Courses

Undergraduate Courses - Spring 2022

Near Eastern Studies

Spring 2022
Postcolonialism: Theories and Critiques
Subject associations
ANT 434 / NES 434
Subaltern Studies and Postcolonial Studies showed how critiques of capitalism were based on a provincial account of western history. Postcolonial studies was based on analysis of places that were directly colonized, usually India. What are the essential elements of postcolonial theory? What are the grounds of its many critiques and what are implications for our own research problems? Readings will draw on social theory, political economy, postcolonial studies, novels, history of the Middle East, and ethnography and are appropriate for students of any region or discipline.
Instructors
Julia Elyachar
Spring 2022
The Foundations of Civilization: the Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Middle East
Subject associations
ART 296 / CLA 296 / NES 296
While most people are familiar with the modern Middle East, few understand the deep history of the region. This geographically diverse area rich with resources engendered civilization as we conceive it, being home to the earliest domesticated agriculture, oldest monumental art and architecture, first cities, first political and economic systems, and the first examples of writing in human history. In this course we will examine objects, architecture, and archaeological sites from across this region from roughly 8,000-400 BCE, considering the nature of civilization and the enduring influence of these earliest societies.
Instructors
Deborah Vischak
Spring 2022
Egypt in the Pyramid Age
Subject associations
ART 340 / NES 352 / AFS 340
Around 3000 BCE, the first state in history was formed in the northeastern part of Africa, from the Delta to the first cataract of the Nile. With it came the invention of writing, new ideologies, and monumental forms of art and architecture. In this course we will consider ancient Egyptian material, visual, and textual culture from this early phase (c. 3500-2150 BCE). With a focus on recent fieldwork done across the country, we will consider how the state was formed, the challenges it faced, the way members of the community variously functioned within it, and how it adapted and eventually disintegrated after a long period of stability.
Instructors
Deborah Vischak
Spring 2022
Sensory Spaces, Tactile Objects: The Senses in Art And Architecture
Subject associations
ART 403 / NES 403 / ARC 402 / HLS 404
This course examines the role of the senses in art and architecture to move beyond conceptions of art history that prioritize vision. While the experience of art is often framed in terms of seeing, the other senses were crucially involved in the creation of buildings and objects. Textiles and ceramic vessels invite touch, gardens involve the smell of flowers, sacred spaces were built to amplify the sound of prayers and chants. The focus will be on the medieval and early modern Mediterranean. Readings will range from medieval poetry and multisensory art histories to contemporary discussions of the senses in design and anthropology.
Instructors
Patricia Blessing
Spring 2022
Kings and Tyrants: Greece and the Near East, ca. 1000-450 BCE
Subject associations
CLA 318 / HUM 318 / NES 318 / HLS 342
This course compares ideologies and practices of monarchic rule across Greece and the Near East. We will investigate how monarchs established their rule, how they faced opposition, and which strategies they adopted to legitimize their power. We will ask what makes a monarch a "tyrant" rather than a "king" and why monarchy turned out to be disgraceful for the Greeks compared to their neighbors. We will read texts produced by royal courts as well as compositions which sketch the profile of the "ideal monarch". We will also look at monuments which monarchs erected during their reigns and investigate their historical and political significance.
Instructors
Marco Santini
Spring 2022
Akkadian
Subject associations
CLA 405 / NES 405
This course offers an introduction to Akkadian, the language of ancient Babylon. The first half of the course introduces students to the basic concepts of Akkadian (old Babylonian) grammar and the cuneiform script. In the second half students consolidate their knowledge of the language by reading selections from classic Babylonian texts, such as the famous law code of King Hammurabi and the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Instructors
Johannes Haubold
Spring 2022
Modern Hebrew Literature: A Historical Introduction
Subject associations
COM 427 / JDS 427 / NES 429
This course follows the development of modern Hebrew prose in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. How was Hebrew refashioned from a liturgical to a modern literary language capable of narrating novels and conveying contemporary dialogue? Who were the revolutionary writers who accomplished this feat and what ideological struggles accompanied it? We will begin with the haskala (Jewish enlightenment), continue with the tehiya (revival) and early writing in the yishuv (Jewish community in pre-State Palestine), and conclude with dor ha-medina (the "independence generation") and maturation of modern Hebrew. Reading knowledge of Hebrew required.
Instructors
Lital Levy
Spring 2022
Arabian Nights
Subject associations
