2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog

Middle Eastern Studies

Students may complete a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies.

Coordinator

Deborah Harrold, Political Science

Advisory Committee

Amiram Amitai, Hebrew and Judaic Studies
Grace Armstrong, French and Francophone Studies
Mehmet-Ali Atac, Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology
Peter Magee, Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology
Marc Ross, Political Science
Azade Seyhan, German and German Studies (on leave semester II)
Camelia Suleiman, Arabic
Sharon Ullman, History
Alicia Walker, History of Art

Courses on the Middle East may contribute to majors in other fields or serve as electives. In addition, students may complete a concentration in Middle East Studies.

The Middle Eastern Studies Program focuses on the study of the area from Morocco to Afghanistan from antiquity to the present day. Bryn Mawr students can investigate the history, politics and cultures of the Middle East through coursework, independent study, study abroad, and events here and at neighboring institutions. In conjunction with courses at Haverford and Swarthmore, the Advisory Committee from Bryn Mawr College co-ordinates courses and works with colleagues from Haverford and Swarthmore College on tri-college curricular planning.

The members of the Middle Eastern Studies Committee can help students who are interested in Middle Eastern topics plan coursework and independent study.
There are two tracks to Middle East Studies Concentration; one requires study or competence in a Middle Eastern language, the other does not.

Track 1

The first track consists of six courses in the Humanities or Social Sciences that focus on the ancient or modern Middle East distributed in the following manner:

  1. An introductory course called “Themes in Middle Eastern Society and Culture” This course will be offered every other year by relevant Middle Eastern Studies Institute () faculty from Bryn Mawr and, where possible, the Tri-Co Community. The course will be taught by at least two faculty members who would follow a broadly defined theme. Possible themes include: Irrigation, Agriculture and Society; History and Collective Memory; Urbanism and Social Transformation; War and Peace, and Literature and Imagination.
  2. Three elective Middle Eastern topic courses, including at least one at the 300 level in a specific area to be chosen in consultation with the student's adviser. This area might be defined in terms of conceptual, historical, or geographical interests and, in many cases, will be connected to work in the student's major
  3. Two additional Middle Eastern topic courses, at least one of which must be in either the humanities or social sciences if a student's work in (a) and (b) does not include one or the other of these.
  4. Of the six courses one must be pre-modern in content.
  5. Of the six courses only three may be in the student's major.

Track 2

The second track consists of language study and other courses. Students opting for this track must take the equivalent of two years of study of a modern Middle Eastern language or pass a proficiency exam in one of these languages, whereby they may also meet the standard set for the A.B. degree for the foreign language requirement. Four additional courses distributed as follows are required for the concentration:

  1. An introductory course called “Themes in Middle Eastern Society and Culture” as defined above.
  2. Three elective Middle Eastern topic courses, which meet the following conditions:
  3. One course must be in the social sciences;
  4. One course must be in the humanities;
  5. At least one course must be at the 300 level to be selected after consultation with the student's adviser so as to expose the student to in-depth study of the Middle East with a geographic, conceptual, or particular historical focus;
  6. At least one course must be pre-modern in content.
  7. Of the four courses, only two may also form a part of the student's major.

For Arabic and Hebrew languages, please see those sections.

ANTH B261 Palestine and Israeli Society

Considers the legacy of Palestine and the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as key in the formation of Israeli society, shaped by ongoing political conflict. New ethnographic writings disclose themes like Zionism, Holocaust, immigration, religion, Palestinian citizenry, Middle Eastern Jews and military occupation and resulting emerging debates among different social sectors and populations. Also considers constitution of ethnographic fields and the shaping of anthropological investigations by arenas of conflict. Prerequisites: sophomore standing and POLS B111 or ANTH B101 or B102 or permission of the instructor.
Division I: Social Science
Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
CROSS-LISTED AS HEBR-B261
CROSS-LISTED AS HIST-B261
1.0 units
Neuman,T.
Not offered in 2011-12.

