Permanent Undergraduate Courses

Please check Language Courses for more detail

Arabic 101,102* Elementary Arabic Fall, Spring

In this course, students are trained, through the use of an audio/visual method, to speak, understand, read and write modern standard Arabic, the form of Arabic shared by all Arab countries. Classroom time is devoted to conversation (skits and discussions) and grammar exercises (including skim-reading tasks) stemming from the video material. Consistent emphasis is placed on authentic materials that derive from the living cultural context. Five classes; language laboratory required. Staff

Arabic 105, 107* Intermediate Arabic Fall, Spring

In this continuation of first-year Arabic, students receive additional speaking and listening practice and attain greater reading and writing proficiency through the study of more elaborate grammar structures and the reading of more sophisticated texts. Five classes; language laboratory required. Staff

Arabic 301, 302 Advanced Arabic Fall, Spring

Readings from modern Arabic works; systematic study of syntax; speaking and composition. Two 90 minute classes, two periods of drill. Staff

Arabic 305 Colloquial Arabic Fall

An introduction to a specific spoken dialect of the Arabic language. This course currently focuses on the Arabic dialects used in the Levant, especially Palestinian and Lebanese dialects. The material of the course is designed to promote functional usage of the language stressing vocabulary and grammar in conversation of everyday life. Four hours. Staff

Arabic 401 Advanced Arabic Skills Workshop

This course develops to a more advanced and natural level the linguistic skills of listening, speaking, and reading through the reading and class discussion of lengthy texts, primarily literary ones. Term papers written in Arabic provide the opportunity to improve composition, and aural comprehension is honed through the use of tapes of Arabic broadcasts, and through viewing films from various parts of the Arab world. Prerequisite: 302 or instructor's permission. Two 90-minute classes. Staff

Hebrew 101, 102* Elementary Hebrew Fall, Spring

Development of the basic skills of reading, speaking, aural comprehension, and writing. Essential vocabulary and grammar are presented in the textbook and workbook. A Hebrew newspaper for beginners is introduced in the second semester. Hebrew is progressively employed as the classroom language. Five classes. P. Zhakevich

Hebrew 105, 107* Intermediate Hebrew Fall, Spring

Reinforcement and expansion of reading, oral, aural, and writing skills through maximum student participation, exclusive use of Hebrew in the classroom, and coverage of remainder of basic grammar. Readings of graded selections from prose, poetry, and newspapers, and viewing and discussion of Israeli films and television programs open a window on Israel and its culture. Five classes. P. Zhakevich

Hebrew 301, 302 Advanced Hebrew Fall, Spring

This course develops an advanced, active command of the written and spoken language through reading of essays, short stories, and poems, through extensive practice in conversation, and through the viewing and discussion of Israeli films. Readings explore issues of Israeli and Jewish identity as reflected, for instance, in Hebrew Holocaust literature. Two 90-minute classes. P. Zhakevich

Hebrew 307 Topics in Biblical Literature in Translation, Spring

This course traces the midrashic career of a biblical story into the medieval period. Students will examine the way in which the ancient translations, extra-canonical texts, Dead Sea texts, rabbinic literature, and early medieval Jewish exegesis responded to both textual and extra-textual stimuli so as to create a rich and polyphonic tradition of interpretation. The course also explores the theory and practice of the midrashic method of interpretation. One three-hour seminar. Staff

Persian 101, 102* Elementary Persian Fall, Spring

A practical introduction to the language that stresses active mastery of the language of contemporary Iran. A wide variety of drills and exercises lead to comfortable fluency in most everyday situations. Five classes, language laboratory. A. Mahallati

Persian 105, 107* Intermediate Persian Fall, Spring

An introduction to modern Persian prose and poetry. Reading and discussion of selected works by major contemporary writer. Advanced reading and writing exercises. Students will each choose one text to read in tutorial. Three classes, occasional hours in the language laboratory. A. Mahallati

Persian 301 Introduction to Classical Persian Literature Fall

An introduction to the language of classical Persian literature. Intensive reading and discussion of texts by major poets and writers from Rudaki to Hafez. Texts will vary from year to year. Prerequisite: 107 or instructor's permission. Three classes. Staff

Persian 302 Advanced Persian Reading I Fall

Aimed at developing proficiency in reading and writing modern Persian prose. Material will be drawn from a selection of Persian historical texts from the 19th and 20th centuries. Prerequisites: two years of Persian or permission of instructor. Two 90-minute classes. Staff

Persian 303 Advanced Persian Reading II Spring

Continuation of PER 302. This course is designed to improve the student’s proficiency in the reading and comprehension of Persian texts. The emphasis is on reading, understanding, and translating modern prose. Prerequisite: PER 302 or permission of instructor. Two 90-minute classes. Staff

