Skip to main content

New MENA Courses — Spring 2018

Check out these new MENA classes in Spring 2018!

Making the Modern Middle East: Culture, Politics, History
MENA 200
Instructors: Jessica Winegar & Rebecca Johnson
TUES THURS 11:00 am - 12:20 pm

 Required for the MENA Major

This exciting new team-taught course tackles one of the most misrepresented regions of the world today. With two award-winning teachers, you will explore the invention and reinvention of “the Middle East” – socially, politically, and artistically. You will analyze how this notion has been central to power plays between the West and Middle East, and also within the geographic Middle East itself – via European colonialism, US foreign policy, wars and other conflicts, and ongoing uprisings. We highlight how the arts and media have been key to the representation of the Middle East, including reproducing and contesting stereotypes. In this gateway course to the Middle East, you will not only gain basic information. You will also learn how to learn about this misunderstood region.


Advanced Topics in Middle East and North African Studies:
Tell It Like It Is: Women Writers in Post-Revolutionary Iran
MENA 390-6 (co-list COMP LIT 390-0)
Instructor: Pouye Khoshkhoosani
TUES THURS 12:30 - 1:50pm

 This course examines literary works by Iranian women writers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. We will investigate how these writers have defined gender and femininity in literature since the revolution and during crucial moments of the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq. The Islamic Republic of Iran implemented changes that influenced the role of women in both social spaces and their private lives. We will examine how authors employed their characters to speak out about women’s pre-existing and emerging needs and desires during the Islamization of society after the revolution. We will pursue this objective via close readings of fictional works (and some films) which pay close attention to the situation of Iranian women after the revolution. The syllabus will incorporate methodological and theoretical readings about gender and sexuality in Iran from the early modern period to the contemporary moment.

Conversation and Culture in the Arab World: Moroccan Arabic (Darija)
Instructor: Asma Ben Romdhane
TUES THURS 3:30 - 4:50 pm

This course in colloquial Moroccan Arabic, also known as Darija, is open to both undergraduate and graduate students, and to students with a basic background in Arabic. This course introduces students to a number of social and communicative functions, including introductions, sharing and receiving information, description of persons, objects, and places, etc. Conversations will be based on real-life situations portraying social and cultural aspects of Moroccan life. The course is offered one quarter per academic year. Prequisite: at least two quarters of Arabic (must have completed Arabic 111-2 or higher). Please note: this course does not replace Arabic 111-3, but it does count toward the MENA language requirement.

Media Arabic
Instructor: Fatima Khan
TUES THURS 12:30 - 1:50 pm

This class will focus on developing listening skills to understand broadcast news. Students will spend time listening to headlines and answering questions as well as improving their oral proficiency to discuss current events. Upon completion of the course students will feel comfortable listening to short news broadcasts and clips. Prequisite: at least five quarters of Arabic (Arabic 121-2 or above). Please note: this course does not replace Arabic 111-3, but it does count toward the MENA language requirement.


And don’t miss these MENA other classes!

Seminar in Middle East and North African Studies: Islamic Law
MENA 301-3 (co-list RELIGION 351-0-20)
Instructor: Brannon Ingram
TUES THURS 2:00 - 3:20 pm

Islamic law, the sacred law of Islam grounded in the Qur’an, the practice of the Prophet Muhammad, and the writings of Muslim scholars and jurists, stretches back nearly 1400 years. After critically examining the concept of ‘law’, we will explore the emergence of legal discourses in the Qur’an and prophetic model (sunna). We will trace the development of Islamic legal methodologies and schools in the classical era by way of key primary and secondary sources. We will then examine case studies from both classical and contemporary angles, covering family, ritual purity, gender, jihad and just war, commerce, and criminal law. Finally, we will seek to understand the dual impacts of colonialism and the attempt to implement Islamic law through the apparatus of the modern nation-state. We conclude with reflections on new trends in Islamic legal hermeneutics.


Advanced Topics in Middle East and North African Studies: Ethnography of North Africa
MENA 390-3-20 (co-list ANTHRO 330-0-1)
Instructor: Katherine Elizabeth Hoffman
TUES THURS 11:00AM -12:20 PM

 While North Africa (the Maghrib) is often considered an appendage of the Muslim Middle East, this Mediterranean region merits study on its own, given its French colonial past and its connections to both sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. This course introduces students to the region through text and expressive culture (visual culture and music). Required readings will include one book or its equivalent in articles per week, drawing from anthropology, related social sciences and humanities, and historical fiction. In-depth study of Amazigh (‘Berber’) and rural populations will complement the study of Arab and urban populations in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. Major themes include language and expression, orality and literacy, colonialism, nationalism, religion, migration, and gender. Assessments are based on active participation, weekly responses, discussion facilitation, and two synthesis papers bringing together the readings around a theme.


Advanced Topics in Middle East and North African Studies: Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East
MENA 390-3-24 (co-list GNDR ST 341-0-20 and SOCIOL 333-0-20)
Instructor: Ayça Alemdaroğlu
TUES THURS 3:30 - 4:50 pm

 This course explores social constructions and experiences of gender and sexuality in the Middle East. Drawing on historical, sociological and anthropological research on the region, the course aims to question the stereotypes about the subordination of Muslim women and men to offer a systematic reading and an analytical discussion of the political, economic and cultural structures that inform femininity and masculinity in the region. The course will start with the examination of women in early Islamic sources, then move on to nationalist and modernization movements in the 19th and 20th centuries. Gender relations, women’s and men’s lives in contemporary Egypt, Turkey and Iran will form the central part of the course. In this framework, we will pay special attention to Islamist mobilization, family, sexuality, neoliberalism, women’s labor, the experiences of LGBT people, and finally women's political roles.

Back to top