NES 208 / COM 251
The Arabian Nights (The 1001 Nights) is a masterpiece of world literature. However, its reception and popularity are fraught with challenges and problems. By tracing its journey from its Persian origins, through its Arabic adaptations, and finally its entry into Europe, this class will consider how the Nights were used to construct imaginings about the Self and the Other in these different contexts. We will cover topics such as orientalism, gender and sexuality, and narrative theory as they relate to the Nights' most famous story cycles and look at the influence of the Nights on modern authors and filmmakers. All readings will be in English.
Instructors
Lara Harb
Spring 2022
The Idea of Iran: History, Memory, and the Making of a Cultural Identity
Subject associations
NES 212
Course introduces the history of the Iranian world through the lens of historical memory. Study primary sources from the ancient, medieval, and modern periods as they think critically about the notion of "Iranian civilization." Themes range from geography and ethnicity to art and poetry to kingship and revolution. Gain hands-on experience working with archival and visual material through class trips to libraries and museums in and around Princeton. Approaches to large-scale problems in the study of history will be introduced, and by the end of the course, students will gain insight into the relevance of Iranian history in the present.
Instructors
Daniel Sheffield
Spring 2022
Global Trade before the Modern Period
Subject associations
NES 316 / HIS 311 / HLS 371
To what extent is globalization a new phenomenon? This seminar considers the flow of people (free and enslaved), commodities, and manufactured goods across Europe, Africa and Asia, with a focus on the human and qualitative dimensions. We will touch on the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean basin, the overland Silk Roads and the Atlantic world; the time-span ranges from the ancient Greeks to the eighteenth century; among the trading diasporas we will consider are Jews and Armenians. Readings include classic and newer studies as well as merchant correspondence and sailors' logs.
Instructors
Marina Rustow
Spring 2022
Civil War and State Transformation in the Modern Middle East
Subject associations
NES 330 / POL 460
This course will discuss how civil war has transformed the states and societies of the modern Middle East and North Africa. Drawing on rich historical literature, theoretical perspectives, and empirical analysis, the course will give students an understanding of the context in which civil wars occur, the forms of order that emerge when states break down, and the long-term consequences of violence and its aftermath.
Instructors
Christiana Parreira
Spring 2022
Introduction to Islamic Theology
Subject associations
NES 339 / REL 339
This course is a general survey of the main principles of Islamic doctrine. It focuses on the Muslim theological discourse on the concepts of God and His attributes, man and nature, the world to come, revelation and prophethood, diversity of religions, and the possibility and actuality of miracles.
Instructors
Hossein Modarressi
Spring 2022
Oil, Energy and The Middle East
Subject associations
NES 366 / ENE 364 / ENV 366
Overview of the issues surrounding global energy supplies, oil's unique physical and economic properties, and its role in shaping the political economy of the Middle East and U.S. strategic interests in the region. Discuss availability of energy sources, the state of technology, the functioning of energy markets, the challenges of coping with global climate change and the key role of the oil reserves in the Middle East. Then focus on the history of oil in the Middle East and its impact on societies in the region.
Instructors
Bernard Haykel
Asher Orkaby
Spring 2022
Wonder and Discovery in Classical Arabic Literature
Subject associations
NES 370 / COM 459 / MED 370
It is due to wonder, Aristotle tells us, that man began to philosophize. In the premodern Islamic world, wonder was also an experience linked with the pursuit of knowledge and discovery. It defined a spiritual attitude, an aesthetic outlook, and the encounter with strange and unknown worlds. We will explore the manifestations of wonder in medieval Arabic culture through reading travel narratives, medieval Arabic texts on the marvels of the world, fables, fantastic tales, poetry, and the Quran. We will also study medieval Arabic theoretical discussions of wonder as a literary effect.
Instructors
Lara Harb
Spring 2022
Everyday Writing in Medieval Egypt, 600-1500
Subject associations
NES 389 / MED 389
This class explores medieval Islamic history from the bottom up -- through everyday documents from Egypt produced and used by men and women at all levels of society: state decrees, personal and business letters, legal contracts, court records, and accounts. Even the smallest details of these everyday writings tell us big things about the world in which they were written. Each week will focus in depth on a particular document or cluster of documents that open different doors onto politics, religion, class, commerce, material history, and family relationships in Egypt from just before the Islamic conquests until just before the Ottoman era.
Instructors
Eve Krakowski

