Spring 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)
Contemporary Islamic Civilization ASCM V2008 ASCM V2008
Professor George A Saliba

The contemporary Islamic world studied through freshly translated texts; recorded interviews with religious, political, and intellectual leaders; and films highlighting the main artistic and cultural currents. Topics include religion and society, religion and politics, issues of development, theories of government, gender issues, East-West confrontation, theatre, arts, films, poetry, music, and the short novel.

Witness: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Representation CLME W3320
Professor Nanor Kebranian

This is an interdisciplinary course considering the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of texts witnessing to contemporary experiences of suffering. Coursework is thoroughly comparative and includes readings and viewings of literary and visual representations, including philosophy, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, painting, photography and film. Students are expected to engage with some of the following questions: Who is a/the witness? What are, if any, the ethical imperatives of representing suffering? What may be the aesthetic and/or ethical limits of such representations?

Middle East / India AHUM V3399
Professor Allison Busch

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

Zionism: A Cultural Perspective MDES W3541
Professor Dan Miron

This course, based on Zionist texts of various kinds, offers a view of Zionism as a cultural revolution aimed at redefining Judaism and the Jewish Identity.

Language, History, Catastrophe: Tamil Worlds MDES W3620
Professor Bernard Bate

Though Tamil has been sung, spoken, and written since at least the first centuries of the Common Era the Tamil People are only about one hundred years old. We will interrogate this seeming paradox by exploring 1) Tamils deep literary tradition and history; 2) the politicization of a language and the creation of the Tamil People as a modern political community; and 3) how language and history themselves were deployed in the catastrophic clash of modern peoples the Tamils and the Sinhalese in contemporary Sri Lanka.

Contemporary Culture in the Arab World MDES W3920
Professor Joseph Massad

This seminar, designed for seniors, aims to acquaint students with the notion and theoretical understanding of culture and to introduce them to a critical method by which they can study and appreciate contemporary culture in the Arab World.

Text and Territory CLME W3922
Professor Nanor Kebranian

The concept of "nation" and ongoing "national" struggles still remain potent, despite or perhaps because of unbound globalization. We will consider "nation" in relation to "state" and "diaspora," weighing its implications for literary nation-formation with readings in Armenian Diaspora literature. Theoretical readings from Renan, Bhabha, Anderson, Chatterjee, among others. Primary texts from Shahnour, Vorpuni, V. Oshagan and Beledian in translation.

Science Across Cultures INSM C3940
Professor George Saliba

Open to seniors and some qualified juniors. Priority given to seniors. Development of scientific thought from various cultures and from antiquity till the time of the European Renaissance. Provides examples of the process by which scientific thinking has developed and illustrates that although science may not have always developed in a linear fashion, the problems science was called upon to solve exhibited a continuity that crossed cultural, linguistic, and religious borders. Global Core.

Islamic Context of the Arabian Nights G4227
Professor Muhsin Al-Musawi

This course questions the popular assumption that the tales of the Thousand and One Nights lack any Islamic content and that their fantastic or erotic dimensions are the only dynamic narrative components behind the vogue. This collection is read against a number of contemporaneous writings (in English translation), including al-Hamadan's Manama, to discuss issues that relate to market inspectorships, economy, social order, marginal groups like the mad, the use of public space including the hammed, and the position on fate, destiny, time, afterlife, sex and love. The course takes its starting point from classical Arabic narratives, poetry and epistolary art and follows up the growth of this repository as it conveys, reveals, or debates Islamic tenets and jurists' stand. The course aspires to provide students with a solid and wide range of information and knowledge on Islamic culture since the emergence of the Islamic center in Baghdad (b. 762). Students are expected to develop a critical method and insightful analysis in dealing with the text, its contemporaneous works from among the belletristic tradition and popular lore, its adaptations, and use and misuse in Arabic culture since the ninth century. No prior knowledge of Arabic language is required.

Language and the Public Sphere MDES G4014
Professor Bernard Bate

This seminar will interrogate the relationship between language and the public sphere in a number of societies. Interrogating foundational statements on the problem by Jurgen Habermas, Benedict Anderson, Charles Taylor, Hannah Arendt and Michael Warner in feminist, queer, and post-colonial scholarship, we will move to explore the ways in which differing communicative modalities mediated distinct imaginaries of large scale sociopolitical order, public spheres and other cosmologies in a variety of social and historical contexts (depending on student interest sites of inquiry may include: 18th to 20th century Europe and America, 19th and 20th century Yemen, Egypt, and Japan, Athens in the 5th century BCE, and India from the 3rd to the 20th centuries).

Revolution in Arabic: Staging Collective Will MDES G4228
Professor Muhsin Al-Musawi

This course will provide a thoughtful reading of the reasons behind the popular revolutions in the Arab world, and the unfolding of these at this specific historical moment as some participants in these revolutions describe it.

