Fall 2012 MESAAS Courses


This information is subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Registrar's Directory of Classes.

Note that enrollment in language courses is determined in some cases by placement examinations. See Languages for details, and consult the pages on specific languages, such as Arabic for further information. Language courses must be taken for a letter grade. Pass/Fail or Registration credit (R) is not permitted.

For course requirements, see the pages on the Graduate and Undergraduate programs.

Course Numbering System

  • 1000 and 2000: Undergraduate-level courses. Introductory and intermediate language courses are numbered at the 1000 level.
  • 3000: Advanced undergraduate courses.
  • 4000: Courses for graduate students and, in some cases, advanced undergraduates.
  • 6000 and higher: Graduate-level courses; some 8000- and 9000-level courses are reserved for Ph.D. students only.

The following course designators appear in abbreviated form:

  • MDES (Designator for all MESAAS courses that are not cross listed)
  • AHUM (Asian Humanities)
  • ASCM (Asian Civilizations-Middle East)
  • CLME (Comparative Literature-Middle East)
  • HSME (History-Middle East)
  • ANME (Anthropology of Middle East)
INTRO TO ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION ASCM V2003
Professor George Saliba  

Islamic civilization and its characteristic political, social, and religious institutions and intellectual traditions from its pre-Islamic Arabian setting to the present. Lecture and recitation. Islamic civilization and its characteristic political, social, and religious institutions and intellectual traditions.

THEORIES AND CULTURE-MIDDLE EAST AND SOUTH ASIA MDES W3000
Professor G. Anidjar  

Required of all majors. Enrollment limited to 35 students. Critical introduction to theories of culture as they are related to the Middle East and South Asia. Enables students to articulate their emerging knowledge of these two regions and cultures in a theoretically informed language. Required of all majors. Introduces theories of culture particularly related to the Middle East and South Asia. Theoretical debates on the nature and function of culture as a symbolic reading of human collectivities. Examines critical cultural studies of the Middle East and South Asia. Enables students to articulate their emerging knowledge of Middle East and Asian cultures in a theoretically informed language.

MAJOR TEXTS: MIDDLE EAST AND INDIA AHUM V3399
Professor Wael Hallaq  

Readings in translation and discussion of texts of Middle Eastern and Indian origin. The Qur'an, Islamic philosophy, Sufi poetry, the Upanishads, Buddhist sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, Indian epics and drama, and Gandhi's Autobiography.

VARIANTS OF THE ISRAELI NOVEL MDES W3529
Professor Dan Miron  

This course will provide an historical view of the Israeli novel throughout its sixty years of existence, and, at the same time, focus thematically on the main issues Israeli fiction grappled with. It will start with the reading of texts which offer a critical hindsight view of the development of the Zionist project throughout the first half of the twentieth century both in pre-mandatory and in mandatory Palestine, then turn to Israel itself during its early days (the 1950s), and to the conflicts and dichotomies which eventually changed its character, such as the emerging awareness of the devastating and lingering impact of the Holocaust, the unrelenting and seemingly unsolvable Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the coarsening of the fiber of Israeli society once it forfeited the idealistic halo of its years of nascence.

CENTRAL QUESTIONS IN ISLAMIC LAW MDES W3923
Professor Wael Hallaq  

Through detailed discussions of certain landmarks in Islamic legal history (e.g., origins; early formation; sources of law; intellectual make-up; the workings of court; legal change; women in the law; legal effects of colonialism; modernity and legal reform, etc.), the course aims at providing an introductory but integrated view of Islamic law, a definition, so to speak, of what it was/is.

THEORIES AND METHODS: MIDDLE EAST, SOUTH ASIA, AND AFRICA MDES G4000
Professor Timothy Mitchell  

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission. Explores recent studies on the Middle East with explicitly stated theoretical orientations that may be grouped under three broad catagories of nationalism, discipline, and power and resistance. Methodologies as diverse as comparative method, post-structuralism, narrative, and ethnography are not investigated in the abstract but in the context of rich empirical case studies.