ARABIC

Spring 2022
Elementary Arabic II
Subject associations
ARA 102
This course continues the study of Modern Standard Arabic and spoken colloquial Arabic commenced in Arabic 101. Emphasis in class is placed on active use of grammatical points introduced in the book; reading and writing increasingly longer texts; further vocabulary acquisition, and continued practice in listening and speaking Modern Standard and spoken colloquial Arabic.
Instructors
Nancy Coffin
Mounia Mnouer
Spring 2022
Intermediate Arabic II
Subject associations
ARA 107
Study of Arabic grammar and syntax, and use of the language in functional contexts. Reading of extra material from articles, newspapers, short stories. Discussions are held in Arabic to enhance students' speaking skills.
Instructors
Gregory Bell
Faris Zwirahn
Spring 2022
Levantine Colloquial Arabic II
Subject associations
ARA 306
Semester two of a year-long introduction to Levantine Colloquial Arabic, also known as the "Shami" dialect. Designed for speakers of Arabic as a second language, this course trains students to use their Levantine colloquial skills, gained during the first semester of this course, to discuss a variety of topics, including but not limited to: politics, religion, culture, history, and education. In addition to the materials in the textbooks, students will watch and/or listen to excerpts from Syrian, Lebanese, and Jordanian television, radio, films, music, and theater in order to promote/deepen their understanding of Levantine and Arab culture.
Instructors
Faris Zwirahn
Spring 2022
Advanced Arabic Reading: The Short Story
Subject associations
ARA 309
This course will use the genre of the Arabic short story to help students expand their reading and, to a lesser extent, their speaking skills in Modern Standard Arabic. In addition, students will learn about the development of the Arabic short story through reading representative examples of the genre from a variety of periods and authors. The course will focus on a new short story each week, with one class meeting devoted to close reading of a portion of the week's story and the second focusing on a more general discussion - part in English and part in Arabic - of the story under consideration.
Instructors
Gregory Bell
Spring 2022
Arabic Skills for Everyday Living
Subject associations
ARA 313
This course is based on thematic instruction featuring audio-visual materials of native speakers discussing their daily lives. Emphasis is on improving fluency in reading and speaking skills used in everyday contexts.
Instructors
Hannah Essien
Spring 2022
Topics in Arabic Language and Culture: Texts from Arabic Prison Literature
Subject associations
ARA 404
This course will explore the accounts of Arab intellectuals, political activists and journalists who spent time in prison for the political views. Drawn from a diverse group, these authors include men and women; secularists and religious thinkers; and they are drawn from a variety of Arab countries. We will read and discuss these narratives entirely in Arabic; students will offer weekly responses to the text as well as producing one for the midterm and a longer final project in lieu of an exam.
Instructors
Faris Zwirahn

HEBREW

Spring 2022
Elementary Hebrew II
Subject associations
HEB 102
This course is designed for students who are familiar with the Hebrew alphabet, and who have rudimentary skills in reading, writing, speaking and comprehending modern Hebrew. Over the spring term, students will further develop their proficiency in these skills, and acquire a solid grounding in modern Hebrew grammar and syntax. By the end of the semester, students will be able to read and comment on short articles, stories and poems, to conduct conversations, and make short presentations.
Instructors
Philip Zhakevich
Spring 2022
Intermediate Hebrew II
Subject associations
HEB 107
This course is designed for students who have completed elementary modern Hebrew language courses, and aims at further developing their reading, writing, speaking and aural comprehension skills. Emphasis will be placed on grammar and syntax, on conversational skills, and on creative writing. By the end of the spring term, students will achieve mastery of the Hebrew verb patterns, and proficiency in constructing complex sentences, and will be able to read and analyze literary works, discuss various media contents, write essays and make presentations.
Instructors
Philip Zhakevich
Spring 2022
From Shai Agnon to Etgar Keret: A Survey of Modern Hebrew Literature
Subject associations
HEB 312
This course, taught in Hebrew, traces modern Hebrew literature from the 1930's until today. Discussion in class will focus on the language and themes of this literature. The goal of the course is to give students an understanding of the development of Modern Hebrew literature of the 20th and 21st centuries, while exposing the students to the historical issues that concerned the writers of Modern Hebrew literature at the time of their writing. All texts will be in Modern Hebrew, which will not only strengthen the students' grasp of Hebrew in general but will also expose students to the various styles of literary Hebrew.
Instructors
Philip Zhakevich

PERSIAN

Spring 2022
Elementary Persian II
Subject associations
PER 102
To develop the skills of understanding, speaking, reading and writing modern Persian. The classes are conducted mostly in Persian with emphasis on oral drills and conversations.
Instructors
Amineh Mahallati
Spring 2022
Intermediate Persian II
Subject associations
PER 107
The emphasis is on reading modern and classical prose, and writing modern prose. Classes are conducted mostly in Persian. Advanced grammar drills and translation exercises.
Instructors
Amineh Mahallati
Spring 2022
Advanced Persian Reading II: Modern Persian Prose
Subject associations
PER 303
This course focuses on modern Persian prose. It is the continuation of 302, and 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. The class is conducted in Persian.
Instructors
Amineh Mahallati
Spring 2022
Advanced Persian: Iran through Film
Subject associations
PER 305
This course will engage students thoughtfully with modern Iranian society and politics through documentaries. Each week, students will watch a documentary and prepare for a lively in-class discussion of the issues. Students will be heavily exposed to colloquial Persian.
Instructors
Amineh Mahallati