ANTH B275 Cultures and Societies of the Middle East

Through a close reading of ethnographic, historical, and literary materials, this course will introduce students to some of the key conceptual issues and regional distinctions that have emerged from classic and contemporary studies of culture and society in the Middle East. The course will survey the following themes: orientalism; gender and patriarchy; democracy and state-formation; political Islam; oil and Western dominance; media and religion; violence and nationalism; identity and diaspora. Prerequisite: Introduction to Anthropology or equivalent. No knowledge of the Middle East is assumed.
Division I: Social Science
Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
1.0 units
Neuman,T.
Not offered in 2011-12.

ANTH B276 Islam in Europe

This course will focus on recent immigration of Muslims in Europe. Anthropological theories will be helpful for understanding various issues such as the colonization and production of ethnicity, problems of identity concerning different generations and gender. Politics from the points of view of the nation-state will be important. Prerequisite: One course in Anthropology or instructor's permission.
Division I: Social Science
Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
CROSS-LISTED AS HIST-B276
1.0 units
Hyánková,T.
Not offered in 2011-12.

ANTH B382 Religious Fundamentalism in the Global Era

Through a comparison of Jewish, Islamic, Christian and Hindu political movements, the course seeks to investigate the religious turn in national and transnational contexts. We will also seek to find commonalities and differences in religious movements, and religious regimes, while considering the aspects of globalization which usher in new kinds of transnational affiliation. Prerequisite: An introductory course in Anthropology, Political Science or History or permission of the instructor.
Division I or Division III
CROSS-LISTED AS HIST-B382
CROSS-LISTED AS POLS-B382
1.0 units
Neuman,T.
Not offered in 2011-12.

ARCH B104 Agriculture and Urban Revolution

This course examines the archaeology of the two most fundamental changes that have occurred in human society in the last 12,000 years, agriculture and urbanism, and we explore these in Egypt and the Near East as far as India. We also explore those societies that did not experience these changes.
Division III
Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
1.0 units
Magee, P.
Not offered in 2011-12.

ARCH B140 The Visual Culture of the Ancient Near East

The visual culture of ancient Mesopotamia, a region with its heartland in modern Iraq, from the first city to the fall of Babylon in 539 BCE, includes images designed to gain favor of the gods, promote royal achievements and adorn the deceased on the journey to the afterlife. Particular emphasis placed on the visual analysis of royal and elite artistic production of architecture, sculpture and cylinder seals.
Division III: Humanities
CROSS-LISTED AS HART-B140
1.0 units
Evans,J.
Not offered in 2011-12.

ARCH B222 Araby the Blest: Archeology of the Arabian Peninsula

A survey of the archaeology and history of the Arabian peninsula focusing on urban forms, transport and cultures in the Arabian peninsula and Gulf and their interactions with the world from the rise of states in Mesopotamia down to the time of Alexander the Great.
Division III
1.0 units
Magee, P.
Not offered in 2011-12.

ARCH B230 Classical & Near Eastern Archeology

A survey of the art and archaeology of ancient Egypt from the Pre-Dynastic through the Graeco-Roman periods, with special emphasis on Egypt's Empire and its outside connections, especially the Aegean and Near Eastern worlds.
Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Division III
1.0 units
Ataç, M.M.

ARCH B240 Archaeology and History of Ancient Mesopotamia

A survey of the material culture of ancient Mesopotamia, modern Iraq, from the earliest phases of state formation (circa 3500 B.C.E.) through the Achaemenid Persian occupation of the Near East (circa 331 B.C.E.). Emphasis will be on art, artifacts, monuments, religion, kingship, and the cuneiform tradition. The survival of the cultural legacy of Mesopotamia into later ancient and Islamic traditions will also be addressed.
Division III: Humanities
Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
1.0 units
Evans,J., Ataç,M-A.
Not offered in 2011-12.

ARCH B244 Great Empires of the Ancient Near East

A survey of the history, material culture, political and religious ideologies of, and interactions among, the five great empires of the ancient Near East of the second and first millennia B.C.E.: New Kingdom Egypt, the Hittite Empire in Anatolia, the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires in Mesopotamia, and the Persian Empire in Iran.
Division III
Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
1.0 units
Ataç, M.A.

