Courses - Fall 2021

NES 1561 Introduction to the Ottoman Empire

This course will introduce students to the study of the Ottoman Empire from its inception in the late 13th century until the early part of 19th century. The classes will follow the main timeline of the geographical expansion of the empire with a special emphasis on the historical significance of the conquest of Istanbul, the consolidation of the borders of the empire, the establishment of the state apparatus in the classical period, a period of turbulence leading to a substantial transformation of the state in the early 19th century. Special focus will be placed on the Ottoman Empire's diverse religious communities—using the history of the Jewish community as the main case study—the evolution of the imperial and provincial governments' relationships with the various socio-cultural groups, legal and economic practices in the urban centers, the culture of the court in the early modern period, and the evolution of the inter-communal relations in the empire's urban centers.  This course is intended to provide the student with a solid foundation from which they can pursue further specialized study in the history of the Ottoman Empire, the Modern Middle East, and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Distribution: (HA-AS, GLC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Mostafa Minawi (mm2492)
Full details for NES 1561 : Introduction to the Ottoman Empire
NES 1602 Great Discoveries in Greek and Roman Archaeology

This introductory course surveys the archaeology of the ancient Greek and Roman Mediterranean. Each week, we will explore a different archaeological discovery that transformed scholars' understanding of the ancient world. From early excavations at sites such as Pompeii and Troy, to modern field projects across the Mediterranean, we will discover the rich cultures of ancient Greece and Rome while also exploring the history, methods, and major intellectual goals of archaeology.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Caitlin Barrett (ceb329)
Full details for NES 1602 : Great Discoveries in Greek and Roman Archaeology
NES 1660 The Vikings and their World

Globalization may seem like a recent hot topic, but it was already very much in vogue 1000 years ago when Norse explorers burst out of Scandinavia to journey as far as North America, Azerbaijan, the Mediterranean and the White Sea. This course will introduce students to the Norsemen and women of the Viking Age and the centuries following it, weaving together literary, chronicle, archaeological and other sources to tell the remarkable stories of these medieval entrepreneurs and of the many people and places they encountered. Along the way, students will also pick up crucial historical thinking skills: assessing change and continuity over time, learning the basics of source criticism, and gaining an appreciation for interdisciplinary research. This course qualifies for credit towards the undergraduate minor in Viking Studies. 

Distribution: (HA-AS, GLC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Oren Falk (of24)
Full details for NES 1660 : The Vikings and their World
NES 1776 Elementary Yiddish I

Provides an introduction to reading, writing, aural comprehension, speaking and grammar, as well as to some of the basic elements of Ashkenazi Jewish culture.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Forman (drf84)
Full details for NES 1776 : Elementary Yiddish I
NES 1923 FWS: Trees in Ancient Religion and Contemporary Thought

Judaism, Christianity, Islam feature vibrant trees in their mythopoetics; without trees, these religions would look different. With the recent renaissance in tree studies, which shows that trees think and have agency, it is time to reexamine the histories of trees and their role in shaping human conceptions of regeneration, life/death, good/evil. In order to appreciate trees in both ancient and modern thought, students will study scriptural texts from antiquity and beyond, art, and contemporary writing on vegetal life from botanists, philosophers, and novelists. Students will write five essays, which will build upon each other; the essays both summarize our work but also forge new questions about the cumulative histories of mythic trees. We will also utilize Cornell's arboretum for a dynamic classroom experience.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Matthew Westermayer (mrw288)
Full details for NES 1923 : FWS: Trees in Ancient Religion and Contemporary Thought
NES 1984 FWS: Hebrew Bible as Literature

What is the Hebrew Bible and why should one read it? While many people view it as a divinely-given text and a legal source, this course approaches it as a great literary compendium enjoyed by readers for millennia. Through study of biblical narrative, students will learn how the Bible's clipped style leaves questions of motive, intent, and psychology unanswered and pushes readers to contemplate situations and drawn their own conclusions. In this way, readers become interpreters and through written interpretations they make the text their own. Each presents their own Abraham, David, Hannah, or Jezebel. After reading key texts on biblical narrative by Erich Auerbach and Robert Alter, students will write their own critical and creative textual interpretations, evaluate specific interpretations and comparing different interpretations.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Philip Hollander (ph469)
Full details for NES 1984 : FWS: Hebrew Bible as Literature
NES 1997 FWS: Rabbinic Judaism: Literature and Beliefs

This course is an introduction to the earliest Jewish interpreters of the Bible. What did these interpreters of the Bible believe, and how did they interpret the Bible? And what do their writings teach us about the relationship between Jews, Christians, and other religions of the time? In this class, students read a variety of texts from the corpus of rabbinic literature—including stories about demons and angels; adultery and prostitution; the death penalty; redemption and the afterlife; covenant and exile; among other key themes. Readings focus on primary sources in translation and some introductory-level essays. Through close readings of texts, students learn the basics of argumentative writing in five essays, including: crafting an introduction; locating a problem; supporting a thesis; and writing effective conclusions.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jason Mokhtarian (jsm467)
Full details for NES 1997 : FWS: Rabbinic Judaism: Literature and Beliefs
NES 2008 The Aesthetics of Displacement

