Spring 2020

MES Course Offerings Spring 2020

Arabic 3: Beginning Arabic
    • Jamila Chahboun @ 9S
    • Mostafa Ouajjani @ 9S
An introduction to written and spoken Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). In addition to mastering the basics of grammar, emphasis is placed on active functional communication in the language, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension. Mandatory apprentice-teacher-run drill sessions meet four times/week (4 hours/week) for all beginning Arabic language classes.


Arabic 23: Intermediate Arabic @ 10
    • Mostafa Ouajjani
Intermediate level of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). Continuation of presentation of fundamentals of grammar and development of proficiency in reading, writing, spoken communication skills, and aural comprehension, including much authentic cultural material.


Arabic 32: Advanced Arabic @ 10A
    • Jonathan Smolin
The goal for this course is to develop Arabic from the intermediate to the advanced level. This course will focus on three key elements: grammar review and exercises, readings in modern Arabic fiction, and an introduction to media Arabic.


Arabic 43: Advanced Arabic @ 12
    • Hussein Kadhim
This three-course series (41, 42 and 43) may be taken non-sequentially. Readings for the courses are extensive and of a high level of complexity; they are drawn from a variety of genres and periods. The progression towards full proficiency in the language is a fundamental objective of the sequence. The courses will be conducted entirely in Arabic.


Arabic 59: Advanced Independent Study in Arabic @ arranged time


Hebrew 3: Beginning Hebrew @ 2
    • Nurit Ben Yehuda
An introduction to spoken and written Modern Israeli Hebrew (MIH). In addition to mastering the basics of grammar, emphasis is placed on active functional communication in the language, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension. Mandatory student-run drill sessions meet four times/week for one hour (4 hours/week) for all beginning Hebrew language classes.


Hebrew 51: Hebrew of the Bible @ arranged time
    • Nurit Ben Yehuda
An introduction to the language of the Hebrew Bible. The course teaches basic Biblical grammar, script, and vocabulary for recognition. Readings will be taken from a sampling of Biblical texts. This course serves as a requirement for students wishing to major and minor in Hebrew language and literature.


Hebrew 59: Advanced Independent Study in Hebrew @ arranged time


MES 5.02 /JWST 16: Introduction to Hebraic and Israeli Culture @ 10A
    • Lewis Glinert
This course explores the interaction of Hebrew literature, film, music, religion, and society. For millennia, Hebrew has had a unique spiritual hold on both the Jewish and Christian identity. We will focus on the Bible as wisdom, law, and poetry, the Talmud of the ancient Rabbis, Kabbalah and Hebrew alphabet mysticism, war and the Israeli cinema, Hebrew folk and rock culture, and a modern political mystery: how today's Hebrew created a new Jewish identity. Required for the major and minor. No knowledge of Hebrew is required.  Glinert.


MES 12.04/GOVT 20.08: America and the Middle East @ 10A
    • Ezzedine Fishere
The United States has played a major role in shaping the political, economic and cultural development of the Middle East. Oil, global security, Israel’s survival, and promotion of democracy, all have drawn the US into the complex politics of the Middle East since the 1920s. This course introduces students to various aspects of this role and the reactions it triggered. It covers the role played by American missionaries and travelers/immigrants around the turn of the 20th century. It analyzes the transformative impact of the discovery of Oil, the establishment of the state of Israel, the Cold War, Turkey’s integration into NATO and the US attempts to establish a security regime for the Middle East. It also examines how Americans viewed the Middle East and their role in its life. In addition, the course then takes the students in a tour d’horizon of US role in Middle East politics: its involvement in the Arab-Israeli Peace Process, its responses to Radical Islamism and 9/11, the invasion of Iraq and its consequences, the uneasy relationship with a changing Turkey, and its policy of “democracy promotion”. It discusses the doctrines defining US role in the region since Truman until Obama’s “disengagement”. Combining academic books with novels and movies, this course should give students a rounded view of the role and lasting impact of the United States in one of the world’s most turbulent regions.


MES 12.05/GOVT 60.17: Arab Political Thought @ 2A
    • Ezzedine Fishere
This is a gateway course to Arab political thought. It will introduce students to the main political and intellectual debates in the modern Arab world since its nascent beginnings during the first half of the 19th century to the ideologies that animated the Arab Spring and its aftermath, including:

Early accounts of political modernity
Early Islamic revivalism
Liberal thought
Nationalism and Pan-Arabism
Arab socialism, Marxism and the New Left
Anti-Colonialism and Occidentalism
Dreams of Domination
Citizenship, democracy and human rights
New directions in Arab thought: Liberalism, nationalism and Islamism
We will cover the basic contours and intellectual debates around these issues, analyzing the main texts tracing their development. The aim of this course is not only to familiarize students with the basic political features of the Middle East but also to equip students with the tools necessary to pursue future academic and analytical work on the politics of the region.


MES 16.03/LING 11.03: Language Behavior and Verbal Cultures in the Middle East @ 2A
    • Lewis Glinert
This course in anthropology and ethnography of language illustrates how Middle Eastern cultures employ language to construct and reflect values, identities and institutions, to create relationships and project personal status, and to perform actions (such as ending a phone call, apologizing, paying compliments, and negotiating business deals). Particular attention will be paid to the beliefs people hold about their languages and scripts. No prior knowledge of a particular language or culture is assumed. Open to all classes.


MES 81.02: New Arabic Novel @ 2A
    • Jonathan Smolin
In this seminar, we will read Arabic novels in translation published across the Middle East during the past decade. How have the authors of these texts grappled with recent transformations in post-9/11 Arab society, such as globalization, terrorism, gender relations, and war? How have old themes--including the clash between tradition and modernity, East-West relations, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--become renewed for the contemporary era? We will examine exciting recent novels from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, and Palestine to answer these questions. This course has no prerequisites but familiarity with the history of the Middle East in the twentieth century and trends in contemporary Arabic prose during this period would be helpful.


MES 87: Advanced Independent Research (Senior Honors Thesis part 2) @ arranged time