Turkish 101, 102* Elementary Turkish Fall, Spring

A performance-oriented, multimedia introductory course in modern spoken and written Turkish. Based on authentic input, grammatical properties of the language are introduced, stressing the cultural context. Language skills are developed through communicative activities in class and individualized work with interactive digitized learning aids. Six classes. N. Hatemi

Turkish 105, 107* Intermediate Turkish Fall, Spring

Grammar and syntax. Introduction to modern Turkish literature, with study of representative texts in prose and poetry. Two 90-minute classes, two periods of drill and conversation. N. Hatemi


* Normally students electing a beginner’s course in any language will receive credit only if two terms are completed.



Courses in Literature and Civilization


201w Introduction to the Middle East Fall IV/HA

The course will begin by giving a general survey of the important features of the modern Middle East (location, peoples, languages, religions, major countries, economic wealth, and international relations). It will then move back in time, as it were, to offer a general survey of the past to show how the area has become what it is now. 201: one lecture, two classes. 201w: one lecture, two classes; additional writing requirements. Fulfills University writing requirements. C. Schayegh

202w Introduction to Modern Arabic Literature in Translation Fall III/LA

A survey of the literature of the modern Arab world, starting with the late 19th century and continuing up to within the last five years. Narrative (novel and short story), theater, poetry, as well as (briefly) folk literature will be treated. Works are assigned in English translation, but students who are able to read them in Arabic are welcome to do so. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Offered in alternate years. N. Coffin

203w Introduction to Classical Arabic Literature in Translation Fall III/LA

A survey of classical Arabic literature from the pre-Islamic period to the 15th century. Readings will cover not only belles-lettres (prose and poetry), but also historical, biographical, geographical, allegorical philosophical writings, The Thousand and One Nights , as well as the Qur'an. Works are assigned in English translation, but students who are able to read them in Arabic are welcome to do so. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Offered in alternate years. Staff


205 The Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East and Egypt (see Art and Archaeology 200)


214 Masterworks of Hebrew Literature in Translation Spring III/LA

An introduction to modern Hebrew literature, represented by selected translations from major works of the last hundred years, in prose (Agnon, Almog, Izhar, Kahana-Carmon, Mendele, Oz, and Yehoshua) and in poetry (Alterman, Amichai, Bialik, Rabikovitch, Zach, and others). Two 90-minute classes. Staff

220 Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the Middle Ages (also History 220) Spring IV/HA

An introduction to the history and culture of the Jews in the Middle Ages (under Islam and Christendom) covering, comparatively, such topics as the interrelationship between Judaism and the other two religions, interreligious polemics, political (legal) status, economic role, communal self-government, family life, and cultural developments. Two 90-minute classes. Staff


230 Early Islamic Art and Architecture (see Art and Archaeology 230)


231 Later Islamic Art and Architecture (see Art and Archaeology 231)


232 The arts of the Islamic World (see Art and Archaeology 232)


235 In the Shadow of Swords; Martyrdom and Holy War in Islam (see Religion 235)


236 Introduction to the Religion of Islam (see Religion 236)


240 Muslims and the Qur'an (see Religion 240) Fall EM

A broad-ranging introduction to pre-modern, modern, and contemporary Islam in light of how Muslims have approached their foundational religious text, the Qur’an. Topics include: Muhammad and the emergence of Islam; theology, law, and ethics; war and peace; mysticism; women and gender; and modern debates on Islamic reform. This course examines the varied contexts in which Muslims have interpreted their sacred text, their agreements and disagreements on what it means, and more broadly, their often competing understandings of Islam and of what it is to be a Muslim. Three classes. M. Zaman

245 The Islamic World from Its Emergence to the Beginnings of Westernization (also HIS 245) — HA

Begins with the formation of the traditional Islamic world in the seventh century and ends with the first signs of its transformation under Western impact in the 18th century. The core of the course is the history of state formation in the Middle East, but other regions and themes make significant appearances. The course can stand on its own or serve as background to the study of the modern Islamic world. Two 90-minute classes. M. Cook

265 Political and Economic Development of the Middle East (also POL 268) — Spring SA

Provides a framework for understanding the political and economic issues that both challenge and encourage development in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Students will think creatively about the issues raised by designing a development project aimed at tackling a specific problem in a Middle Eastern country. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Staff