FAMILY IN PRE-MODERN ISLAM MDES G4229
Professor Alan Verskin  

This course explores the religious ideals and practical realities of family life in the medieval Islamic world. We begin by discussing some of the problems of both defining the term family and of using medieval historical sources. We will investigate the diverse kinds of relationships which were thought to exist between husbands and wives, siblings, in-laws, co-wives in polygamous marriages, people related through marriage and adoption, and domestic slaves. We will discuss medieval attitudes towards marriage and divorce, sexuality and celibacy, family planning and childhood. We will also examine the extent to which Muslim women participated in various political, economic, and social spheres.

ISLAMICATE CULTURE IN ITS ISLAMIC AND JEWISH FORMS MDES G4247
Professor Alan Verskin  

The historian Marshall Hodgson invented the term “Islamicate” to refer to cultural phenomena which do not pertain to the Islamic religion but which have been historically associated with places in which Muslims live. Thus a synagogue built in Egypt might exhibit Islamicate architecture but would have no formal association with Islam itself. In this course we will read some of the great works written by Muslims and Jews in the medieval Islamic world. We will examine what features of these works made them appealing across religious boundaries. We will explore what makes a work Islamicate and in what ways these features were considered by these authors to be separate from Islam itself. Thus, for example, we will investigate how the works of the Jewish philosopher Maimonides can be Islamicate, but not Islamic and how this made it possible for them to be read and enjoyed by Muslim audiences. All texts will be provided in English translation.

POLITICS IN INDIA MDES G4601
Professor Sudipta Kaviraj  

This course will combine study of long-term historical sociology with more short term understanding of policies and their possible effects. Though its main purpose will be to provide students with an understanding of politics after independence, it will argue, methodologically, that this understanding should be based on a study of historical sociology plotting long-term shifts in the structure of social power.

INDIA BEFORE COLONIALISM: CULTURE, SOCIETY, POLITY MDES G4623
Professor Sheldon Pollock  

This course is designed as an introduction to core topics in the study of South Asia prior to 1800. The course is intended for MA and beginning PhD students as well as upper-level undergraduates who have already taken at least one course in South Asian Studies. It will expose students to the most important new scholarship on cultural, social and political dimensions of the subcontinent during the pre-colonial era. The course will explore three areas of inquiry. The first and most straightforward will look into what we are learning about the actual organization of knowledge in traditional India. The second is how do the readings help us measure, retrospectively, the transformation of knowledge acquisition introduced by European colonialism. The third area concerns questions of scholarship itself; how are objects of analysis identified, or created, in these texts; how is evidence deployed, arguments formulated and knowledge advanced?

READINGS IN CLASSICAL ARABIC MDES G6210
Professor George Saliba  

Readings and analysis of texts, with discussion of the nature and development of the genres within the context of Islamic thought. One genre covered each term.

NATIONALISM IN MIDDLE EAST MDES G6031
Professor Joseph A. Massad  

This course intends to familiarize students with the most recent theories dealing with nationalism from a variety of angles and perspectives. In addition to covering the theoretical material, the course also examines two case studies of nationalism, Arab unionist nationalism and the Zionist colonial-settler nationalism. The course will discuss issues of gender, law, sexuality, race, tradition, narration, in the context of studying the formation of national identities.

DYNAMICS OF ISRAELI CULTURE CLME G6530
Professor Dan Miron  

The course will survey the development of Israeli Literature within three time sections and along the evolving process of its three main genres. The time sections are those a) the birth of Israeli literature in the aftermath of the 1948 War (the 1950s); b)the maturation of Israeli literature during the 1960s and 1970s; c) Israeli Literature in the era of the peace process and the Intifadas (1980s and 1990s). The genres are those of lyrical poetry, prose fiction (mainly novels), and drama. The course will also follow the crystallization of three sets of Israeli poetics: the conservative (realistic) one, the modernist, and the post-modernist ones. All texts will be available in English translations. Participation does not depend on former knowledge of Hebrew or Israeli literature.

