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About the MENA Program

katherine-hoffman.jpgNote from the Director 

Northwestern's MENA Program hosts a vibrant interdisciplinary community of faculty and students, with opportunities for the broader community as well. We engage with the geographical stretch from Morocco to Iran, charting a distinctive and innovative path that is attentive to the ways in which individuals and communities living in and around the region actively contribute to and shape — rather than merely being subjects of — various global, regional, national and local economic, political, legal and social orders. We study the region's links to Africa, Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia, and the U.S. We are attentive to the diverse populations that make up the MENA region (Turks, Iranians, Imazighen/Berbers, Kurds, Armenians as well as Arabs), and to the importance of integrating a concern for minority experiences of all kinds into scholarship and teaching on the region. Forced and voluntary migration, political upheaval, state building, colonization, military conquest, borders and boundaries, religious and legal practices, and capitalist expansion are among the forces that compel us to examine connectivity between world regions through history and space. We take the MENA region as a point of departure rather than a destination.

Our award-winning faculty is drawn from the disciplines of anthropology, art history, classics, comparative literature, ethnomusicology, film and media studies, French studies, performance studies, political science, and religious studies. See the courses MENA offers and the link to courses that that satisfy requirements for the MENA undergraduate major and minor and the graduate certificate and cluster. Courses in Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Hebrew language are coordinated under the separate MENA Language Program and can be found on Caesar. Learn more about the faculty and staff who make MENA a lively campus hub.

On Mondays at noon, our community gathers for MENA Monday, a series featuring emerging and senior scholars, filmmakers, policy analysts, and Northwestern faculty. Events include lectures and moderated dialogues. Students, faculty from other universities, and community members are most welcome. On select Monday evenings once per month, we partner with the Evanston Public Library. Our engaging EPL events in downtown Evanston are often standing-room only, and they demonstrate MENA’s commitment to fostering dialogue, understanding, and tolerance concerning the complex and misunderstood MENA region. MENA also organizes Work in Progress sessions for faculty and graduate students by invitation, oversees graduate student colloquia, partners with the Block Museum and other units on campus, and participates in area studies initiatives with organizations and academic units domestically and abroad. All of our campus events offer opportunities for exchange and community building, so please feel free to write ( or introduce yourself at our events.

Join our mailing lists, like us on our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and check our events page often. We look forward to seeing you!


Katherine E. Hoffman

Director, Middle East and North African Studies Program

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Northwestern University

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