This course analyses autobiographical writings by authors who experienced settler colonialism, forced removals, and historical erasure. The course is intended to help answer questions around voice, indigeneity, and literary resistance in response to settler colonial violence. In its larger scheme, it asks: What are the shared aesthetics and themes of these writings? How do their authors relay generational and personal trauma? What are some of their literary and political interventions? Students will primarily read verse and prose memoirs by American Indian and Palestinian authors. The course takes a comparative turn as it engages with possible intersections between Palestinian and Native stories, especially those that are written within or about turbulent historical moments. Class discussions and assignments will have critical and creative components, and students are expected to write analytical pieces about the readings and fulfill a creative project that requires a more intimate engagement with the class's themes.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Full details for NES 2008 : The Aesthetics of Displacement
NES 2201 Intermediate Urdu Reading and Writing I

This course is designed to develop competence in Urdu reading and writing for students with a first-year knowledge of Hindi and knowledge of Urdu script. The goal of this course is to improve listening, speaking, reading and writing abilities in Urdu. By the end of the course, students will have the ability to read articles, write short stories and translate Urdu writings. May be taken concurrently with Intermediate Hindi.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Naaz Rizvi (nfr8)
Full details for NES 2201 : Intermediate Urdu Reading and Writing I
NES 2276 Sensational Religion

This course explores the relationships between the senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting), emotions (fear, happiness, sadness, etc.), and religion, especially religious practices and experience in history and our contemporary world. We begin by investigating how religious rituals engage the senses, asking questions like how and why is incense (and other smells) used in a variety of religious traditions? Why is sound/music such an important part of religious rituals throughout history? What does it mean to touch or taste a relic? We will consider how "feeling" and "experience" are produced by religious ritual and practice. We will also discuss controversial aspects of religious sensationalism: why does our contemporary media gravitate towards stories that "sensationalize" religion? Stories of violent fundamentalism and secretive religious societies grip our modern media and, it can be argued, also fueled much ancient discord and controversy about religious thought and practice. Our goal will be to look expansively across time periods and cultures as well as to focus more deeply on several case studies.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kim Haines-Eitzen (kjh10)
Full details for NES 2276 : Sensational Religion
NES 2599 Medicine, Magic and Science in the Ancient Near East

This course explores the history of medicine and other sciences in the ancient Near East, broadly defined. In addition to medicine, the other scientific disciplines covered in this course include mathematics, astrology, astronomy, alchemy, zoology, among others. Geographically, the course traces the transmission of scientific knowledge in ancient Babylonia, Iran, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and beyond. As such, the course offers students a tour of different ancient civilizations and corpora. Students read selections from cuneiform Akkadian tablets, Egyptian Christian Coptic spellbooks, rabbinic sources such as the Talmud, among many other works. At the same time, students will be required to critically engage recent scholarship in the history of science and medicine as a way to help frame their analyses of the ancient materials. The course interrogates how ancient civilizations transmitted and received scientific knowledge, as well as the relationship between what we today tend to call science, medicine, magic, and religion. This course is intended not only for students in the Humanities and Social Sciences, but also for those majoring in science or medicine.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jason Mokhtarian (jsm467)
Full details for NES 2599 : Medicine, Magic and Science in the Ancient Near East
NES 2610 Archaeology of the Ancient Near East

The Near East is often defined by "firsts": the first cities, writing, and complex societies. Archaeology has long looked to the region for explanations of the origins of civilization. The Middle East has also long been a place where archaeology and politics are inextricably intertwined, from Europe's 19th century appropriation of the region's heritage, to the looting and destruction of antiquities in recent wars in Syria and Iraq. This introductory course moves between past and present. It offers a survey of 10,000 years of human history, from the appearance of farming villages to the dawn of imperialism, while also engaging current debates on the contemporary stakes of archaeology in the Middle East. Covering Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and the Caucasus, our focus is on past material worlds and the modern politics in which they are entangled.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Lori Khatchadourian (lk323)
Full details for NES 2610 : Archaeology of the Ancient Near East
NES 2620 Jewish Modernity

In the past two centuries, Jewish men and women have adapted remarkably well to the modern condition, embracing the opportunities associated with higher education, city life, industrial capitalism and democratic politics.  Jewish artists, writers, scientists and philosophers can be found on every list of luminaries associated with the modern age; it is enough to mention Marx, Freud and Einstein to conjure up the celebrated image of Jewish participation in the modern project.  No less remarkable than these names is the resurgence of Jewish tradition, despite the inroads of secularization and the dissolution of communal self-government. This course explores the tensions implicit in the Jewish experience of modernity, marked by intense longing for personal and collective emancipation from religious obligation and social discipline, on the one hand, and by a powerful countervailing impulse to strengthen ethnic loyalties, to invigorate Jewish practice and to keep Jewish values intact. Drawing on various forms of Jewish expression, from the eighteenth century to the twentieth, we will address the contradictions implicit in the strange hybrid of "Jewish modernity."