Medieval Islamic Thought and Literature MDES G4246
Professor Alan Verskin

An introduction to some of the many genres in which medieval Muslims wrote and to highlight the interconnections between these genres.

Modern Asian Performance MDES G4402
Professor Shayoni Mitra

A study of contemporary Asian performance with a focus on modernity, covering most nations on the Asian continent; readings will cover theoretical and aesthetic questions from performances of healing to revolutionary theatre to diasporic performances.

Shiites and Shiism MDES G4760
Professor Hamid Dabashi

Colonialism MDES G6020
Professor Timothy Mitchell

This course explores a colonial genealogy of modern economic knowledge. Ending with the emergence of "development" as a new method of governing populations in the mid-twentieth century, it traces the birth of "the economy" in forms of late colonial rule, and re-examines the terms and techniques for governing the material life of colonized places in periods prior to the twentieth-century invention of the economy.

Dynamics of Israeli Culture MDES G6530
Professor Dan Miron

This graduate seminar will focus on Sh. Y. Agnon's search for his own literary voice against the background of the poetic options Hebrew prose fiction of the beginning of the twentieth-century offered. Agnon's "dialogues" with I.L Peretz, M.J. Berdichevsky, J.H. Brenner, U.N. Gnessin as well as his attitude toward contemporary European Realism, Impressionism, and Symbolism, will be explored.

Postcolonial Theory MDES G6600
Professor Hamid Dabashi and Mamadou Diouf

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.

Psychoanalysis, Identity, and Culture MDES G8206
Professor Joseph Massad

This graduate seminar aims to introduce students to Freud and Freudian Psychoanalysis and the integration of both in critical theory.

Spring 2012 Language Courses

ARABIC FOR HERITAGE SPEAKERS II, Youssef Nouhi
FIRST YEAR ARABIC I, Reem Faraj
FIRST YEAR ARABIC II, Reem Faraj, Tarik Belhoussein, May Ahmar
SECOND YEAR ARABIC I, Ouijdane Absi
SECOND YEAR ARABIC II, Ghada Badawi, Rym Bettaieb, Tarik Belhoussein
THIRD YEAR ARABIC II, Ghada Badawi, Youssef Nouhi
4TH YR ARABIC II: MOD PROSE, May Ahmar
4TH YR ARABIC II: CLASS PROSE, Taoufik Ben-Amor
ADVANCED ARABIC GRAMMAR REVIEW, Taoufik Ben-Amor
ELEMENTARY ARMENIAN II, Charry Karamanoukian
INTERMEDIATE ARMENIAN II, Charry Karamanoukian
1ST YEAR MOD HEBREW: ELEMENTARY II, Zipora Rubin, Rina Kreitman
2ND YEAR MOD HEBREW: INTERMEDIATE II, Rina Kreitman, Nehama Bersohn
3RD YEAR MODERN HEBREW II, Nehama R Bersohn
ELEMENTARY PERSIAN II, Hassan Hussain
INTERMEDIATE PERSIAN II, Hassan Hussain and Ghazzal Dabiri
ADVANCED PERSIAN II, Ghazzal Dabiri
ELEMENTARY MODERN TURKISH II, Zuleyha Colak
INTERMEDIATE MODERN TURKISH II, No Professor Listed
ADVANCED MODERN TURKISH II, Zuleyha Colak
BEGINNING OTTOMAN TURKISH II, Zuleyha Colak

ELEMENTARY HINDI-URDU II, Aftab Ahmad, Dalpat Rajpurohit, Rakesh Ranjan
INTERMEDIATE HINDI-URDU II, Aftab Ahmad, Dalpat Rajpurohit
HINDI FOR HERITAGE SPEAKERS II, Rakesh Ranjan
ADVANCED HINDI-URDU II, Aftab Ahmad
READINGS IN HINDI II, Susham Bedi
READINGS IN URDU LIT II, Frances Pritchett
ELEMENTARY SANSKRIT II, Guy Leavitt
INTERMEDIATE SANSKRIT II, Guy Leavitt
ADVANCED SANSKRIT II, Guy Leavitt
ELEMENTARY TAMIL II, D. Samuel Sudanandha
INTERMEDIATE TAMIL I, D. Samuel Sudanandha
ADVANCED TAMIL II, D. Samuel Sudanandha

ELEMENTARY SWAHILI II, Abdul Nanji, Jane N Clayton
INTERMEDIATE SWAHILI II, Abdul Nanji
ADVANCED SWAHILI II, Abdul Nanji
ELEMENTARY WOLOF II, Mariame Sy
INTERMEDIATE WOLOF II, Mariame Sy