May 26, 2024  
Course Catalog 2017-2018 
Course Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Middle East and North Africa Studies

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Jafar Mahallati - Chair (Department of Religion)


Sarah Al-Kazaz (Department of Political Science)
Basem Al-Raba’a (Arabic)
Farshid Emami (Islamic Art)
Jaleh Jalili (Sociology)


Middle East and North Africa studies at Oberlin draws upon faculty and courses across the humanities and social sciences.  We construe the region broadly, including Africa north of the Sahara, the Arabian Peninsula, Eastern Mediterranean, Iran, Turkey, and the Red Sea and Gulf littoral states. Students can add a MENA minor to any other course of study.  Completion of a MENA minor demonstrates a basic level of familiarity with this region; the range of courses permits students to develop their curriculum and to pursue deeper and broader studies beyond the minor requirements.   Because of the wide range of subject matters relevant to understanding the region, many courses from differing disciplinary orientations can count toward the minor with the only subject requirement being a beginning knowledge of at least one of the languages used in the region.

Middle East and North Africa Courses

Courses applying to the MENA minor:


  1. ARBC 101-102 - Beginning Arabic I and II
  2. ARBC 201-202 - Intermediate Arabic I and II
  3. FREN 373 - Introduction à la littérature francophone
  4. FYSP 042 - The River Nile: Power, Capital and Revolt in Egypt
  5. HIST 121, 122 - MENA History from the Rise of Islam to the present
  6. HIST 132 - Introduction to Jewish Civilization, II (from 1492 on)
  7. Hist-383 “Borders, Wars, and Refugees in MENA, from the Ottomans to ISIL”
  8. Hist- 401 “U.S. Foreign Policy in MENA”
  9. JWST 101-102 -Elementary Modern Hebrew I, II
  10. HIST 486 - France and Algeria, 1830-1962
  11. HIST/JWST 131, 132 - Jewish History I, II from Biblical Antiquity the Present
  12. JWST/RELG 208 - New Testament and Christian Origins
  13. POLT 112 - Introduction to Middle East Politics
  14. POLT 122 - Colloquium: Israel-Palestine Conflict
  15. POLT 263 - Comparative Political Economy in the Middle East
  16. POLT 264 - Urban Politics in Developing Cities
  17. POLT 312 - Mastering Nature: The Politics of Science and Technology in the Middle East
  18. RELG 108 - Introduction to Religion: Women and the Western Traditions
  19. RELG 205 - Hebrew Bible in its Ancient Near Eastern Context
  20. RELG 208 - New Testament and Christian Origins
  21. RELG 272 - Introduction to the Qur’an
  22. RELG 270 - Islam
  23. RELG 275 - Religion and Politics in the Modern Muslim World
  24. RELG 373 - Islamic Mystic Traditions, and Literature, Seminar
  25. RELG 276 - The Ethics of Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking in Christianity and Islam
  26. RELG 390 - Forgiveness in Muslim and Christian Traditions
  27.  Arabic 151 - Arab Cinema (will be counted only as a half course for MENA requirements)
  28. ARTS 381: Cities and Monuments of the Islamic World, 1300-1700 (intermediate course)
  29. ARTS 481: Architecture, Art, and Literature in Islamic Cultures (Seminar)
  30. RELG 274: Friendship: Perspectives from Religion, Politics, Economics, and Arts
  31. HIST 396: U.S. Foreign Policy in MENA
  32. HIST 371: Muslim Politics in Modern South Asia
  33. Arabic 153: Language and Society in the Arab World

Requirements for the Minor

Acquire a MENA Studies minor advisor;

Demonstrate knowledge of first year Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi or Turkish by:
•    Completing two semesters of college-level study at Oberlin or elsewhere; or
•    Attaining first-year or better proficiency as certified by an instructor of the relevant language at Oberlin; or
•    First-year or better proficiency as certified on a case-by-case basis for languages not taught at Oberlin.

Complete at least five additional full academic courses from the MENA class list or their equivalent (for instance at other institutions) from at least two departments or programs and including at least two above the introductory level, not including those applied to the language requirement.

Courses in which a student has earned a letter grade lower than a C- or P cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of the minor.

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