Modern Middle East Studies
FACULTY ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROGRAM OF MODERN MIDDLE EAST STUDIES
Professors Abbas Amanat (History), Gerhard Böwering (Religious Studies), John Darnell (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations), Stephen Davis (Religious Studies), Steven Fraade (Religious Studies), Eckart Frahm (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations), Frank Griffel (Religious Studies), Dimitri Gutas (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations), Christine Hayes (Religious Studies), Hannan Hever (Comparative Literature), Marcia Inhorn (Anthropology), Anthony Kronman (Law School), Bentley Layton (Religious Studies), Ellen Lust (Political Science), Joseph Manning (Classics, History), Ivan Marcus (History), Alan Mikhail (History), Robert Nelson (History of Art), W. Michael Reisman (Law School), Maurice Samuels (French), Lamin Sanneh (Divinity School), Harvey Weiss (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations)
Associate Professors Zareena Grewal (American Studies), Kaveh Khoshnood (Public Health), Colleen Manassa (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations), Andrew March (Political Science), A. Mushfiq Mobarak (School of Management), Kishwar Rizvi (History of Art), Eliyahu Stern (Religious Studies)
Assistant Professors Rosie Bsheer (History), Robyn Creswell (Comparative Literature), Narges Erami (Anthropology), Adria Lawrence (Political Science), Mark Lazenby (School of Nursing), Jonathan Wyrtzen (Sociology)
Senior Lecturers Geetanjali Singh Chanda (Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Tolga Koker (Economics), Kathryn Slanski (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations)
Lecturers Adel Allouche (History), Karla Britton (Architecture), Karen Foster (History of Art), Eric Van Lit (Council on Middle East Studies)
Senior Lector II Ayala Dvoretzky
Senior Lectors Sarab al-Ani, Muhammad Aziz, Aaron Butts, Youness Elbousty, Shiri Goren, Dina Roginsky, Farkhondeh Shayesteh
Lector Etem Erol
The Modern Middle East Studies major focuses on the culture, history, religion, politics, and society of the modern Middle East in its full geographical breadth, using any of its four major languages, Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. Courses are selected from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and from other departments in the humanities and social sciences, including Anthropology, History, History of Art, Judaic Studies, Political Science, and Religious Studies. The Modern Middle East Studies major gives students the language skills necessary to understand complex issues of the Middle East and serves as excellent preparation for graduate study or for business and professional careers in which an understanding of that region is essential.
Prerequisites There are no prerequisites, but prospective majors should keep the language requirement in mind while planning their course schedules (see below).
Requirements of the major Twelve term courses are required for the major, including three foundational courses, one each in modern thought, classical thought, and the modern Middle East. Six electives on the modern Middle East examine culture and thought, history, religion, politics, and society. Elective courses must be spread geographically and substantively; they must focus on at least two different subregions and originate in at least two different departments. The proposed course of study requires the approval of the director of undergraduate studies.
Language requirement All students are required to complete two courses at the L5 level in a Middle Eastern language. The two courses may be applied toward the twelve-course major requirement. Typical courses include ARBC 150, 151, and PERS 150.
Senior requirement Students in the major undertake a one- or two-term senior essay that involves use of materials in one or more modern Middle Eastern languages. The student selects a faculty adviser with competence in an appropriate language. A prospectus and outline signed by the adviser must be submitted to the director of undergraduate studies by the end of the fourth week of classes in either term of the senior year. Senior essays are graded by the adviser and a second reader. See the course descriptions of the senior essay courses (MMES 491, 492, 493) for additional information. Alternatively, majors may take an additional seminar and write an essay in that course to fulfill the senior requirement.
REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR
Number of courses 12 term courses
Distribution of courses 3 foundational courses, 1 each in modern thought, classical thought, and the modern Middle East; 6 electives spread geographically and substantively, focusing on at least 2 subregions and from at least 2 depts
Language requirement 2 courses at L5 level in a Middle Eastern lang
* MMES 309b / ARCH 349b, City Making on the Arabian Peninsula Staff
Global discussions about the purposes of cities, with a focus on large-scale urban transformations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, and other locales on the Arabian Peninsula. Major social debates that have dominated recent press coverage of these cities. Historical and cultural contexts of the cities' current urban ambitions. Readings and sources include newspaper journalism, thriller fiction, urban ethnography, cinema, and architectural criticism. Previous course work in urban studies and Middle Eastern studies helpful but not required.