TURKISH

Spring 2022
Elementary Turkish II
Subject associations
TUR 102
Familiarity with all grammatical aspects of Modern Turkish. Reading text of moderate difficulty; developing communicative skills: ability to comprehend and engage in daily discourse; ability to write short compositions.
Instructors
Nilüfer Hatemi
Spring 2022
Intermediate Turkish II
Subject associations
TUR 107
To enable students to communicate in Modern Turkish, and to read Turkish (current events, editorials, literature and academic writings) with some speed and accuracy.
Instructors
Nilüfer Hatemi
Spring 2022
Advanced Turkish: Contemporary Turkish Media
Subject associations
TUR 306
This course introduces a wide variety of topics in contemporary Turkish media, cinema and documentaries. It will develop students' skills in listening and understanding colloquial Turkish, as well as in evaluating social, political and cultural issues covered by the media (including BBC, TRT, VOA). Viewing a selection of Turkish documentaries and films will serve to build fluency through in-depth classroom analysis and discussions. Weekly written assignments will help to develop students' proficiency in literary Turkish.
Instructors
Nilüfer Hatemi

Graduate Courses - Spring 2022

Spring 2022
Themes in Islamic Culture: Middle Eastern History
Subject associations
NES 503
This semester the course will be a chapter and paper clinic. Each participant will be expected to submit at least one draft chapter or paper to the seminar, and will receive intensive comments and suggestions on both form and substance from the other participants and the instructor. Chapters and papers may relate to any period or aspect of Middle Eastern or Islamic history.
Instructors
Michael Cook
Spring 2022
Readings in Judeo-Arabic
Subject associations
NES 523 / HIS 563
Introduction to the Judeo-Arabic documents of the Cairo Geniza, including personal and business letters, legal testimonies and other ephemera of the tenth through thirteenth centuries. Students learn the Hebrew alphabet, the peculiarities of middle Arabic, diplomatic technique, research methods, manuscript paleography, digital tools and the existing literature.
Instructors
Marina Rustow
Spring 2022
Medieval Judaism
Subject associations
NES 532 / REL 541 / JDS 532
This seminar surveys recent trends in historiography about medieval Jews and Judaism. We read and compare major works of scholarship written mainly during the last two decades that focus on medieval Jewish history in both Europe and the Middle East, from the 9th century to the 14th century. Special emphasis is placed on works of social and cultural history that illuminate Jewish communal life and religious identity in varying historical contexts. All required readings are in English, but supplementary readings are suggested for students with reading knowledge of Hebrew.
Instructors
Eve Krakowski
Spring 2022
Topics in Zoroastrian Studies: Introduction to Middle Persian Language and Literature
Subject associations
NES 538
This course serves as an introduction to the study of Pahlavi - the Zoroastrian Middle Persian language - and its literature. Students gain a firm knowledge of the Pahlavi script, grammar, and vocabulary through weekly exercises. At the same time, we survey extant Middle Persian literature, reading in translation and in the original from genres including epic, cosmology, religious response, ritual instruction, and scriptural hermeneutics. Students are introduced to current problems in the field, emphasizing historical and comparative approaches. Students gain hands-on experience working with Zoroastrian manuscripts.
Instructors
Daniel Sheffield
Spring 2022
History and Society of Modern Arabia
Subject associations
NES 552
Course examines the histories, politics and societies of several countries of the Arabian Peninsula. Particular focus is given to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Students explore the complex relationships the peoples of Arabia have with their past, the outside world, and such matters as the social and cultural divisions between the bedu and the hadar, and the interior versus the coastal populations. The course also examines the phenomena of Islamic reformism, political Islam, the dynamics of the global oil market and its effects on society. The aim of the course is to get students acquainted with the modern history of Arabia.
Instructors
Bernard Haykel
Spring 2022
Studies in Islamic Religion and Thought
Subject associations
NES 553
This course focuses on reading texts that are illustrative of various issues in Muslim religious thought. The texts are selected according to students' needs.
Instructors
Hossein Modarressi
Spring 2022
Arabs, Jews, and Arab-Jews in Literature, History, and Culture
Subject associations
COM 566 / NES 566
This interdisciplinary course examines the ideas of the Arab, the Jew, and the Arab-Jew as represented in history, literature, and film. It revisits the interdisciplinary scholarship around "Jews and Arabs" since the 1990s in order to reassess past and current approaches and to assist students with their own research agendas. We consider the following analytical frames: memory studies and its politics; historiography, recovery and the archive; hybridity and cosmopolitanism; language politics; and "passing" and cross-identification. Qualified juniors and seniors are welcome.
Instructors
Lital Levy