MESAAS Courses Spring 2015


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-MESAAS)
  • CLME (Comparative Literature-MESAAS)
  • HSME (History-MESAAS)
  • ANME (Anthropology-MESAAS)

 

NONLANGUAGE COURSES


INTRODUCTION TO INDIAN PHILOSOPHYMDES W2041
Professor Andrew Ollett Section 001

This course is an overview of Indian philosophy, starting in the first millennium BCE and ending just prior to European colonization, and encompassing Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain thinkers. The readings will introduce a diversity of philosophical traditions—including but not limited to the “six schools”—through the ideas and debates that defined them. Points of focus will include epistemology, aesthetics, hermeneutics, and the philosophy of language. Broader themes will include philosophy as a cross-cultural enterprise, the ways that philosophical traditions were constituted and reconstituted over their history, the ways they interacted with each other, and the relationship between philosophy and religion.

SOUTH AFRICAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE: APARTHEID AND AFTERMDES W3121
Professor Jennifer Wenzel Section 001

In South Africa, the past seventy years have seen the legislation of institutionalized racism in the policy known as apartheid; decades of protest and repression; and the emergence of popular movements in South Africa and abroad that compelled the apartheid state to enter a process of negotiation that would ultimately lead to its own demise in the democratic elections of 1994. This course traces the multiple, profoundly important roles that literature and other cultural production have played in the consolidation of apartheid, as well as its demise and aftermath. Although many of our texts were originally written in English, we will discuss the historical forces that have shaped the linguistic texture of South African cultural life.

THE ANATOMY OF DEVELOPMENT: CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON EXPERTISE IN AFRICA, SOUTH ASIA AND MIDDLE EAST MDES W3051
Professor Casey Primel Section 001

This course examines the emergence of development in the 20th century as a global discourse of governance and how it shapes forms of power and authority in postcolonial societies. It offers new ways for framing the question of development and thinking about the forms of social and economic knowledge which it produces. This course approaches development from the local points where the knowledge and expertise of development are produced and deployed. Moving between the three regions of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the course explores the invention of concepts key to the development discourse, through readings in primary and secondary sources. How these concepts have been deployed and contested is then traced through specific historical examples.

EAST AFRICA AND THE SWAHILI COASTMDES W3130
Professor Kai Kresse Section 001

This course offers an introduction to East African history and society. It is intended primarily for those who have taken an introductory course in African studies, such as MDES W2030 Major Debates in the Study of Africa or AFCV 1020 African Civilization, or similar courses in South Asian or Middle Eastern studies. Students read anthropological and historical studies of the region, alongside works of literature by a number of leading East African writers. The course emphasizes the historical role of the Swahili coast and Swahili language as forces that shaped an interconnected world stretching far inland and across the Indian Ocean, but that also shaped adversity and antagonisms.CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement.

UNDERSTANDNG GENOCIDE:HIST/SOCMDES W3952
Professor Nanor Kebranian Section 001

This is an interdisciplinary course acquainting students with ‘genocide’ as a term, concept, and sociopolitical reality. Coursework is geographically and thematically comparative with readings in history, sociology, journalism, law, and philosophy. Students are expected to engage with the following questions: What is ‘genocide?’ How do historical, social, and political factors contribute to and limit its definition? How are perpetrators and victims identified and to what ends?

READINGS IN PERSIAN TEXTSMDES W4726
Professor Mana Kia Section 001

Prerequisites: Must have completed MDES 1713, equivalent two years of Persian or instructor’s permission. This course is designed to expose students to Persian texts from a variety of temporal periods and geographic regions. The first half of the semester will focus on a single genre across regions and time periods, while the second half of the semester will consist of readings from various poetic and prose genres, in consideration of student interests. Spring 2015 we will spend the first half of the semester reading biographical commemorative compendia (tazkirahs), a rich genre for the study of Persianate poetry, culture, societies and politics. Since the content changes each term, the course may be repeated for credit.

JIHAD, LIBERALISM, AND VIOLENCEMDES G4249
Professor Wael Hallaq Section 001

This course begins by exploring the classical theory of jihād within the legal, political, philosophical, moral, and intellectual systems in which it was elaborated and functioned as a “technology” of the self and as a theory of war and peace. It then deals with this theory’s re-interpretation in light of European colonialism, and its distillation into a distinctly political instrument today. In addition to the political and legal nature of the subject at hand, the course will rely heavily on moral philosophy as the basic tool of analysis.

THE POLITICS OF COLONIZED THOUGHTMDES G4056
Professor Murad Idris Section 001

This seminar is an attempt to focus on the question: Is there a political theory of the colonized? We will be synthesizing knowledge about multiple colonized regions and thinkers. Rather than asking about the “colonized” in political thought, this course is an inquiry into the politics of colonized thought. We will ask what forms colonized political thought has taken, its relationship to the colonizers repertoire of ideas, and how these thinkers and their texts construct various arenas of contestation and imagined futures. We will read works of political theory within and between colonial settings – Middle Eastern, African, South Asian, and others.

POSTOCCUPATION IRAQI NARRATIVECLME G4248
Professor Muhsin al-Musawi Section 001

This course addresses narratives of violence, neurosis, and trauma that have become the distinctive markers of post occupation Iraqi literary and cultural production. The unprecedented production with this pathological strain questions the rationale behind occupation and war, and explores the failure of occupation authority and its deliberate sketch of a warring and factional Iraq. Although media reports, films, and guests are called on to strengthen the course, its main force and climate of discussion derives from these narratives that are to be supplemented also by a few ones by American soldiers. Students are encouraged to accumulate an archive to help each other in consolidating the background for each weekly session, presentations, and research papers.

A SOCIAL HISTORY OF ISLAMIC LAW: MORALITY, GOVERNANCE, AND THE MARKETMDES G4233
Professor Khaled Fahmy Section 001

This course engages with the social history of Islamic law through a detailed study of “hisba”, a term that denotes, at once, the duty of each Muslim to ‘command right and forbid wrong’ as well as the function of supervising the moral behavior and economic transactions in the market. By closely reading key normative texts of Islamic fiqh side by side with medieval and early modern chronicles, the course aims to gain a firm idea of how hisba was thought of and performed in pre-modern. The course then engages critically with recent scholarly work on secularism to gauge what happened to hisba in modern times. The course is designed for graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Proficiency in reading classical and modern Arabic is required. The instructor will run an optional recitation section to assist those who need help in reading primary texts, for which students may register separately.

INVISIBLE SOCIETIES IN THE CONTEMPORARY ARABIC NOVELMDES G4234
Professor Moneera Al-Ghadeer Section 001

The course will explore aspects of the contemporary Arabic novel and how authors fashion literary constructions of invisible communities, radicalized others, foreign labor, disability, queerness, and tensions between modernity and tribalism. We will read a diverse selection of Arabic novels written by Egyptian, Kuwaiti, Lebanese, Maghrebi, and Saudi Arabian authors. This course will open an inquiry into the moment in which tropes of invisibility, anonymity, namelessness, and marginality are staged and performed while exploring the possibility of reading these novels together and showing to what extent they display literary, cultural, and linguistic resemblances. In particular, we will highlight the spaces in which these texts intersect or diverge in or on the border of different communities and cultures. In addition, the discussion will also explore the philosophical and psychoanalytical debates, focusing on how theorists interrogate the different formations of society, community, alterity, and difference. Proficiency in reading Arabic required; open to qualified undergraduates.

 

LANGUAGE COURSES


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