z and Beyonce) chose the Louvre Paris as the backdrop to their 2018 hit single, they were tapping into the cultural capital of the museum.  Like its counterparts across the world, the Louvre has evolved from a princely collection to a national symbol and, today, to a global brand, with a franchise in Abu Dhabi which opened in 2017.  This seminar analyzes how museums are utilized for a variety purposes, from the local to the transnational, and the relationship between their architectural design and their economic, social and urban impact.  The class meets with curators and designers and takes a field trip to the Smithsonian museums in Washington, DC.  WR, HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

MMES 391a / RLST 287a, Islamic Theology and PhilosophyStaff

Historical survey of major themes in Muslim theology and philosophy, from teachings of the Qur'an up to the end of the per-modern period around 1800. The systematic character of Muslim thought and of the arguments given by thinkers; reason vs. revelation; the emergence of Sunnism and Shi'ism; falsafa, Sufism and Illuminationism as well as post-classical thought.  HU0 Course cr
HTBA

* MMES 400a / AFST 497a / ANTH 497a / ER&M 447a, Migration and Transnationalism in the Muslim WorldLeslie Gross-Wyrtzen

This seminar is an introduction in three respects: first, it provides an overview of the various experiences of mobility (and immobility) studied by ethnographers of migration and the issues or questions that emerge from these studies. Second, the course explores multiple geographies and imagined communities categorized as “Muslim” to understand how movement continually shapes not only these geographies and communities but also those labeled “non-Muslim.” Finally, this course represents a diverse range of methodological approaches, quandaries, and concerns that “doing migration ethnography” engenders, especially grappling with questions of anthropology and geography’s entanglements with colonialism and white supremacy. Through these studies, we explore how identities are formed and reformed, how citizenship is performed or denied, how spaces are made and struggled over, how people get stuck or cut loose, and how home is lost and remade. Fundamental to these explorations are questions of identity and belonging expressed through registers of race, religion, and gender.  SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* MMES 402b / AFST 443b / FREN 442b / LITR 484b, Decolonizing Memory : Africa & the Politics of TestimonyJill Jarvis

This seminar explores the politics and poetics of memory in a time of unfinished decolonization. It also provides students with a working introduction to anticolonial, postcolonial, and decolonial critique. Together we bring key works on the topics of state violence, trauma, and testimony into contact with literary works and films by artists of the former French and British empires in Africa. Reading literary and theoretical works together permits us to investigate archival silences and begin to chart a future for the critical study of colonial violence and its enduring effects. Literary readings may include works by Djebar, Rahmani, Ouologuem, Sebbar, Diop, Head, Krog. Films by Djebar, Leuvrey, Sembène, and Sissako. Theoretical readings may include works by Arendt, Azoulay, Césaire, Derrida, Fanon, Mbembe, Ngũgĩ, Spivak, and Trouillot.  WR, HU0 Course cr
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* MMES 418a / JDST 339a / LITR 418a / RLST 203a, The Classics of Modern Hebrew LiteratureHannan Hever

Overview of the Poetics, Culture, History, and Political dynamics of Modern Hebrew Literature as national literature over the last 300 years. The course traces the literary development of its diasporic condition in Europe through the Hebrew Literature that is created in the Israeli Jewish sovereignty. The course is taught in Hebrew and the readings of literary texts are also in Hebrew. No background in Jewish literature, Hebrew literature, or Jewish culture is required.  HU
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

* MMES 430a / ANTH 441a / WGSS 430a, Gender and Citizenship in the Middle EastEda Pepi

This seminar explores the gendered and ethnic-based social processes and forms of power that citizenship, statelessness, and migration crises fuel, and are fueled by, in the Middle East and North Africa. The history of gender and citizenship in the region is imbricated in ethnosexual and orientalist colonial legacies that articulate a racialized problematic of “modernity.” Part of these legacies involve obscuring the role that women, sexual minorities, and gender, more broadly, have played in framing citizenship and statehood in the Middle East in global, regional, and local imaginations not only as border policing and legal doctrine, but as signifier—and reifier—of culture, race, and ethnicity. By examining the gendered and sexual dimensions of war, conflict, and partition, and the formation of modern citizenship in the Middle East, the seminar presents ethnographic, historical, literary and visual scholarship that theorizes the role of kinship and citizenship in gendered and racialized narratives of the nation and political sovereignty.  SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* MMES 447b / ANTH 447b, Culture and Politics in the Contemporary Middle EastMarcia Inhorn

In the decade since the 2011 Arab uprisings, the challenges facing the Middle East have been profound. They include various forms of war and displacement, political and economic instability, social upheaval and societal rupture. Indeed, by 2015, millions of Middle Eastern men, women, and children had been driven from their homes by conflict. This advanced undergraduate/graduate seminar is designed to explore some of the most important contemporary cultural and political shifts that are shaping life across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The course aims for broad regional coverage, with particular focus on a variety of important Middle Eastern nation-states (e.g., Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran). Students should emerge from the course with a keener sense of Middle Eastern regional histories and contemporary social issues, as described by a new generation of leading scholars in the field of Middle East Studies and particularly Middle East Anthropology. This course is thus designed for students in Anthropology, Modern Middle East Studies, and Global Affairs, but also from the disciplines of Sociology, History, Political Science, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and the like. The course is also intended for students in the CMES Graduate Certificate Program.  SO
M 3:30pm-5:20pm