Turkish dinner
Near East, Middle East, Southwest Asia & North Africa

Near Eastern Studies

Study the languages, literatures, cultures, religions and history of regions from ancient Sumer to the modern Middle East. 

What is the "Near East"?

Map of the "Near East" extends from Morocco (and medieval Spain) across North Africa, through Egypt, the Levant (Israel and Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan), Turkey and South-West Asia

The Near East is an older term for the Middle East. As defined by the department, the “Near East” extends from Morocco (and medieval Spain), through Egypt, the Levant (Israel and Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan), Turkey, Southwest Asia and North Africa.

Faculty specializing in the earliest millennia of the region’s history bring a range of disciplines, methods and theoretical orientations to bear on the study of what is conventionally called the ancient Near East. Geographically, our vision is wide, extending from the shores of the eastern Mediterranean to the lowlands of Mesopotamia, from the highlands of Anatolia and the Caucasus to the plains of southwestern Iran.

Learn more about our facultyresearchundergraduate study and graduate study.

Near Eastern Studies News

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Courses of Interest

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New Fall 2024 Classes

All Fall 2024 courses

Engage and Learn

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Major in Near Eastern studies

Interested in exploring the languages, literatures, cultures, religions, and history of the Middle East from antiquity to the modern day? Consider pursuing a major in Near Eastern studies.

My NES education afforded me the unique opportunity to look through a multifaceted lens of religion, culture, gender, and language and showed me how much the relationships of the past affect the present. All of these learning experiences proved to be vital in finding my future educational and career path and transformed my thinking in a capacity for which I will always be grateful. - Danielle Greco '23

We also offer undergraduate minors in Arabic and Near Eastern studies.

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Study a Middle Eastern language

Take Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, or Persian to fulfill the College of Arts & Sciences language requirement!

We also offer instruction in some of the ancient Middle Eastern languages like Akkadian, Biblical Hebrew, Hieroglyphic Egyptian, and Sumerian.

Recent Publications

Book cover art for "Racial Blackness and Indian Ocean Slavery"

Racial Blackness and Indian Ocean Slavery

Parisa Vaziri

December 2023

University of Minnesota Press

Unknowing and the Everyday book cover

Unknowing and the Everyday

Sufism and Knowledge in Iran

Seema Golestaneh

February 2023

Duke University Press