ARCH B355 Archaeology of the Achaemenid Empire in Cross Cultural Context

The Achaemenid Empire (538-332 B.C.E.) ruled the largest landmass of any of the ancient Near Eastern Empires. Attempts by archaeologists to understand the manner in which authority was asserted over this area have suffered from a reliance on biased historical sources, largely from the Classical World. This course uses archaeological data to re-examine the Achaemenid Empire in a global context. This data is examined through a methodological framework that emphasizes comparative studies of ancient and more recent Empires in Africa, the Americas, South Asia, and the Mediterranean.
1.0 units
Magee,P.
Not offered in 2011-12.

CITY B248 Modern Middle East Cities

Taking advantage of the considerable new scholarship on cities, the course will draw from diverse fields to bring different methods to the study of Middle Eastern cities and urbanization. The course will treat the negotiation of state control, urban planning and its alterations in urban practices, social movements and new spaces of politics, competing architectural visions, globalizations, and new local identities. It will treat such topics as Islamic charities in Cairo, shopping malls as public space in Dubai City, Islamic politics in public space in Istanbul, the restructuring of Beirut, and ideas of modernity in the construction of Tel Aviv.
Division I: Social Science
CROSS-LISTED AS POLS-B248
CROSS-LISTED AS HEBR-B248
1.0 units
Harrold,D.
Not offered in 2011-12.

GNST B156 Themes in Middle Eastern Society

The basis for the Middle East Studies Concentration, this course features changing themes. For Fall 2010, the theme is the space of religion: in daily life; in politics and culture; space and metaphor. Included are sacred kingship, the rise of Islamic states, roles of Middle Eastern Christians and Jews and challenges from secular ideologies that transform the space of religion.
Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
1.0 units
Harrold,D.
Not offered in 2011-12.

HART B140 The Visual Culture of the Ancient Near East

Division III: Humanities
CROSS-LISTED AS ARCH-B140
1.0 units
Evans,J.
Not offered in 2011-12.

HEBR B110 Israeli Cinema

The course traces the evolution of the Israeli cinema from ideologically charged visual medium to a universally recognized film art, as well as the emergent Palestinian cinema and the new wave of Israeli documentaries. It will focus on the historical, ideological, political, and cultural changes in Israeli and Palestinian societies and their impact on films' form and content.
Division III: Humanities
Critical Interpretation (CI)
Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
1.0 units
Amitai,A.
Not offered in 2011-12.

HEBR B248 Modern Middle East Cities

Division I: Social Science
CROSS-LISTED AS POLS-B248
CROSS-LISTED AS CITY-B248
1.0 units
Harrold,D.
Not offered in 2011-12.

HEBR B261 Palestine and Israeli Society

Considers the legacy of Palestine and the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as key in the formation of Israeli society, shaped by ongoing political conflict. New ethnographic writings disclose themes like Zionism, Holocaust, immigration, religion, Palestinian citizenry, Middle Eastern Jews and military occupation and resulting emerging debates among different social sectors and populations. Also considers constitution of ethnographic fields and the shaping of anthropological investigations by arenas of conflict. Prerequisites: sophomore standing and POLS B111 or ANTH B101 or B102 or permission of the instructor.
Division I: Social Science
CROSS-LISTED AS ANTH-B261
CROSS-LISTED AS HIST-B261
1.0 units
Neuman,T.
Not offered in 2011-12.

HEBR B283 Introduction to the Politics of the Modern Middle East and North Africa

This course is a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the politics of the region, using works of history, political science, political economy, film, and fiction as well as primary sources. The course will concern itself with three broad areas: the legacy of colonialism and the importance of international forces; the role of Islam in politics; and the political and social effects of particular economic conditions, policies, and practices.
Division I: Social Science
CROSS-LISTED AS POLS-B283
CROSS-LISTED AS HIST-B283
1.0 units
Harrold,D.

