Concurrent with the Middle East’s growing role in international politics, student interest in that part of the world has been expanding. In response to both, the faculty approved an interdisciplinary program and minor in Middle East and Islamic World Studies at its May 1 meeting.
In the last few years, enrollments have increased in most courses related to this subject area, including those in language, literature, history and government. A fifth term of Arabic was added in 2010 due to student demand; History of the Modern Middle East has seen a steady trend of upward growth; and interest in Introduction to Arabic Literature was so great that a second session was added this semester. Current faculty members have the research interests and offer the courses necessary to establish a minor that addresses a broad range of related subjects.
Members of the faculty involved in the planning of this program included Visiting Instructor of Critical Languages Mireille G. Koukjian, Professor of History Shoshana Keller, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature Anjela María Mescall, Professor of Economics Erol Balkan, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Abishek Amar and Edward Walker, the Christian A. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Global Political Theory.
An interdisciplinary minor, Middle East and Islamic World Studies consists of five courses from each of three divisions: language and literature (Arabic or Hebrew); social sciences (government, history, economics, and anthropology); and religious studies (Islam or Judaism).