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Olga Litvak (ol76)
Full details for NES 2620 : Jewish Modernity
NES 2655 Introduction to Islamic Civilization

At the beginning of the 7th century, a new religion, Islam, appeared in Arabia and by the end of the century, Muslims had defeated the Byzantines and Persians and created an empire that stretched from Spain to India. For the next millennium, Islam glittered. Its caliphs, courts, and capitals were grander, more powerful, and more sophisticated than those of any medieval king, duke or prince. In this course, we will trace the emergence and development of Islamic civilization from the birth of Muhammad ca. 570 to the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258. We will read the Qur'an and listen to its recitation; examine the career of the Prophet Muhammad; follow the course of the Arab conquests; explore the nature of the conflict between Sunnis and Shi'is; learn about the five pillars of Islam, sharia law, theology, and Sufism; and assess the achievements of Muslim intellectuals in literature, art, architecture, science, and philosophy.

Distribution: (HA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Powers (dsp4)
Full details for NES 2655 : Introduction to Islamic Civilization
NES 2686 The U.S. and the Middle East

This course examines the history of the United States' involvement with Middle East beginning with evangelical efforts in the 19th century and President Wilson's engagement with the colonial powers in the early 20th century during and after WWI. The discovery of vast Middle Eastern oil reserves and the retreat of the colonial powers from the region following WWII drew successive US administrations ever deeper into Middle Eastern politics. In due course, the US became entrenched in the post-colonial political imagination as heir to the British and the French especially as it challenged the Soviet Union for influence in the region during the Cold War. And that only takes the story to the mid-1950s and the Eisenhower administration. Our discussions will be based on secondary readings and primary sources as we interrogate the tension between realist and idealist policies toward the Middle East and trace how these tensions play out in subsequent developments including the origins and trajectory of the US strategic alliances with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey and conflict with Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the two Gulf Wars.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ross Brann (rb23)
Full details for NES 2686 : The U.S. and the Middle East
NES 2724 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible

The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is a repository of ancient Israelite religious, political, social, historical, and literary traditions. For the modern reader these ancient traditions are often obscured by a focus on the text as revelation. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the biblical world by reading the Hebrew Bible in translation, on its own terms, as a body of literature that evolved in an ancient Near Eastern context. The Bible itself will be the primary text for the course, but students will also be exposed to the rich and diverse textual traditions of the ancient Near East, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Moab, and Ugarit. In addition, this course will explore the impact of early biblical interpretation on shaping the monotheistic traditions inherited in the West. As participants in a secular course on the Bible, students will be challenged to question certain cultural assumptions about the composition and authorship of the Bible, and will be expected to differentiate between a text's content and its presumed meaning.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Lauren Monroe (lm283)
Full details for NES 2724 : Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
NES 2754 Wondrous Literatures of the Near East

This course examines Near East's rich and diverse literary heritage. We will read a selection of influential and wondrous texts from ancient to modern times, spanning geographically from the Iberian peninsula to Iran. We will trace three major threads: myths of creation and destruction; travel narratives; and poetry of love and devotion. Together we will read and discuss such ancient works as the 'Epic of Gilgamesh' and 'The Song of Songs,' as well as selections from medieval works such as the 'Travels' of Ibn Battuta, the 'Shahnameh' of Ferdowsi, poetry of Yehuda HaLevi, and The Thousand and One Nights. The modern unit will include work by Egyptian Nobel Laureate, Naguib Mahfouz. Students will also have the opportunity to research and analyze primary source materials in the collections of Cornell Rare Books and Manuscript Collection, and the Johnson Art Museum. All material is in English translation.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Deborah Starr (das86)
Full details for NES 2754 : Wondrous Literatures of the Near East
NES 3255 The Byzantine Empire: Culture and Society

An introduction to the art, history, and literature of the Byzantine Empire, its neighbors, and successors, ca. 500-1500.

Distribution: (HA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Benjamin Anderson (bwa32)
Full details for NES 3255 : The Byzantine Empire: Culture and Society
NES 3325 Literary Reading and Writing in Advanced Urdu

Designed for those students who have either taken Intermediate Urdu or are at the same level of competency in reading and writing skills. The goals of this class are to improve Urdu literary reading and writing abilities, primarily through reading various forms of Urdu prose. In addition, students learn about various genres of Urdu poetry and watch video clips and lectures that enhance listening and speaking abilities as well as the understanding and appreciation of Urdu culture.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Naaz Rizvi (nfr8)
Full details for NES 3325 : Literary Reading and Writing in Advanced Urdu
NES 3530 A Mediterranean Society and Its Culture