POSTCOLONIAL THEORY MDES G6600
Professor Sudipta Kaviraj  

This course will go over some philosophical and interpretative problems raised by recent works in a field described as "postcolonial theory". It will start with the original debates about "Orientalism" – particularly its critical arguments about the question of representation of the Orient in art and literature, the question of the writing of history, and the logic of basic concepts in the social sciences. The course will analyse some "Orientalist" texts in detail, assess the criticisms offered by postcolonial writers, and take up these three problems – of representation, history and conceptualization for detailed, rigorous critical discussion.

 

LANGUAGE COURSES


Middle East Languages


Arabic

ARABIC FOR HERITAGE SPEAKERS I MDES W1208
Youssef Nouhi
FIRST YEAR ARABIC I MDES W1210
Youssef Nouhi
Reem Faraj
Tarik Belhoussein
May Ahmar
Taoufik Ben-Amor
Ouijdane Absi

An introduction to the language of classical and modern Arabic literature.

FIRST YEAR ARABIC II MDES W1211
Reem Faraj

An introduction to the language of classical and modern Arabic literature.

SECOND YEAR ARABIC I MDES W1214
Ghada Badawi
Rym Bettaieb
Tarik Belhoussein

Prerequisite: MDES W1210-W1211 or the equivalent. A continuation of the study of the language of contemporary writing.

SECOND YEAR ARABIC II MDES W1215
Oujidane Absi

Prerequisite: MDES W1210-W1211 or the equivalent. A continuation of the study of the language of contemporary writing.

THIRD YEAR ARABIC I MDES W4210
Ghada Badawi
Rym Bettaieb
4TH YEAR ARABIC I: MODERN PROSE MDES W4212
May Ahmar
ADVANCED ARABIC GRAMMAR REVIEW MDES W4216
Taoufik Ben-Amor
READINGS IN CLASSICAL ARABIC I MDES G6210
George Saliba

Readings and analysis of texts, with discussion of the nature and development of the genres within the context of Islamic thought. One genre covered each term.


Hebrew

HEBREW FOR HERITAGE SPEAKERS I MDES W1517
Nehama R. Bersohn

Hebrew for Heritage Speakers I forms part of a year-long sequence with Hebrew for Heritage Speakers II. The course is intended for those who have developed basic speaking and listening skills through exposure to Hebrew at home or in day-school programs but do not use Hebrew as their dominant language and have not reached the level required for exemption from the Columbia language requirement. Heritage speakers differ in the degree of their fluency, but their vocabulary is often limited to topics in daily life and many lack skills in reading and writing to match their ability to converse. The course focuses on grammar and vocabulary enrichment, exposing students to a variety of cultural and social topics in daily life and beyond. By the end of the semester students are able to read and discuss simple texts and write about a variety of topics. Successful completion of the year-long sequence prepares students to enroll in third-year modern Hebrew.

1ST YEAR MODERN HEBREW: ELEMENTARY I MDES W1510
Rina Kreitman
Illan Gonen

This is an introductory course for which no prior knowledge is required. Equal emphasis is given to listening, speaking, reading, writing and grammar. Daily homework includes grammar exercises, short answers, reading, or paragraph writing. Frequent vocabulary and grammar quizzes.

2ND YEAR MODERN HEBREW: INTERMEDIATE I MDES W1512
Rina Kreitman
Illan Gonen

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: MDES W1511 or the equivalent. Equal emphasis is given to listening, speaking, reading and writing. Regular categories of the Hebrew verb, prepositions, and basic syntax are taught systematically. Vocabulary building. Daily homework includes grammar exercises, short answers, reading, or short compositions. Frequent vocabulary and grammar quizzes.