MMES 290a / PLSC 435a / RLST 290a, Islam Today: Jihad and Fundamentalism Frank Griffel
Introduction to modern Islam, including some historical background. Case studies of important countries in the contemporary Muslim world, such as Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Islam as a reactive force to Western colonialism; the ideals of Shari'a and jihad; violence and self-sacrifice; and Islam as a political ideology.
MMES 192a / RLST 170a, The Religion of Islam Gerhard Böwering
The rise of Islam in Arabia; Muhammad and the Qur'an; Muslim tradition and religious law; crucial issues of Islamic philosophy and theology; basic beliefs and practices of the Muslim community; Sufism and Shi'ism; religious institutions and modern trends; fundamentalism and violence; freedom and democracy.
* MMES 342a / HIST 232Ja / HUMS 443a / JDST 270a / RLST 201a, Medieval Jews, Christians, and Muslims In Conversation Ivan 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 RP
The Modern Middle East
* MMES 181b / AFST 389b / GLBL 186b / PLSC 389b, Middle East Exceptionalism Adria Lawrence
The Middle East and North Africa in comparative perspective. Evaluation of claims that the region's states are exceptionally violent, authoritarian, or religious. Themes include gender, Islam, nation and state formation, oil wealth, terrorism, and war.
* MMES 343a / EP&E 273a / RLST 291a / SOCY 343a, Sociology of Islam Jonathan Wyrtzen
Social scientific studies of Islam; introduction to sociology of religion and its application to Islam; the utility of "Islam" and "Muslim" as analytical categories; debates about definitions of Islam and religion in anthropology and religious studies; comparative sociological studies both within Islam and contrasting Islam with other religions.
MMES 128a / ARCH 158a / HSAR 118a / SAST 268a, Introduction to the History of Art: The Arts of Islam Kishwar Rizvi
Survey of Islamic art and architecture in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia from the seventh century to the present. Individual monuments, artworks, and historical cities examined within their artistic and historical contexts. Architecture and urbanism, manuscript painting and portraiture, and the arts of calligraphy and ceramics. Includes visits to the Yale University Art Gallery.
MMES 148b / HIST 345b / JDST 265b / RLST 202b, Jews in Muslim Lands from the Seventh to the Sixteenth Centuries Ivan Marcus
Jewish culture and society in Muslim lands from the Prophet Muhammad to 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.
MMES 149a / ER&M 219a / HIST 219a / JDST 200a / RLST 148a, Jewish History and Thought to Early Modern Times Ivan 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.
* MMES 150b / HEBR 150b / JDST 213b, Advanced Modern Hebrew: Israeli Society Shiri Goren
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. Conducted in Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR 140 or equivalent.
* MMES 155a / HEBR 160a / JDST 360a, Hebrew in a Changing World Dina Roginsky
Sociological aspects of Modern Hebrew as the language is used in Israel to construct norms, expectations, and daily experiences. Readings and class discussions address changes in Israeli society and culture at large. Prerequisite: HEBR 140.
* MMES 159a / HEBR 159a / JDST 409a, Conversational Hebrew: Israeli Media Shiri 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.
MMES 160a / JDST 323a / NELC 155a, State and Society in Israel Dina Roginsky
The interplay between the state and society in Israel. Current Israeli discourse on controversial issues such as civil rights in a Jewish-democratic state, Jewish-Arab relations, and right and left politics. Issues of orthodoxy, military service, globalization, and multiculturalism in Israel. Sociopolitical changes that have taken place in Israel since the establishment of the state in 1948 and that have led to the reshaping of Israeli Zionist ideology.
* MMES 164a / LITR 473a, Politics and Literature in the Middle East Robyn Creswell
The relation between politics and literature in the Middle East explored through modern fiction and poetry from the region. Focus on the historical and political contexts of the works. Meanings of modernity; tensions between literary tradition and innovation; the role of nationalism and other political ideologies; the importance of satire; figures of gender.
* MMES 168b / HEBR 158b / JDST 305b, Contemporary Israeli Society in Film Shiri 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. Prerequisite: HEBR 140 or permission of instructor.
L5, HU RP
* MMES 169a / LITR 472a, Art and Revolution in Cuba, Algeria, and Palestine Robyn Creswell
The relation of artistic practices to political upheaval. Ways in which moments of political crisis create new possibilities for art; the compatibility of political and artistic revolutions. Case studies include the Cuban revolution, the Algerian revolution, and the ongoing conflict in Israel and Palestine.
