Middle Eastern Studies

Sohail Hashmi, Chair

Denise Falk, Academic Department Coordinator


112 Ciruti Center
413-538-2885
https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/asian

Overview and Contact Information

One of four interdisciplinary majors within the Asian Studies program, the major in Middle Eastern studies allows students to specialize in the history, languages, cultures, and politics of the Middle East. The Five College Certificate in Middle Eastern Studies allows students to complement any disciplinary major with multidisciplinary studies and linguistic attainments.

Complementing course work at Mount Holyoke are extracurricular activities and study abroad programs that broaden and deepen students’ understanding of this region.

Language study is the core component of the major. Our students are expected to incorporate the humanities and the social sciences fully into their studies with classes at Mount Holyoke and the other colleges in the Five College Consortium.

On campus, our students experience regional culture at many levels, including language tables and clubs, guest lectures, performing and visual arts, film, festivals, and regional cuisine. These activities are often initiated by and benefit greatly from the diverse student population of Mount Holyoke.

Most of our students spend a semester or a summer in study abroad programs. Students may participate in one of the many Mount Holyoke College-approved Middle Eastern study abroad programs.

Middle Eastern studies majors and minors graduate to pursue careers in fields as varied as education, business, NGOs, journalism, the arts, government service, and graduate study.

See Also

Faculty

This area of study is administered by the Asian Studies Committee:

Satyananda Gabriel, Professor of Economics

Rie Hachiyanagi, Professor of Art

Sohail Hashmi, Professor of International Relations on the Alumnae Foundation and Professor of Politics

Kavita Khory, Professor of Politics

Susanne Mrozik, Professor of Religion

Naoko Nemoto, Professor of Asian Studies, Teaching Spring Only

Joshua Roth, Professor of Anthropology

Ajay Sinha, Professor of Art History

Ying Wang, Felicia Gressitt Bock Professor of Asian Studies

Calvin Chen, Associate Professor of Politics

Amina Steinfels, Associate Professor of Religion

Elif Babul, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Lan Wu, Assistant Professor of History

Lisha Xu, Senior Lecturer in Asian Studies

Heba Arafah, Five College Lecturer in Arabic, On Leave 2017-2018

Kyae-Sung Park, Five College Lecturer in Korean

Lei Yan, Lecturer in Chinese

Richard Chu, Five College Associate Professor of History

Mohamed Hassan, Five College Senior Lecturer in Arabic

Suk Massey, Five College Lecturer in Korean

Chihiro Hanami, Visiting Instructor in Japanese

Syonara Tomoum, Five College Visiting Instructor in Arabic

The Five College certificate in Middle Eastern Studies is administered by the Five College Committee for Middle Eastern Studies, which includes the program advisors from Mount Holyoke:

Sohail Hashmi, Professor of International Relations on the Alumnae Foundation

Amina Steinfels, Associate Professor of Religion

Heba Arafah, Five College Lecturer in Arabic, On Leave 2017-2018

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 40 credits:

Four courses (16 credits), equivalent to two years of college-level study of a Middle Eastern language, such as Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Persian, and Armenian 116
Two introductory courses (8 credits) providing an overview of Middle Eastern history:8
One course (4 credits) must be in the premodern period (pre-1500 CE). The following course(s) fulfill the premodern history requirement:
Introduction to Islam
One course (4 credits) must be in the modern period (1500–present). The following courses may be used for the modern history requirement:
The Making of the Modern Middle East
Middle East Politics
Four elective courses (16 credits):16
Two (8 credits) must be from Group One: Humanities (language, literature, the arts, history, philosophy, and religion and interdisciplinary courses in these areas) 2
Two (8 credits) must be from Group Two: Social Science (anthropology, economics, geography, international relations, linguistics, politics, sociology, and interdisciplinary courses in these areas)
At least three courses (12 credits) must be 300-level. At least one of the 300-level courses must be a non-language course. 3
Total Credits40
1

Classes in Arabic and Modern Hebrew are currently taught in the Five Colleges. Additional courses in Arabic and in other languages are offered through the Five College Mentored Language Program. Students may count up to 4 credits toward the major for studying a Middle Eastern language through the Five College Mentored Language Program.

2

In order to count toward the major, studio art or performance courses must be supplemented with analytical written work.

3

 A course that is taught outside of Mount Holyoke must be approved by the chair of the Asian Studies program to count as a 300-level course. 

Additional Specifications

  • Any course that devotes 50 percent or more of its substance to Middle Eastern countries, peoples, or issues may be counted toward the major. One course on Middle Eastern diasporas may count toward the major.