This course examines the cultural and historical interaction of Muslims and Jews from the emergence of Islam in the seventh century through the classical age of Islam down to the turn of the thirteenth century.   The intersection of the two cultures (scriptural, spiritual, intellectual, literary, communal, and interpersonal) and members of their respective religious communities will be studied through readings of primary texts (in translation).  The course will conclude with some brief reflections on historical memory and the modern and contemporary significance of the two religious communities' interactions during the classical age of Islam.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ross Brann (rb23)
Full details for NES 3530 : A Mediterranean Society and Its Culture
NES 3677 The Search for the Historical Muhammad

As the founder of Islam Muhammad is one of the most influential figures in world history. An important source for his life is the Sira of Ibn Ishaq (d. ca. 761), a biography that opens with Muhammad's birth ca. 570 and ends with his death in 632. If we take the narrative reports in this text at face-value, then Muhammad appears to have been born in the full light of history. But is the Sira a reliable source for the historical Muhammad? In this seminar, we will read this text in its entirely and analyze selected episodes from a critical historical perspective, with special attention to biblical and post-biblical models for the writing of sacred history.

Distribution: (HA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Powers (dsp4)
Full details for NES 3677 : The Search for the Historical Muhammad
NES 3735 Human Conflict: From Existential Clash to Coexistence in Israel-Palestine

Throughout human history, and its modern incarnation, communities have clashed just as often as states. This course sheds light on ethnic communities and conflicts, explicating their historical dynamics and social intricacies. What are ethnic identities and how do they emerge? What distinguishes ethnic identity from other social identities, such as religious and ideological identities? When does ethnicity mature into ethnonationalism, and why and how does it propel conflict and political violence? What are the possible ways to prevent, manage, transform and resolve ethnic conflicts? We shall address these and related questions drawing on key insights from various disciplines, focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Uriel Abulof (ua42)
Full details for NES 3735 : Human Conflict: From Existential Clash to Coexistence in Israel-Palestine
NES 3805 Israeli Politics

We are all the living dead – alive but bound to die, and know it. In this course we will learn how existential fears and anxieties shape our politics, partly through moral meaning-making. While the politics of fear is on the rise worldwide, Israel has seen it long ago. Throughout its existence, Israel has grown strong, but its existential fears have not subsided. Israel, moreover, can teach us about the role of freedom and morality in politics. Israel's existential fears, alongside the realization of choice, has prompted Zionists to seek existential legitimation. In recent years, however, a growing frustration at attainting such legitimacy has fostered "bad faith politics," substituting freedom with a sense of "no choice."

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Uriel Abulof (ua42)
Full details for NES 3805 : Israeli Politics
NES 3850 Middle East Politics

What explains authoritarian resilience in the Middle East? What are the causes and consequences of Islamist political attitudes and behavior? What is the historical legacy of colonialism and empire in the Middle East? This course will offer students the opportunity to discuss these and other questions related to the political, social, and economic development of the Middle East and North Africa.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Alexandra Blackman (adb295)
Full details for NES 3850 : Middle East Politics
NES 4337 Labor and Employment in the Middle East and North Africa

This course introduces students to the history, evolution and trajectory of state-labor relations, labor activism, and the politics of unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As the region with the highest concentration of non-democratic regimes in the world, the MENA provides a rich context for examining state efforts to control interest representation, and workers' struggles for freedom of association. In addition, the region features diverse political economic systems, making it ideal for examining the interaction between resource endowments and labor market dynamics. Finally, the region is ripe for the study of youth activism and the mobilization of the unemployed given that youth unemployment rates are higher in the MENA than any other world region.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Dina Bishara (db833)
Full details for NES 4337 : Labor and Employment in the Middle East and North Africa
NES 4520 Jewish Cities

From Jerusalem to Rome, from Shanghai to Marrakesh, Jews and cities have been shaping each other for thousands of years. This course ranges through time and space to examine how Jewish and other "minority" experiences offer a window onto questions of modernity and post-colonialism in intersections of the built environment with migration, urban space, and memory. Readings and film/video encompass historical, ethnographic, visual, architectural and literary materials to offer a broad look at materials on ghettos, empires, cosmopolitanism, tolerance, immigrant enclaves, race and ethnicity.

Distribution: (HA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Elissa Sampson (ejs362)
Full details for NES 4520 : Jewish Cities
NES 4542 The Modern Middle East During the Long Nineteenth Century

This senior/graduate seminar will tackle some of the main debates in the historiography of the Middle Eastern, by focusing on the history of Middle East during the period of Ottoman rule. The Middle East is a loosely defined geographic area, which for the purpose of this course will include parts of North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Fertile Crescent, and the Arabian Peninsula. Concentrating on the Middle East in the 19th century will provide the context in which to discuss ideas such as imperialism, colonialism, orientalism, center-periphery relations, centralization vs. decentralization and ethnic nationalism against the background of fast-moving developments of the Late Ottoman Empire.  Students will be expected to have basic background knowledge in Middle Eastern/Islamic History.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Mostafa Minawi (mm2492)
Full details for NES 4542 : The Modern Middle East During the Long Nineteenth Century
NES 4644 Globalism and Collapse in the Late Bronze Age World

