Winter 2020

MES Course Offerings Winter 2020

Arabic 2: 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 42: 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 2: 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.


MES 1.01: Introduction to Middle Eastern Studies @ 10A
    • Jonathan Smolin
Conflict seems like the lens through which the Middle East is perceived and studied. But beyond wars and religious fanaticism, are there other conflicts, both social and personal, that generate great art and dark humor expressed in literature, film, and music? This interdisciplinary course offers an introduction to the modern Middle East as a field of study, a region, and a site of cultural and artistic production. Each week is structured in such a way as to offer a historical and political context for particular issues or eras, and shed light on the way people experience these issues through art and culture, contact and exchange. Starting with the examination of the rise of modernity and the effects of European colonialism on Middle Eastern politics and culture from the nineteenth century onward, we will examine the rise of nationalism, authoritarianism, and fundamentalism. We will link this discussion to recent developments in the region from the “Green Revolution” in Iran in 2009 to the “Arab Spring” starting in 2010, and analyze the role of social media and youth culture in the process. Before concluding with a discussion of Middle Eastern displacement and diaspora, we will address questions of gender and sexuality in Middle Eastern societies. No knowledge of Middle Eastern languages is required for this course.


MES 2.02/*HIST 5.02: Introduction to Islamic Middle East @ 11

  • Golnar Nikpour

This course is a survey of the histories and cultures of the Islamic Middle East, starting in the era before the advent of Islam in the 7th century until the eve of the 20th century. This class will begin with the regional and global contexts in which Islam emerged, examining the history of the Prophet Muhammad, the Qur’anic revelation, and the first community of believers. We will then look at the expansion of the “abode of Islam” over the course of several centuries, asking why so many people in so many different regions converted to Islam. We will also study philosophical, cultural, legal, political, and social trends in region now known as the Middle East and North Africa until the era of early European colonialism.


MES 7.01: First-Year Seminar: Arab Revolutions: Dependency, Despotism and the Struggle for Democracy @ 10A
    • Ezzedine Fishere
This course explores the long struggle of Arabs to build independent and democratic states. After long cycles of revolutions and repression, the Arab World still suffer from despotism and dependency, and its people still yearn and struggle for freedom and good governance. Why have Arab revolutions failed? Are Arabs condemned to live under tyranny or is there hope forthose who seek democratic, accountable governments and rule of law? To answer this question, we will dig into the complex political and cultural realities of the Arab World. We will read about old and new Arab revolutions; from Prince Abdul-Qader’s armed revolt in Algeria (1832-1847); Egypt’s multiple revolutions (1882 and 1919); Lawrence of Arabia’s Arab revolt (1914-1918); the bleak revolution of Palestine (1936), all the way to the Arab Spring of 2011 and its subsequent collapse into civil war and despotism. The readings cover these revolutions and the deep dynamics that shape Arab societies and states. We will also read old texts written by Arabs about freedom, despotism and renaissance. As such, this course introduces students to the politics and culture of one of the most turbulent regions of our world.

MES 12.09/*JWST 40.01/GOVT 40.09: Politics of Israel and Palestine @ 2A
    • Ezzedine Fishere
This course is about the protracted Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the many unsuccessful attempts to resolve it. First, we will examine the roots and developments of the conflict and see how Palestinian nationalism and Zionism clashed in the early 20th century giving birth to one of the world's oldest disputes. We will also examine how the involvement of Arab states in 1947 and then again in 1967 transformed the Palestinian-Israel conflict into a full-fledged Arab-Israeli confrontation, with both regional and global ramifications.

MES 16.30: Modern Arabic Fiction @ 2A
    • Jonathan Smolin
This course is an introduction to twentieth-century fiction across the Arab world. Looking at works from North Africa to the Middle East, we will examine how Arab writers and filmmakers have dealt with such themes as nationalism, immigration, freedom, sexuality, war, violence, and religion. Authors include Tayyib Salih, Mohamed Choukri, Ghassan Kanafani, Tahar Wattar, and Hanah al-Shaykh, among others.

MES 85: Advanced Independent Research (Senior Honors Thesis part 1) @ arranged time