HIST B240 Modern Middle East Cities

Taking advantage of the considerable new scholarship on cities, the course will draw from diverse fields to bring different methods to the study of Middle Eastern cities and urbanization. The course will treat the negotiation of state control, urban planning and its alterations in urban practices, social movements and new spaces of politics, competing architectural visions, globalizations, and new local identities. It will treat such topics as Islamic charities in Cairo, shopping malls as public space in Dubai City, Islamic politics in public space in Istanbul, the restructuring of Beirut, and ideas of modernity in the construction of Tel Aviv.
Division I: Social Science
CROSS-LISTED AS POLS-B248
CROSS-LISTED AS CITY-B248
CROSS-LISTED AS HEBR-B248
1.0 units
Harrold,D.
Not offered in 2011-12.

HIST B261 Palestine and Israeli Society

Division I: Social Science
CROSS-LISTED AS ANTH-B261
CROSS-LISTED AS GNST-B261
CROSS-LISTED AS HEBR-B261
1.0 units
Neuman,T.
Not offered in 2011-12.

HIST B276 Islam in Europe

This course will focus on recent immigration of Muslims in Europe. Anthropological theories will be helpful for understanding various issues such as the colonization and production of ethnicity, problems of identity concerning different generations and gender. Politics from the points of view of the nation-state will be important. Prerequisite: One course in Anthropology or instructor's permission.
Division I: Social Science
CROSS-LISTED AS ANTH-B276
1.0 units
Hyánková,T.
Not offered in 2011-12.

HIST B283 Introduction to the Politics of the Modern Middle East and North Africa

This course is a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the politics of the region, using works of history, political science, political economy, film, and fiction as well as primary sources. The course will concern itself with three broad areas: the legacy of colonialism and the importance of international forces; the role of Islam in politics; and the political and social effects of particular economic conditions, policies, and practices.
Division I: Social Science
CROSS-LISTED AS POLS-B283
CROSS-LISTED AS HEBR-B283
1.0 units
Harrold,D.

HIST B288 The Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa

Division I: Social Science
CROSS-LISTED AS POLS-B288
1.0 units
Harrold,D.
Not offered in 2011-12.

HART B311 Topics in Medieval Art. Sacred Spaces in Islam: Religious Architecture of the Islamic World

Through case studies of specific cultural groups and their architectural traditions, this seminar traces the development of Islamic sacred space during the seventh to the twentieth centuries, from North America to India. Readings address both the historical contexts in which buildings were produced as well as the rituals and beliefs that gave them meaning. Critical texts from architectural theory provide students with a foundation in the methods and concepts that have shaped scholarly discourse on sacred space in the modern era.
Division III.
CROSS-LISTED AS CITY-B312
CROSS-LISTED AS HIST-B311
Walker, A.W.

HIST B382 Religious Fundamentalism in the Global Era

Through a comparison of Jewish, Islamic, Christian and Hindu political movements, the course seeks to investigate the religious turn in national and transnational contexts. We will also seek to find commonalities and differences in religious movements, and religious regimes, while considering the aspects of globalization which usher in new kinds of transnational affiliation. Prerequisite: An introductory course in Anthropology, Political Science or History or permission of the instructor.
Division I or Division III
CROSS-LISTED AS ANTH-B382
CROSS-LISTED AS POLS-B382
1.0 units
Neuman,T.
Not offered in 2011-12.

POLS B248 Modern Middle East Cities

Taking advantage of the considerable new scholarship on cities, the course will draw from diverse fields to bring different methods to the study of Middle Eastern cities and urbanization. The course will treat the negotiation of state control, urban planning and its alterations in urban practices, social movements and new spaces of politics, competing architectural visions, globalizations, and new local identities. It will treat such topics as Islamic charities in Cairo, shopping malls as public space in Dubai City, Islamic politics in public space in Istanbul, the restructuring of Beirut, and ideas of modernity in the construction of Tel Aviv.
Division I: Social Science
Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
CROSS-LISTED AS CITY-B248
CROSS-LISTED AS HEBR-B248
CROSS-LISTED AS HIST-B240
1.0 units
Harrold,D.
Not offered in 2011-12.

POLS B278 Oil, Politics, Society, and Economics

Examines the role oil has played in transforming societies, in shaping national politics, and in the distribution of wealth within and between nations. Rentier states and authoritarianism, the historical relationships between oil companies and states, monopolies, boycotts, sanctions and demands for succession, and issues of social justice mark the political economy of oil.
Division I: Social Science
CROSS-LISTED AS HIST-B278
Counts toward Environmental Studies minor
1.0 unitis
Harrold,D.
Not offered in 2011-12.