Several major and minor kingdoms situated around the Eastern Mediterranean basin flourished during the 14th -12th centuries BCE before a widespread violent collapse occurred around 1175. Thousands of cuneiform and other documents speak to two major socioeconomic processes of the age: the creation of the first international system in world history, and the collapse of that system after about two hundred years. Our seminar uses archaeological evidence, paleoclimate studies, and textual analysis (in translation) to address several related issues. We look at how networks of information, wealth accumulation, and political power were created and what role they played in globalization and destabilization. We consider whether the key players were aware of the coming collapse, what if any counter-measures were deployed, and how some polities were more resilient than others and created even greater networks post-collapse. We analyze a variety of related sources, with close attention paid to the Amarna Letters and other Egyptian texts from the Ramesside era. Several Bronze Age and Iron Age shipwrecks are examined for their evidence of maritime connectivity. And throughout the course students will become familiar with the history, economy, cult, laws and daily life of Ugarit (Tell Ras Shamra, Syria), a cosmopolitan coastal kingdom whose unparalleled archaeological and textual record affords a particularly close view of the transformative moments of the Late Bronze Age.

Distribution: (HA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christopher Monroe (cmm253)
Full details for NES 4644 : Globalism and Collapse in the Late Bronze Age World
NES 4654 Themes in Mediterranean Archaeology

This seminar provides a higher-level general introduction to, and survey of, contemporary theories, methods, and approaches in the archaeology of the Mediterranean world. Rather than focusing on a specific geographical sub-region or chronological period, this course examines and critically assesses the practice and distinctive character of Mediterranean archaeology more broadly.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Caitlin Barrett (ceb329)
Full details for NES 4654 : Themes in Mediterranean Archaeology
NES 4663 Utopia Lost? Failure and its Aftermaths

What does it mean to consider something a failure? What happens when a movement or campaign never quite gets off the ground, never got the traction they wanted, when a dream never comes to fruition? This class will consider the question of failure through analyzing thwarted sociopolitical, artistic, religious movements across disparate global sites and historical moments, with a particular focus on what comes after, and how failure is determined, and by whom.  Case studies will include diverted leftist campaigns, millenarian movements past and present (what happens when the end of the world never comes), artistic initiatives that came and went, and filmic and literary interpretations of failures.  For longer description and instructor bio visit The Society for the Humanities website.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Seema Golestaneh (sg2327)
Full details for NES 4663 : Utopia Lost? Failure and its Aftermaths
NES 4991 Independent Study, Undergraduate Level

For undergraduates who wish to obtain research experience or do extensive reading on a special topic. Students select a topic in consultation with the faculty member who has agreed to supervise the course. For undergraduates who wish to obtain research experience or do extensive reading on a special topic. Students select a topic in consultation with the faculty member who has agreed to supervise the course.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ross Brann (rb23)
Full details for NES 4991 : Independent Study, Undergraduate Level
NES 4998 Senior Honors Essay

Each fall, a small number of highly qualified seniors enter the Near Eastern Studies Honors Program. The Honors Program is open to NES majors who have done superior work and who wish to devote a substantial part of their senior year to advanced, specialized, independent research and writing of a thesis. Successfully completing an honors thesis will require sustained interest, exceptional ability, diligence, and enthusiasm. Students must also take two honors courses NES 4998 in fall and NES 4999 in spring, in addition to the regular major requirements. While admission to the Honors Program and completion of a thesis do not guarantee that students will be awarded honors in Near Eastern Studies, most students find the experience as intellectually rewarding as it is rigorous.

Academic Career: UG Full details for NES 4998 : Senior Honors Essay
NES 4999 Senior Honors Essay

Each fall, a small number of highly qualified seniors enter the Near Eastern Studies Honors Program. The Honors Program is open to NES majors who have done superior work and who wish to devote a substantial part of their senior year to advanced, specialized, independent research and writing of a thesis.  Successfully completing an honors thesis will require sustained interest, exceptional ability, diligence, and enthusiasm. Students must also take two honors courses NES 4998 in fall and NES 4999 in spring, in addition to the regular major requirements. While admission to the Honors Program and completion of a thesis do not guarantee that students will be awarded honors in Near Eastern Studies, most students find the experience as intellectually rewarding as it is rigorous.

