Middle Eastern Studies

Ying Wang, 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 graduate to pursue graduate studies and careers in fields as varied as education, business, NGOs, journalism, the arts, and government service.

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, Teaching Spring Only

Kavita Khory, Ruth Lawson Professor of Politics, Teaching Fall Only

Susanne Mrozik, Professor of Religion

Naoko Nemoto, Professor of Asian Studies

Joshua Roth, Professor of Anthropology

Ajay Sinha, Professor of Art History

Ying Wang, Felicia Gressitt Bock Professor of Asian Studies

Elif Babul, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Calvin Chen, Associate Professor of Politics

Amina Steinfels, Associate Professor of Religion, Teaching Spring Only

Lan Wu, Assistant Professor of History

Lisha Xu, Senior Lecturer in Asian Studies

Lei Yan, Senior Lecturer in Chinese

Heba Arafah, Five College Lecturer in Arabic

Kyae-Sung Park, Five College Lecturer in Korean

Richard Chu, Five College Associate Professor of History

Mohamed Hassan, Five College Senior Lecturer in Arabic

May George, Five College Lecturer in Middle East Studies

Nahla Khalil, Five College Lecturer in Arabic

Suk Massey, Five College Lecturer in Korean

Chan Young Park, Five College Lecturer in Korean

John Weinert, Five College Lecturer in Arabic

Chihiro Hanami, Visiting Instructor in Japanese

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 and Professor of Politics, Teaching Spring Only

Amina Steinfels, Associate Professor of Religion, On Leave 2018-2019

Heba Arafah, Five College Lecturer in Arabic

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

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.

  • Students who declare a Middle Eastern studies major automatically fulfill the College's "outside the major" requirement.

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

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

Anthropology
ANTHR-316MESpecial Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology of the Political in the Contemporary Middle East'4
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-339The Medieval Mirror: Freedom, Gender and Resistance in Contemporary Arabic Literature4
Critical Social Thought
CST-349MRAdvanced Topics: 'The Medieval Mirror: Freedom, Gender and Resistance in Contemporary Arabic Literature'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
Jewish Studies
JWST-150Introduction to Modern Hebrew4
Politics
POLIT-216Middle East Politics4
POLIT-224The United States and Iran4
POLIT-226The United States, Israel, and the Arabs4
POLIT-333Just War and Jihad: Comparative Ethics of War and Peace4
POLIT-341Political Islam4
POLIT-342Islamic Political Thought4
Religion
RELIG-102Introduction to Islam4
RELIG-201Reading the Qur'an4
RELIG-207Women and Gender in Islam4
RELIG-311Sufism: The Mystic Path in Islam4
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