POLS B282 The Exotic Other: Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East

This course is concerned with the meanings of gender and sexuality in the Middle East, with particular attention to the construction of tradition, its performance, reinscription, and transformation, and to Western interpretations and interactions. Prerequisite: one course in social science or humanities. Previous gender or Middle East course is a plus.
Division I: Social Science
Critical Interpretation (CI)
Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
1.0 units
Harrold,D.

POLS B283 Introduction to the Politics of the Modern Middle East and North Africa

This course is a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the politics of the region, using works of history, political science, political economy, film, and fiction as well as primary sources. The course will concern itself with three broad areas: the legacy of colonialism and the importance of international forces; the role of Islam in politics; and the political and social effects of particular economic conditions, policies, and practices.
Division I: Social Science
Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
CROSS-LISTED AS HEBR-B283
CROSS-LISTED AS HIST-B283
1.0 units
Harrold,D.

POLS B287 Media and Politics: The Middle East Transformed

The events of 2011 transformed the Middle East, overthrowing or threatening regimes across the region. The course will focus on the media technologies, the political actors, and international events that produced these changes, as well as examine works on political transitions, revolutions, and social movements. Prerequisite: A previous social science or history course is strongly recommended, or a previous course on media.
Division I: Social Science
1.0 units
Harrold,D.

POLS B288 The Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa

This comparative approach considers historical constructions, the power of economic ideas, domestic politics and resources, and international regimes. Specific areas of focus include theories that seek to explain the economic/political conditions, left, nationalist and liberal, as well as the exceptional growth of the Gulf economies. Prerequisite: at least one other course on the Middle East or a strong area expertise in another region such as Latin America or China with permission of the instructor.
Division I: Social Science
CROSS-LISTED AS HIST-B288
1.0 units
Harrold,D.
Not offered in 2011-12.

POLS B382 Religious Fundamentalism in the Global Era

Through a comparison of Jewish, Islamic, Christian and Hindu political movements, the course seeks to investigate the religious turn in national and transnational contexts. We will also seek to find commonalities and differences in religious movements, and religious regimes, while considering the aspects of globalization which usher in new kinds of transnational affiliation. Prerequisite: An introductory course in Anthropology, Political Science or History or permission of the instructor.
Division I or Division III
CROSS-LISTED AS ANTH-B382
CROSS-LISTED AS HIST-B382
1.0 units
Neuman,T.
Not offered in 2011-12.

POLS B383 Two Hundred Years of Islamic Reform, Radicalism, and Revolution

This course will examine the transformation of Islamic politics in the past two hundred years, emphasizing historical accounts, comparative analysis of developments in different parts of the Islamic world. Topics covered include the rationalist Salafy movement; the so-called conservative movements (Sanussi of Libya, the Mahdi in the Sudan, and the Wahhabi movement in Arabia); the Caliphate movement; contemporary debates over Islamic constitutions; among others. The course is not restricted to the Middle East or Arab world. Prerequisites: a course on Islam and modern European history, or an earlier course on the Modern Middle East or 19th-century India, or permission of instructor.
Division I: Social Science
CROSS-LISTED AS HIST-B383
1.0 units
Harrold,D.
Not offered in 2011-12.

Middle Eastern Studies courses currently available at Haverford include:

Fall 2011

  • ANTH H361 Advanced Topics in Enthnopgraphic Area Studies: National Imaginaries in the Middle East
  • HIST H356    Sex, Law and the State in Europe and the Ottoman Empire
  • POLS H256 Evolution of the Jihadi Movement
  • RELG H108 Vocabularies of Islam
  • RELG H248 The Quran
  • SOCL H233 Topics in Sociology: Islamic Modernism

Spring 2012

  • HIST H270    From Empire to Nation: The Ottoman World Transformed
  • POLS H357 International Relations Theory: Conflict in the Middle East
  • RELG H307 Imagining Islam: Icon, Object and Image
  • RELG H353 Seminar in Islamic, Philosophy and Theology: Hidden Knowledge and Islamic Revolutions