Academic Career: UG Full details for NES 4999 : Senior Honors Essay
NES 6330 A Mediterranean Society and Its Culture

This course examines the cultural and historical interaction of Muslims and Jews from the emergence of Islam in the seventh century through the classical age of Islam down to the turn of the thirteenth century.   The intersection of the two cultures (scriptural, spiritual, intellectual, literary, communal, and interpersonal) and members of their respective religious communities will be studied through readings of primary texts (in translation).  The course will conclude with some brief reflections on historical memory and the modern and contemporary significance of the two religious communities' interactions during the classical age of Islam.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Ross Brann (rb23)
Full details for NES 6330 : A Mediterranean Society and Its Culture
NES 6337 Labor and Employment in the Middle East and North Africa

This course introduces students to the history, evolution and trajectory of state-labor relations, labor activism, and the politics of unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As the region with the highest concentration of non-democratic regimes in the world, the MENA provides a rich context for examining state efforts to control interest representation, and workers' struggles for freedom of association. In addition, the region features diverse political economic systems, making it ideal for examining the interaction between resource endowments and labor market dynamics. Finally, the region is ripe for the study of youth activism and the mobilization of the unemployed given that youth unemployment rates are higher in the MENA than any other world region.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Dina Bishara (db833)
Full details for NES 6337 : Labor and Employment in the Middle East and North Africa
NES 6644 Globalism and Collapse in the Late Bronze Age World

Several major and minor kingdoms situated around the Eastern Mediterranean basin flourished during the 14th -12th centuries BCE before a widespread violent collapse occurred around 1175. Thousands of cuneiform and other documents speak to two major socioeconomic processes of the age: the creation of the first international system in world history, and the collapse of that system after about two hundred years. Our seminar uses archaeological evidence, paleoclimate studies, and textual analysis (in translation) to address several related issues. We look at how networks of information, wealth accumulation, and political power were created and what role they played in globalization and destabilization. We consider whether the key players were aware of the coming collapse, what if any counter-measures were deployed, and how some polities were more resilient than others and created even greater networks post-collapse. We analyze a variety of related sources, with close attention paid to the Amarna Letters and other Egyptian texts from the Ramesside era. Several Bronze Age and Iron Age shipwrecks are examined for their evidence of maritime connectivity. And throughout the course students will become familiar with the history, economy, cult, laws and daily life of Ugarit (Tell Ras Shamra, Syria), a cosmopolitan coastal kingdom whose unparalleled archaeological and textual record affords a particularly close view of the transformative moments of the Late Bronze Age.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Christopher Monroe (cmm253)
Full details for NES 6644 : Globalism and Collapse in the Late Bronze Age World
NES 6663 Utopia Lost? Failure and its Aftermaths

What does it mean to consider something a failure? What happens when a movement or campaign never quite gets off the ground, never got the traction they wanted, when a dream never comes to fruition? This class will consider the question of failure through analyzing thwarted sociopolitical, artistic, religious movements across disparate global sites and historical moments, with a particular focus on what comes after, and how failure is determined, and by whom.  Case studies will include diverted leftist campaigns, millenarian movements past and present (what happens when the end of the world never comes), artistic initiatives that came and went, and filmic and literary interpretations of failures.  For longer description and instructor bio visit The Society for the Humanities website.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Seema Golestaneh (sg2327)
Full details for NES 6663 : Utopia Lost? Failure and its Aftermaths
NES 6677 The Search for the Historical Muhammad

As the founder of Islam Muhammad is one of the most influential figures in world history. An important source for his life is the Sira of Ibn Ishaq (d. ca. 761), a biography that opens with Muhammad's birth ca. 570 and ends with his death in 632. If we take the narrative reports in this text at face-value, then Muhammad appears to have been born in the full light of history. But is the Sira a reliable source for the historical Muhammad? In this seminar, we will read this text in its entirely and analyze selected episodes from a critical historical perspective, with special attention to biblical and post-biblical models for the writing of sacred history.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: David Powers (dsp4)
Full details for NES 6677 : The Search for the Historical Muhammad
NES 6722 Graduate Colloquium

A series of lectures on a range of themes in the discipline sponsored by the Department of Near Eastern Studies. Presentations include lectures by invited speakers and works in progress presented by faculty and graduate students.

Academic Career: GR Full details for NES 6722 : Graduate Colloquium
NES 6960 Rites of Contact: Emergent German Literatures and Critical Method

New forms of German literature emerged in the wake of transnational labor migration, especially after 1989. Taking leave of a sociological model that interprets this literature only in terms of intercultural dialogue, this course juxtaposes prose fiction about cultural contact and critical theories of difference with two primary goals in mind. Students will be introduced to representative examples of contemporary German literatures of migration, and critical modes of conceptualizing cultural contact in Germany will be compared in relation to each other and in tension with the literary field. Focus on German literature of Turkish migration complemented by readings reflecting other transnational phenomena such as postsocialism, postcolonialism, globalization, refugees, world literature.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Leslie Adelson (laa10)
Full details for NES 6960 : Rites of Contact: Emergent German Literatures and Critical Method
NES 6991 Independent Study: Graduate Level

For graduate students who wish to do intensive reading on a focused topic. Students select a topic in consultation with the faculty member that has agreed to supervise the course.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Ross Brann (rb23)
Full details for NES 6991 : Independent Study: Graduate Level
NES 7520 Jewish Cities

From Jerusalem to Rome, from Shanghai to Marrakesh, Jews and cities have been shaping each other for thousands of years. This course ranges through time and space to examine how Jewish and other "minority" experiences offer a window onto questions of modernity and post-colonialism in intersections of the built environment with migration, urban space, and memory. Readings and film/video encompass historical, ethnographic, visual, architectural and literary materials to offer a broad look at materials on ghettos, empires, cosmopolitanism, tolerance, immigrant enclaves, race and ethnicity.  