268 Political Islam (also POL 376) — Spring HA

For decades scholars predicted that as nations modernized, religion and its corresponding institutions would become increasingly irrelevant. No phenomenon has discredited the secularization thesis more than the powerful resurgence of Islamist movements that began in the 1970s. Given the rapid social and economic development experienced by most Muslim countries, why has political Islam emerged as the most potent force of political opposition in all of these countries? To address this question, the course examines the origins and discourse of political Islam and the goals and organization of Islamist groups. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Staff

269 The Politics of Modern Islam (also POL 353) — Fall HA

An examination of the political dimensions of Islam, involving a study of the nature of Islamic political theory, the relationship between the religious and political establishments, the characteristics of an Islamic state, the radicalization of Sunni and Shi’i thought, and the compatibility of Islam and the nation-state, democracy, and constitutionalism, among other topics. Students will be introduced to the complex and polemical phenomenon of political Islam, using examples drawn mainly, though not exclusively, from cases and writings from the Middle East. Two lectures, one preceptorial. B. Haykel

300 Seminar in Research Methods

Introduces advanced undergraduates to the basic methods of research and analysis in history and the social sciences as well as to fundamental debates in the field of Near Eastern Studies. Topics addressed include causality, research design, case studies, selection bias, historicism, Orientalism, ethnography, textual analysis, and the ethics of research. Required for junior concentrators.


302 Elementary Biblical Hebrew I (see JDS 302)


311 Elementary Biblical Hebrew II (see JDS 303)


315 War and Politics in the Modern Middle East — Fall SA

Drawing on case studies of Middle Eastern wars, this course examines the changing nature of warfare from the second half of the 20th century through the present day. It begins with Clausewitz’s theory of war and examples of conventional state warfare in the Middle East, then moves on to cases of insurgency and so-called fouth-generation warfare and uses them to test Clausewitz’s ideas and less state-centric alternatives. Two 90-minute classes. M. Reynolds

331 The Ancient Near East Fall IV/HA

A survey of the civilizations of the ancient Near East--Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Phoenicia, Palestine, Asia Minor, and Persia--from earliest times to Alexander the Great, emphasizing political, religious, and cultural developments as they are revealed by archaeological and literary evidence. Special reference is made to Hebrew literature and institutions within the ancient Near Eastern context. Course offered in alternate years. Two 90-minute classes. Staff

334 Mediterranean Islam, 1050-1500 (also History 334) Fall IV/HA

The southern Mediterranean and the Levant from the rise of Islam to the decline of Mamluk rule. Analysis of the impact of Europe's political and economic resurgence in the Mediterranean. Two lectures, one preceptorial. M. Zaman


336 Pilgrimage, Travel, and Sacred Space: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Land of Islam (see Religion 336)


337 International Relations in the Middle East since the First World War Spring IV/SA

The Middle East as a distinctive arena of great power politics. Issues covered: colonial rule after the First World War, Arab-Israeli conflict, pan-Arabism, the cold war in the Middle East, the politics of oil and of international economic organizations. Two 90-minute lectures. Offered in alternate years. Staff

338 The Arab-Israeli Conflict (also JDS 338) — Spring HA

For more than a century, Arabs and Jews have been struggling for control of Palestine. What are the primary causes of this confrontation? Why has a permanent settlement proved elusive? The course surveys the history of the conflict from its origins in the late 19th century to the present, placing primary emphasis on the post-1945 period. Students will focus on international relations and challenge the received wisdom by imbedding Arab-Israeli relations within the complex web of Middle Eastern regional politics, at the same time that they explore the social and cultural dimensions of the subject. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Staff

339 Introduction to Islamic Theology (also Religion 339) — Fall HA

A general survey of the main principles of Islamic doctrine. Focuses on the Muslim theological discourse on the concepts of God and God’s attributes, man and nature, the world to come, revelation and prophethood, diversity of religions, and the possibility and actuality of miracles. One three-hour seminar. H. Modarressi

340 Muslim South Asia (also Religion 338) — Not offered this year HA

Offering a broad overview of the history of Islam in what is now India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, this course examines how Muslim practices, institutions, thought, and politics have been shaped by the peculiarities of the South Asian context as well as by multifaceted interaction with the greater Muslim world. Specific themes and topics will vary from one year to another. One three-hour seminar. M. Zaman

345 Introduction to Islamic Law Spring IV/SA

A survey of the history of Islamic law, its developments, and the attempts of the Muslim jurists to come to terms with the challenges of modern time. The course will focus on the issues of constitutional, public, international, and personal laws that have the greatest relevance to the modern era. One three-hour seminar. H. Modarressi