* MMES 172b / HIST 384Jb / NELC 403b, The Middle East between Crusaders and Mongols Adel Allouche
The impact of the Crusades and the Mongol conquests on the Islamic Middle East. Political, social, and economic changes in the region from the eleventh century to the middle of the fourteenth. Emphasis on the rise of new dynasties as a result of changes in the ethnic mosaic of the Middle East.
* MMES 173b / HIST 398Jb / NELC 404b, Mamluk Egypt Adel Allouche
A study of the Mamluks, manumitted slaves initially imported to Egypt for military service who established their own rule over Egypt and Syria (1250–1517). Focus on the structure and workings of the Mamluk state. Military, political, economic, and social factors that contributed to the grandeur and, later, the decline of the Mamluk period in Egypt and its conquest by the Ottoman Turks.
MMES 175a / HIST 350a / NELC 350a, Formation of the Islamic State, 610 –750 Adel Allouche
The development of Islamic polity and society from the rise of Islam to the rise of the Abbasid dynasty. Religious and societal changes caused by the success of Muhammad's mission; ramifications of the subsequent Arab expansion at the expense of the Byzantine and Sasanian empires. The origins of Islamic institutions; the historical development of the main religious sects and of Islamic legal thought; Western views of Islam.
MMES 197a / HIST 216a / JDST 332a / RLST 193a, Zionism Eliyahu Stern
Introduction to the core ideas of the Zionist movement from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth. Focus on internal Jewish debates and criticism of the movement by European and Middle Eastern intellectuals. Social, political, cultural, and messianic ideological strands within the movement and their interpretations of various historical experiences and ideas located in the Jewish tradition.
* MMES 282b / AFST 373b / GLBL 362b / SOCY 339b, Imperialism, Insurgency, and State Building in the Middle East and North Africa Jonathan Wyrtzen
The historical evolution of political order from Morocco to Central Asia in the past two centuries. Focus on relationships between imperialism, insurgency, and state building. Ottoman, European, and nationalist strategies for state building; modes of local resistance; recent transnational developments; American counterinsurgency and nation-building initiatives in the region.
* MMES 291b / AFST 348b / SOCY 232b, Islamic Social Movements Jonathan Wyrtzen
Social movement and network theory used to analyze the emergence and evolution of Islamic movements from the early twentieth century to the present. Organization, mobilization, and framing of political, nonpolitical, militant, and nonmilitant movements; transnational dimensions of Islamic activism. Case studies include the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hizbollah, Al-Qaeda, Al-Adl wa-Ihsann, and Tablighi Jama'at.
* MMES 293b / HUMS 417b / RLST 199b, Sufism and Ethics in the Writings of al-Ghazali Lambertus van Lit
Close reading of selections from al-Ghazali's works on Sufism, the mystical tradition in Islam, with a focus on his Revival of the Religious Sciences. Ways in which Sufism can be lived in the daily lives of Muslims; its relations with philosophy and theology; the role of Sufism in creating a Muslim ethic.
* MMES 311a / ER&M 327a / WGSS 327a, Constructing the Self: From Autobiography to Facebook Geetanjali Chanda
Autobiography in its evolving form as literary genre, historical archive, and individual and community narrative in a changing geographical context. Women's life stories from Afghanistan, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, and Vietnam illustrate the dialectic relationship between the global and the local. What the reading and writing of autobiographies reveal about oneself and one's place in society; autobiography as a horizontal community formation.
MMES 337b / HIST 337b / MGRK 301b, The Mediterranean from Crusades to Napoleon Francesca Trivellato and Alan Mikhail
Introduction to the history of Europe and the Islamic world as they interacted in the Mediterranean from the era of the Crusades to Napoleon's conquest of Egypt. Topics include city states and empires, religious conflict and coexistence, commerce, gender, military history, the arts, travel, piracy, and orientalism. Ways in which the study of the Mediterranean has shaped knowledge about the medieval, early modern, and modern worlds.
* MMES 340b / HIST 348Jb, Citizenship in Iran and Afghanistan Abbas Amanat and Staff
Concepts of citizenship and national identity in Iran and Afghanistan in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; how subjects became citizens. Focus on women and gender, ethnic communities and non-Muslim minorities, social and legal reforms, and human rights violations.
* MMES 412a / ANTH 431a, Anthropology of Handmade Commodities Narges Erami
The art of making things, with a focus on the recent popularity of handcrafted goods from around the world. Theories on modernity and technology, movement and action, and aesthetics. The practice of making Persian carpets, including their history, color and design, and relation to Islamic art.