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Elissa Sampson (ejs362)
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NES 7654 Themes in Mediterranean Archaeology

This seminar provides a higher-level general introduction to, and survey of, contemporary theories, methods, and approaches in the archaeology of the Mediterranean world. Rather than focusing on a specific geographical sub-region or chronological period, this course examines and critically assesses the practice and distinctive character of Mediterranean archaeology more broadly.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Caitlin Barrett (ceb329)
Full details for NES 7654 : Themes in Mediterranean Archaeology
HEBRW 1101 Elementary Modern Hebrew I

Intended for beginners. Provides a thorough grounding in reading, writing, grammar, oral comprehension, and speaking. Students who complete the course are able to function in basic situations in a Hebrew-speaking environment.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Shalom Shoer (ss66)
Full details for HEBRW 1101 : Elementary Modern Hebrew I
HEBRW 1103 Elementary Modern Hebrew III

Sequel to HEBRW 1101-HEBRW 1102. Continued development of reading, writing, grammar, oral comprehension, and speaking skills.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Shalom Shoer (ss66)
Full details for HEBRW 1103 : Elementary Modern Hebrew III
HEBRW 3101 Advanced Modern Hebrew I

This constitutes the first course in our third year of the Modern Hebrew language sequence.  Development of speech proficiency will be emphasized. Over the course of the semester, students will develop reading comprehension through reading a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts, listening comprehension through screening of filmic works and episodes drawn from popular television series, writing through communication about what is read and screened, as well as more personal topics, and speech through in class discussion and oral presentations.  Readings will include authentic and partially adapted contemporary short stories, poems and newspaper articles.  

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Philip Hollander (ph469)
Full details for HEBRW 3101 : Advanced Modern Hebrew I
HEBRW 3105 Life in Israel: Aspects of Israeli Society, Language and Literature

This course prioritizes reading comprehension through close reading of selected works of Modern Hebrew fiction, poetry, and drama grouped around a central theme and read in their cultural and historical contexts. This course also develops oral and written communication, as well as listening comprehension, through a variety of means, including class discussion, oral presentations, viewing of Israeli films and television, and short analytical papers.  

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Philip Hollander (ph469)
Full details for HEBRW 3105 : Life in Israel: Aspects of Israeli Society, Language and Literature
ARAB 1201 Elementary Arabic I

This two-course sequence assumes no previous knowledge of Arabic and provides a thorough grounding in the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. It starts with the alphabet and the number system and builds the four skills gradually and systematically through carefully selected and organized materials focusing on specific, concrete and familiar topics such as self identification, family, travel, food, renting an apartment, study, the weather, etc.). These topics are listed in the textbook's table of contents.  The student who successfully completes the two-course sequence will have mastered about 1000 basic words and will be able to: 1) understand and actively participate in conversations on a limited range of practical topics such as self-identification, family, school, work, the weather, travel, etc., 2) read and understand, with the help of a short list of words, passages of up to 180 words written in Arabic script, and 3) discuss orally in class and write a 50-word paragraph in Arabic.  The two-course sequence aims to take the student from the Novice to the Intermediate Mid level according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Abdel-Fattah Shahda (as3859)
Full details for ARAB 1201 : Elementary Arabic I
ARAB 1203 Intermediate Arabic I

In this two-course sequence learners continue to develop the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing and grammar foundation through the extensive use of graded materials on a wide variety of topics.  While more attention is given to developing native-like pronunciation and to grammatical accuracy than in ARAB 1201 and ARAB 1202, the main focus of the course will be on encouraging fluency and facility in understanding the language and communicating ideas in it.  The student who successfully completes this two-course sequence will have mastered over 1500 new words and will be able to: 1) understand and actively participate in conversations related to a wide variety of topics beyond those covered in ARAB 1201 and ARAB 1202, such as the history and geography of the Arab world, food and health, sports, economic matters, the environment, politics, the Palestine problem, etc. 2) read and understand, with the help of a short list of words, passages of up to 300 words, and 3) discuss orally in class and write a 150-word paragraph in Arabic with fewer grammatical errors than in ARAB 1202.  The two-course sequence aims to take the student from the Intermediate Mid to the Advanced Mid level according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS, GLC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Bilal Al-Omar (bma57)
Full details for ARAB 1203 : Intermediate Arabic I
ARAB 3201 Advanced Arabic I