3RD YEAR MODERN HEBREW I MDES W4510
Nehama R. Bersohn

Prerequisites: Hebrew W1513 or W1515 or the instructor's permission. Students are expected to have basic familiarity with regular and irregular verbs in five categories of the Hebrew verb system: Pa'al, Pi'el, Hif'il, Hitpa'el and Nif'al. The course focuses on vocabulary building and on development of reading skills, using adapted literary and journalistic texts with and without vowels. Verb categories of Pu'al and Huf'al are taught systematically. Other verb forms are reviewed in context. A weekly hour is devoted to practice in conversation. Daily homework includes reading, short answers, compositions, listening to web-casts, and giving short oral presentations via voice e-mail. Frequent vocabulary quizzes.


Persian

ELEMENTARY PERSIAN I MDES W1710
Ghazzal Dabiri
Hassan Hussain

An introduction to the spoken and written language of contemporary Iran.

INTERMEDIATE PERSIAN I MDES W1712
Ghazzal Dabiri

Prerequisite: MDES W1710-W1711 or the equivalent. A general review of the essentials of grammar; practice in spoken and written Persian; Arabic elements in Persian; selected readings emphasizing Iranian life and culture; materials from Tajikistan and Afghanistan, Indari.

ADVANCED PERSIAN I MDES W4710
Ghazzal Dabiri

Turkish

ELEMENTARY MODERN TURKISH I MDES W1910
Zuleyha Colak
INTERMEDIATE MODERN TURKISH I MDES W1912
Ihsan Colak
ADVANCED TURKISH I MDES W4910
Ihsan Colak
BEGINNING OTTOMAN TURKISH MDES W4921
Zuleyha Colak

Armenian

ELEMENTARY ARMENIAN I MDES W1310
Charry Karamanoukian
INTERMEDIATE ARMENIAN I MDES W1312
Charry Karamanoukian

Prerequisites: MDES W1310-W1311 or the equivalent. A continuation of the study of reading, writing and speaking of Armenian.


South Asian Languages


Sanskrit

ELEMENTARY SANSKRIT I MDES W1401
Guy Leavitt

An introduction to classical Sanskrit. Grammar and reading of texts.

INTERMEDIATE SANSKRIT I MDES W1404
Guy Leavitt

Reading and grammatical analysis of a literary text, chosen from the dramatic and narrative tradition.

ADVANCED SANSKRIT I MDES W4810
Sheldon Pollock

Prerequisites: Two years of Sanskrit or instructor permission The two levels of advanced Sanskrit are typically given in alternate years. In 2005-06, kavya and alankarasastra will be offered; in 2006-07, mimamsa and nyaya. Additional courses, including Introduction to Panini and Introduction to the Literary Prakrits, are also available periodically. Final examinations will be required of all students in the first year of Advanced Sanskrit. In the second year, students are required to prepare a research project in lieu of the examination. This may be a research paper, a book or articles review, a bibliographical study, a translation, or whatever will advance the student’s research capabilities.


Hindi-Urdu

HINDI FOR HERITAGE SPEAKERS I MDES W1608
Rakesh Ranjan

This is an accelerated course for students of South Asian origin who already possess a knowledge of basic vocabulary and limited speaking and listening skills in Hindi. They may not have sufficient skills in reading and writing but are able to converse on familiar topics such as: self, family, likes, dislikes and immediate surroundings. This course will focus on developing knowledge of the basic grammar of Hindi and vocabulary enrichment by exposing students to a variety of cultural and social topics related to aspects of daily life; and formal and informal registers. Students will be able to read and discuss simple texts and write about a variety of everyday topics by the end of the semester.

URDU FOR HERITAGE SPEAKERS I MDES W1614
Aftab Ahmad

Prerequisites: A knowledge of basic vocabulary and limited speaking and listening skills in Urdu. An accelerated course for students of South Asian origin who already possess a knowledge of basic vocabulary and limited speaking and listening skills in Urdu.

ELEMENTARY HINDI-URDU I MDES W1610
Aftab Ahmad
Dalpat Rajpurohit
Rakesh Ranjan

An introduction to the most widely spoken language of South Asia. Along with an understanding of the grammar, the course offers practice in listening and speaking. The Hindi (Devanagari) script is used for reading and writing.

