Summer 2019

MES Summer 2019 courses

Arabic 22, 23 and MES 16.10: Modern Morocco (Rabat, Morocco LSA+)

  • Tarek El-Ariss


Arabic 34: Media Arabic @ 12

  • Jamila Chahboun

This course is an introduction to the language of the Arabic press and broadcast media. It offers training in the basic skills required to read, comprehend, and translate Arabic media texts. The course is intended as a supplement to language training based on Modern Standard Arabic (MSA).


MES 12.07/*SOCY 22: Sociology of International Development @ 9L  

  • Misagh Parsa

This course will introduce students to the major sociological perspectives on economic and political development, with emphasis on developing countries. Among the views to be considered are modernization, which assumes that later developing countries will follow paths once traveled by today's advanced countries; and dependency and world system theories, which view the integration of less developed countries into the world market as problematic and, under certain conditions, even disadvantageous. We will test these theories by applying them to specific cases. A major part of the course will focus on the economic 'miracle' of East Asian countries, as well as cases that have not been so successful. Other important topics to be studied include the influence of states, markets, and multinational corporations in economic development; the relationship between different modes of development and income distribution; and political development and the prospects for democratization. Open to all classes.


MES 12.08/*SOCY 49.02: Theories of Democratization and the Case of Iran @ 2

  • Misagh Parsa

Theories of democratization generally examine the nature of the state, economy, social structure, class, culture and religion. This course will begin with an examination of various theories of democracy and democratization.  It will then apply these theories to the specific case of Iran. Despite two major revolutions and two movements, Iran is still facing problems democratizing. The latter part of the course relies on documentary films that contain actual footages of Iran’s nationalist movement in the 1950s and the revolutionary struggles in 1979.


MES 12.09/*JWST 40.01/GOVT 40.09: Politics of Israel and Palestine @ 10

  • Abigail Jacobson

This course explores the century-old conflict as seen from the political structures and changing narratives of Israelis and Palestinians, including the Zionist movement and the responses of the Palestinian Arab community to it; the formation of the Arab national movement as a whole—and within this, the claims of Palestinians before and after the British Mandate; the founding of the state of Israel and the formation of the post-1948 Palestinian national movement; the aftermath of the 1967 war; the start of the Israeli occupation and the latter’s impact on Israeli institutions, economy, and political parties;  and the Palestine Liberation Organization and the founding of Hamas. We will explore contemporary political and economic developments in light of the global forces operating on the region, and consider the plausibility of a two-state solution.


MES 16.11: From Genesis to Seinfeld: Jewish Humor and its Roots @ 2A

  • Lewis Glinert

What is Jewish humor, what are its roots, and what can it begin to tell us about Jewish society, its values and its self-image? Using Freudian and other humor theory, we examine 2000 years of Hebrew comedy and satire, from the Bible to contemporary Israel, in such genres as short stories, jokes, and strip cartoons, and its relationship to American Jewish humor.


MES 16.12: Language, Politics and Power in the Middle East @ 10A

  • Lewis Glinert

This course explores the sociopolitical dimensions of language in the Middle East, past and present, at the macro level. How have political, ideological and social forces affected the fate of Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, and other major regional languages such as Ancient Greek, Kurdish and Berber? How does language affect and reflect heritage, ethnicity, religion and nationhood, with their linguistic ideologies? What are ‘languages’ and ‘dialects’? What are the causes of language conflict or repression? Is 'one state one language' an economically or politically rational policy? How and why might language and liter


MES 17.09/*REL 16: Modern Islam @ 10

  • Kevin Reinhart

In all the attention focused on Islam at present, a newspaper reader could be forgiven for supposing that between Muhammad and Usamah bin Laden, there has been no change in Islam. This course surveys developments in Islamic religious history, thought, and practice since 1800, with special emphasis on topics of current controversy, including the status of women, the nature of government, and the place of Islamic law. Readings will be mostly from primary texts written by contemporary Muslims, both modernists and Islamists.


MES 19.04/*HIST 70: Gender and The Modern Middle East and North Africa @ 11

  • Golnar Nikpour

In this course, we will study histories of the modern Middle East and North Africa and examine the ways that issues relating to gender and sexuality have affected the politics and social worlds of the region over the course of the past several centuries. This course begins with the medieval Islamicate Empires — Mughal, Safavid, and Ottoman — and then moves through the end of empire, the colonial era, the establishment of the nation state, and the emergence of modern cultural, political, and religious movements. In doing so, we will situate the histories and social worlds of the region in a global frame, asking how global political and economic transformations have affected the region. At the same time that we attend closely to these histories, we will also examine the ways in which the category of “woman” has been mobilized in popular and political discourses in the 18th-21th centuries, paying particular attention to how Muslim and Middle Eastern women have been represented in various political discourses, as well as how they have represented themselves. Through close readings of both primary sources (in translation) and secondary literature — including historiographical, theoretical, and literary texts as well as film and music— we will also tackle the questions, controversies, and stereotypes that have animated debates in both scholarly and popular literature on such topics as the veil, feminism, revolution, human rights, LGBT issues, masculinity, and war.