In this two-semester sequence, learners will be introduced to authentic, unedited Arabic language materials ranging from short stories, and poems, to newspaper articles dealing with social,  political,  and cultural issues. Emphasis will be on developing fluency in oral expression through discussions of issues presented in the reading and listening selections. There will be more focus on the development of native-like pronunciation and accurate use of grammatical structures than in the previous four courses. A primary objective of the course is the development of the writing skill through free composition exercises in topics of interest to individual students.  This course starts where ARAB 2202 leaves off and continues the development of the four language skills and grammar foundation using 18 themes, some new and some introduced in previous courses but are presented here at a more challenging level.  The student who successfully completes this two-course sequence have mastered over 3000 new words and will be able, within context of the 18 new and recycled themes to: 1) understand and actively participate in conversations, 2) read and understand, with the help of a short list of words, authentic, unedited passages of up to 400 words, and 3) discuss orally in class and write a 300-word paragraph in Arabic with fewer grammatical errors than in ARAB 2202.  The two-course sequence aims to take the student from the Advanced Mid to the Superior level according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS, GLC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Munther Younes (may2)
Full details for ARAB 3201 : Advanced Arabic I
ARAB 4200 Modern Arabic Literature

The course is an introductory survey to different genres in Modern Arabic Literature (Poetry and prose). It aims at improving the four language skills at an advanced level, as well as appreciating Arabic literature. All readings will be in Arabic. The readings are selected from among the most salient literary texts by major writers form the 20th century.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, GLC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Bilal Al-Omar (bma57)
Full details for ARAB 4200 : Modern Arabic Literature
TURK 1330 Elementary Turkish I

In this course, learners will develop a basic foundation in reading, writing, listening, and beginning conversation skills in contemporary Turkish. In this introductory semester, learners will read short texts on Turkish culture, handle non-complex social conversations, understand sentence-level statements and write simple paragraphs on familiar topics. The course format will focus on initially exploring a subject through listening, video, and reading short pieces or excerpts, before moving into practice and application through informal presentations, discussions, short writing, and role play. This course is for new learners of Turkish.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Banu Ozer Griffin (bo98)
Full details for TURK 1330 : Elementary Turkish I
TURK 1332 Intermediate Turkish I

In this course, learners will advance their reading, writing, listening and conversation skills in contemporary Turkish as they move towards extended conversation, written communication, academic listening/watching, and research. The format of this program will focus on reading authentic materials, talking about topics of interest, giving presentations, writing short essays, and understanding the main points of a lecture and certain media, such as TV programs, interviews, and talk shows. Learners will start to actively determine the direction of their development via input on subjects for group work, presentations and further reading and research.

Distribution: (ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Banu Ozer Griffin (bo98)
Full details for TURK 1332 : Intermediate Turkish I
PERSN 1320 Elementary Persian-Farsi I

Intended for beginners and heritage speakers alike, this course is a quick and easy way to a popular worldly language in a modern day context (Farsi)!  Students develop all four skills - speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Additional materials from authentic culture-focused readings and Persian poetry are an integral part of the curriculum. By the end of this course students will be able to actively participate in conversations centered around family and friends, hometown, country, studies and work, daily activities, modern Iran as well as write extensively on familiar topics. Students will acquire cultural competence and be able to function in authentic Persian cultural context using the taarof.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Iago Gocheleishvili (ig44)
Full details for PERSN 1320 : Elementary Persian-Farsi I
PERSN 1322 Intermediate Persian-Farsi I

The course is designed with strong integration of modern colloquial Persian (Farsi).  Only colloquial Persian is used for all speaking and listening activities, while reading and writing tasks are performed in formal Persian. Authentic material drawn from Persian language TV, radio and movies is introduced regularly in accordance with the topic and vocabulary of given week.  By the end of the semester students will be able to speak, read and comprehend material on a range of social, cultural, political and everyday topics. You'll learn how to write emails and notes as educated Persian speakers, read Persian newspapers and comprehend audio material intended for native speakers. We'll also delve into Persian folk tales, modern Persian rap and pop and Persian humor.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Iago Gocheleishvili (ig44)
Full details for PERSN 1322 : Intermediate Persian-Farsi I
AKKAD 1410 Akkadian Language I: Code of Hammurabi

This course is a basic introduction to Akkadian, the language that dominated the writing of ancient Iraq for 2,500 years. It was the language of the empires of Babylonia and Assyria and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Students will become familiar with the basic grammar of Akkadian and will, by the end of the semester, be reading and translating the Code of Hammurabi in the original cuneiform script.

Distribution: (ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christopher Monroe (cmm253)
Full details for AKKAD 1410 : Akkadian Language I: Code of Hammurabi
AKKAD 6410 Akkadian Language I: Code of Hammurabi

This course is a basic introduction to Akkadian, the language that dominated the writing of ancient Iraq for 2,500 years. It was the language of the empires of Babylonia and Assyria and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Students will become familiar with the basic grammar of Akkadian and will, by the end of the semester, be reading and translating the Code of Hammurabi in the original cuneiform script.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Christopher Monroe (cmm253)
Full details for AKKAD 6410 : Akkadian Language I: Code of Hammurabi