INTERMEDIATE HINDI-URDU I MDES W1612
Aftab Ahmad
Dalpat Rajpurohit

Prerequisites: MDES W1610-W1611 or the instructor's permission. Continuing practice in listening, speaking, and grammatical understanding. Along with the Hindi (Devanagari) script, the Urdu (Perso-Arabic) script is taught in the class; both scripts are used for reading and writing.

READINGS IN HINDI LITERATURE I MDES W4610
Allison Busch

Prerequisites: MDES W1613 or the instructor's permission. Conducted largely in Hindi. Includes reading and discussion of selected literary, social science, historical, and/or journalistic texts. Since the content changes each term, the course may be repeated for credit.

ADVANCED HINDI-URDU I MDES W4624
Dalpat Rajpurohit

This is a third year (or fifth semester) course in the Hindi-Urdu program that aims to continue building upon the existing listening, speaking, reading, writing and cultural skills in Hindi and Urdu. Students will be expected to expand their vocabulary, enhance their structural accuracy and develop their cultural appropriateness through their enthusiastic participation in classroom activities and immersing themselves in the speech community outside. The objective of the course is to strengthen students’ language skills and to go beyond them to understand and describe situations and people, understand and discuss short stories, news items and events. Writing in the target language will be emphasized throughout as a support skill to enable students to use their diverse vocabulary and grammatical structures. This course will prepare students for “Advanced Hindi-Urdu II” which will be offered in the spring semester.


Tamil

ELEMENTARY TAMIL I MDES W1101
D. Samuel Sudanandha

Introduces students to the basic grammatical and syntactical skills required to function adequately in a Tamil-speaking environment. Of particular interest to students planning to conduct scholarly research or fieldwork in that region of the world. Introduces students to the rich culture of the Indian subcontinent where Tamil is spoken.

INTERMEDIATE TAMIL I MDES W1201
D. Samuel Sudanandha

Prerequisites: MDES W1101-W1102 or the instructor's permission. Further develops students' written and oral proficiency in order to allow them to function adequately in a Tamil-speaking environment. Of particular interest to students planning to conduct scholarly research or fieldwork in a Tamil-speaking context. Develops the students' appreciation for the rich culture of the Indian subcontinent where Tamil is spoken.

ADVANCED TAMIL I MDES W4118
D. Samuel Sudanandha

 



African Languages


Swahili

ELEMENTARY SWAHILI I SWHL W1101
Abdul Nanji
Jane N. Clayton

Essentials of grammar, basic vocabulary, practice in speaking and reading Swahili the most widely used indigenous language of East Africa.

INTERMEDIATE SWAHILI I SWHL W1201
Abdul Nanji

Prerequisites: SWHL 1101-1102 or instructor's permission A review of the essentials of Swahili grammar; detailed analysis of Swahili texts; practice in conversation.

ADVANCED SWAHILI I SWHL W3335
Abdul Nanji

Wolof

ELEMENTARY WOLOF I WOLOF W1101
Mariame Sy

Introduction to the basic grammatical structures of Wolof, a major language of West Africa spoken in Senegal and Gambia.

INTERMEDIATE WOLOF I WOLOF W1201
Mariame Sy

Prerequisites: WLOF W1101-W1102 or the instructor's permission. Further develop a student's knowledge of Wolof, a major language of West Africa spoken primarily in Senegal and Gambia.

ADVANCED WOLOF I WOLOF W3331
Mariame Sy

Zulu

ELEMENTARY ZULU I ZULU W1101
John Zuzo

Introduces students to the basic structures of Zulu, a Bantu language spoken in South Africa, especially in the Zululand area of Kwa Zulu/Natal province

INTERMEDIATE ZULU I ZULU W1201
John Zuzo

Prerequisites: ZULU W1201-W1202 or the instructor's permission. Provides students with an in-depth review of the essentials of the Zulu grammar. Students are also able to practice their language skills in conversation.