  • A maximum of 16 lower-level language credits and a total of 24 language credits can be counted toward the major.

.

Requirements for the Certificate

Because of the wide range of courses available through the Five Colleges, students must design a program that will meet their intellectual, academic, and prospective professional needs in conjunction with a Middle Eastern Studies advisor from Mount Holyoke. Students are encouraged to declare intentions and begin work with an advisor during the sophomore year.

A minimum of seven courses:

Knowledge equivalent to at least two years of college-level study of a Middle Eastern language, such as Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Persian, and Armenian 10-4
Two introductory courses providing an overview of Middle Eastern history:2
One course must be in the pre-modern period (600-1500 CE)
One course must be in the modern period (1500-present)
Five courses from the following groups, including at least one course in each of the following three groups:5
Group one: Religion and Philosophy
Group two: Literature, Art, and Language study beyond what is required to satisfy the language requirement above
Group three: History and Social Sciences
Total Courses7
1

Classes in Arabic and Modern Hebrew are currently taught in the Five Colleges. Additional courses in Arabic and in other languages are offered through the Five College Mentored Language Program. This requirement may be fulfilled through course completion or by examination.

Additional Specifications

  • Students are also encouraged to spend time in the Middle East, learning Arabic and other languages and immersing themselves in the culture of the area. Plans for study abroad should be designed in consultation with the student’s advisor.
  • Courses offered at the Five Colleges in the upcoming semester that qualify for the Certificate are listed on the certificate’s website, as is the application students must submit when all requirements have been completed. Courses not listed, whether taken at one of the Five Colleges or elsewhere, must be approved by the committee on the recommendation of the campus advisor.
  • Students must receive a grade of B or better in every course counted toward the certificate.
  • Contact information: Sohail Hashmi, Professor of International Relations; Amina Steinfels, Associate Professor of Religion; https://www.fivecolleges.edu/middleeast/certificate/.

Most Middle Eastern studies courses at Mount Holyoke are listed below, but students should also consult the catalogue entries or websites of other departments, including art history, history, international relations, politics, and religion.

Middle Eastern Studies majors should also plan to use the rich resources of the Five College Consortium in selecting their courses (listings are available through the Five College Class Schedule or individual college websites).

Please consult the chair of the Asian studies program for guidelines regarding Asian languages not taught in the Five Colleges.

Courses Counting toward the Major in Middle Eastern Studies

Art History
ARTH-271Arts of Islam: Book, Mosque, and Palace4
Asian Studies
ASIAN-130First Year Arabic I4
ASIAN-131First Year Arabic II4
ASIAN-232Second Year Arabic I4
ASIAN-233Second Year Arabic II4
ASIAN-271Arts of Islam: Book, Mosque, and Palace4
Critical Social Thought
CST-249CETopics in Critical Social Thought: 'Christian Ethics: Premodern, Postmodern'4
Gender Studies
GNDST-210SLWomen and Gender in Philosophy and Religion: 'Women and Gender in Islam'4
History
HIST-111The Making of the Modern Middle East4
HIST-232CCSpecial Topics in Medieval History: 'Conquered and Colonized Christianities: 150-1650 CE'4
HIST-296METopics: Women in History: 'Women and Gender in the Middle East'4
HIST-301MCColloquium: 'Premodern Christian-Muslim Encounters'4
International Relations
IR-211Middle East Politics4
IR-222The United States, Israel, and the Arabs4
IR-224The United States and Iran4
IR-324Islamic Political Thought4
IR-333Just War and Jihad: Comparative Ethics of War and Peace4
IR-341Political Islam4
Jewish Studies
JWST-150Introduction to Modern Hebrew4
Medieval Studies
MEDST-217CCSpecial Topics in Medieval History: 'Conquered and Colonized Christianities: 150-1650 CE'4
Religion
RELIG-102Introduction to Islam4
RELIG-201Reading the Qur'an4
RELIG-207Women and Gender in Islam4
RELIG-225CCTopics in Religion: 'Conquered and Colonized Christianities: 150-1650 CE'4
RELIG-225CETopics in Religion: 'Christian Ethics: Premodern, Postmodern'4
RELIG-311Sufism: The Mystic Path in Islam4
RELIG-337MCTopics in the Study of Christianity: 'Premodern Christian-Muslim Encounters'4
RELIG-343The Sabbath4

Courses Counting toward the Five College Certificate in Middle Eastern Studies

A list of currently offered courses approved towards the Five College certificate is maintained on the certificate's website