* MMES 419b / PLSC 419b, Arab Revolts, Revolution, and Reform Ellen Lust
The uprisings, transitions, and reforms that have taken place in the Arab world since 2010. Focus on underlying causes, dynamics, and outcomes, considering variations in popular pressures for change and in regime responses. How the experience in the Arab world challenges or provides confirmatory evidence to theories of change based on other regions.
* MMES 425b / CLCV 425b / HUMS 430b / NELC 426b, The Classical Tradition Geoffrey Moseley and Emily Hauser
A survey of the rich afterlife of classical antiquity in both Eastern and Western traditions. Ways in which the literature, art, science, philosophy, and culture of the ancient world have been transmitted to modern times. Readings include works by Homer, Vergil, Chaucer, and Shakespeare; selections from the Koran and the Arabian Nights; and contemporary novels.
* MMES 442a / HIST 347Ja, From the Great Game to the Great Satan: Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asia in the Age of Empires Abbas Amanat
Encounters of Iran and its neighbors with Britain, Russia, and the United States since the nineteenth century. Special attention to Western imperial interests in the region and to indigenous forms of resistance to imperial hegemony. Topics include travel, diplomacy, war and hegemony, postcolonial sovereignty, the Cold War and regional power, and the Islamic Republic's demonizing of America.
* MMES 465a or b / ARBC 165a or b, Arabic Seminar Dimitri Gutas
Study and interpretation of classical Arabic texts for advanced students. Prerequisite: ARBC 146, 151, or permission of instructor. May be repeated for credit.
Directed Study and Senior Essay Courses
* MMES 471a and MMES 472b, Independent Directed Study Andrew March
Independent research or directed reading under the direction of a faculty member in the program on a special topic in Modern Middle East Studies not substantially covered by an existing undergraduate or graduate course. A proposal describing the nature of the program and the readings to be covered must be signed by the adviser and submitted to the director of undergraduate studies by the end of the second week of classes. The student should meet with the adviser regularly, typically for an hour a week, and write one term essay or several short essays.
* MMES 491a or b, Senior Essay Andrew March
The one-term senior essay is a research paper of at least thirty pages prepared under the supervision of a faculty member in accordance with the following schedule: (1) by the end of the second week of classes of the term, students meet with advisers to discuss the essay's topic, approach, sources, and bibliography; (2) by the end of the fourth week of classes a prospectus with outline, including an annotated bibliography of materials in one or more modern Middle Eastern languages and of secondary sources, is signed by the adviser and submitted to the director of undergraduate studies. The prospectus should indicate the formal title, scope, and focus of the essay, as well as the proposed research method, including detailed indications of the nature and extent of materials in a modern Middle Eastern language that will be used; (3) at the end of the tenth week of classes, a rough draft of the complete essay is submitted to the adviser; (4) by 4 p.m. on the last day of reading period, two copies of the finished paper must be submitted to the MMES registrar, 115 Prospect St., room 344. A late essay will receive a lower grade. Senior essays are graded by faculty associated with the Modern Middle East Studies program unless, for exceptional reasons, different arrangements for another reader have been made in advance with the director of undergraduate studies and the faculty adviser.
MMES 492a and MMES 493b, The Yearlong Senior Essay Andrew March
The yearlong senior essay is a research paper of at least sixty pages prepared under the supervision of a faculty member in accordance with the following schedule: (1) by the end of the second week of classes of the first term, students meet with advisers to discuss the essay's topic, approach, sources, and bibliography; (2) by the end of the fourth week of classes a prospectus with outline, including an annotated bibliography of materials in one or more modern Middle Eastern languages and of secondary sources, is signed by the adviser and submitted to the director of undergraduate studies. The prospectus should indicate the formal title, scope, and focus of the essay, as well as the proposed research method, including detailed indications of the nature and extent of materials in a modern Middle Eastern language that will be used; (3) at the end of February, a rough draft of the complete essay is submitted to the adviser; (4) by 4 p.m. on the last day of reading period in the spring term, two copies of the finished paper must be submitted to the MMES registrar, 115 Prospect St., room 344. A late essay will receive a lower grade. Senior essays are graded by faculty associated with the Modern Middle East Studies program unless, for exceptional reasons, different arrangements for another reader have been made in advance with the director of undergraduate studies and the faculty adviser. Credit for MMES 492 only on completion of MMES 493.