347 Islamic Family Law — SA

Examines the outlines of Islamic family law in gender issues, sexual ethics, family structure, family planning, marriage and divorce, parenthood, and child guardianship and custody. Provides a general survey of the Islamic legal system: its history and developments, structure and spirit, and the attempts of the Muslim jurists to adapt law to changing times. One three-hour seminar. H. Modarressi

348 Islamic Ritual Laws — SA

Examines the outlines of Islamic ritual law. Starting with a general survey of pre-modern Islamic legal discourse, the course focuses on such issues as Islamic festivals, religious birth and death rituals, the concepts of worship and sacrifice, and various Islamic acts of devotion in matters such as prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and annual pilgrimage to Mecca. One three-hour seminar. H. Modarressi


356 Moses and Jesus in the Islamic Tradition (see Religion 335)


358 From Ataturk to Ozal: A Survey of Contemporary Turkey Spring IV/HA

An examination of changes currently affecting the Republic of Turkey, including internal and external problems precipitated by factors such as rapid urbanization, growing ethnic conscience, and regional instability. Two 90-minute classes. Staff

363 Islamic Social and Political Movements (also Anthropology 363) Fall II/SA

An introduction to the vast number of Islam-inspired socio-political movements. An attempt is made to present the contemporary movements in the light of the Islamic tradition of rebellion and revolution. Islamic movements will be surveyed against the historical and social context in which they occurred, with emphasis on the Arab World and Iran. Questions will be raised about the ways in which these movements have been approached and interpreted. Two 90-minute classes. Staff

365 Modern Iran IV/HA

A general introduction to Iran in the period from the establishment of the Qajar dynasty in the late 18th century to the present day. Particular emphasis will be given to the social and cultured development of Iran under the stimulus of its contacts with the West. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Offered in alternate years. Staff

416 Nation, State, and Empire: The Ottoman, Romanov, and Hapsburg Experiences (also History 434) — HA

An exercise in comparative history and the application of theoretical constructs to historical events. Examines a range of theories of nationalism, state, and empire; applies them to the historical records of three multi-ethnic dynastic empires—the Ottoman, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian; explores the ways in which theories can both elucidate and obscure historical processes. Questions of the nature of empire, the rise of nationalism, and the processes of imperial collapse, among others, will be explored. One three-hour seminar. M. Reynolds


428 The Representation of Faith and Power: Islamic Architecture in its Context (see Art and Archaeology 430)


433 The Near East and the Eastern Question since 1815 (also History 433) IV/HA

The major Near Eastern diplomatic crises and the main developments in internal Near Eastern history. The focus will be upon the possible connections between diplomatic crises and the process of modernization. One three-hour seminar. Offered in alternate years. M. Ş. Hanioğlu

435 Islamic Civilization in Africa before 1750 (also History 435) Fall IV/HA

The cultivators of Islam, the evolution of Islamic institutions, and the growing Arabic literature in North and Northwest Africa (especially Morocco and Mauretania), West Africa (especially Senegal, Guinea, Mali and Nigeria), East Africa (especially Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, and Somalia). Two 90-minute classes. Prerequisite: one of the following: 201, 333, 334, 335, or instructor's permission. M. Zaman

437 The Ottoman Empire, 1300 -1800 (also History 337) Fall IV/HA

An analysis of political, economic, and social institutions with emphasis on the problems of continuity and change, the factors allowing for and limiting Ottoman expansion, and Ottoman awareness of Europe. Two 90-minute classes. Offered in alternate years. Staff

438 The Ottoman Empire, 1800 -1923 Spring IV/HA

An examination of the westernization movement; administrative reforms; Young Ottoman, Young Turk, and ethnic-nationalist movements; great diplomatic crises of the 19th and 20th centuries; emergence of modern Turkish republic; and the consequences of the Ottoman collapse. Two 90-minute classes. Offered in alternate years. M. Ş. Hanioğlu

466 Special Topics in Public Affairs (see SPI 466)



Graduate Courses

The following graduate courses are frequently elected by undergraduates with appropriate linguistic qualifications:

NES 502 Introduction to the Islamic Scholarly Tradition
NES 504 Introduction to Ottoman Turkish
NES 505 Readings in Ottoman Turkish
NES 506 Ottoman Diplomatics: Paleography and Diplomatic Documents
NES 508 Readings in Medieval Hebrew Literature
NES 509 Readings in Modern Hebrew Literature
NES 521, 522 Readings in Classical Arab Historians and Biographers
NES 523 Readings in Judeo-Arabic
NES 529 Readings in Modern Arabic Literature
NES 531, 532 Readings in Classical Arabic Literature
NES 539, 540 Studies in Persian Literature
NES 553 Islamic Religion and Thought

For other courses available, please see Graduate Courses.