Modern Middle East Studies Major
Why Major In Modern Middle East Studies?
The Middle East is growing in importance on the global stage, and as such is a valuable field of study for any number of future opportunities for Yale graduates. Students may begin with a general interest in the rich culture and history of the region and later pursue careers in government, international relations, journalism and peacemaking.
The major is strengthened by
- Yale faculty who focus on the modern Middle East, in Yale College, as well as Yale’s professional schools (Divinity, Law, and Medicine).
- Language training in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew through the advanced level.
- Vibrant extracurricular programming, including lectures, films, conferences, and cultural events.
- Growing initiatives in Iranian Studies, Turkish Studies, Health, and Conflict Studies.
- Affiliated programs such as the Middle East Legal Studies Seminar (Yale Law School) and the Yale Center for Faith and Culture (Yale Divinity School).
The major offers students the possibility to focus on the culture, history, religion, politics, and society of the Modern Middle East in its full geographical breadth using any one (or more) of its four major languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. It consists of twelve term courses:
Students complete one course in each of three groups: 1) Modern Thought; 2) Classical Thought; and 3) Seminar on the Modern Middle East.
Students take six courses examining aspects of culture and thought, history, religion, politics and society, focusing on at least two different sub-regions and from two or more departments.
Language Courses and Requirements
Students must achieve advanced language and proficiency in one of the four dominant languages of the Middle East: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. This can be completed through coursework at the 3rd and 4th year levels, or by passing a departmental examination.
All students in the major undertake a senior essay that involves serious use of materials in one or more of the four modern Middle East languages.
Students are encouraged, but not required, to engage in serious study-abroad programs, including research and internship experiences in the region. Information on programs, as well as funding opportunities, is available through the director of undergraduate studies and CMES.
Faculty in Modern Middle East Studies at Yale
Core faculty who teach and advise on the modern period come from a wide range of disciplines:
They join a number of lectors in NELC, dedicated to teaching modern Middle East languages:
In addition, visiting faculty through CMES and other programs bring a number of other courses.
Visiting Middle East Scholars by Area of Expertise, 2003-2013
Oliver Bast, United Kingdom, History, early 20th Century German-Iranian Relations
Kahar Barat, Turkey, Language and Culture
Daphna Canetti-Nisim, Israel, Political Psychology
Mine Eder, Turkey, Political Economy
Rabab El-Mahdi, Egypt, Comparative Politics
Sharif Elmusa, Egypt, International Political Economy
Sibel Erol, Turkey, Literature
Rola Husseini, Lebanon, Minorities in the Middle East, Political Elites
Elizabeth Kassab, Lebanon, Modern Arab Thought
Isam Khafaji, Iraq, Political Economy
Marwan Khawaja, Lebanon, Public Health
Farhad Khosrokhavar, Iran, Sociology of Islamist Opposition
Lilia Labidi, Tunisia, Health and Psychology
Mazyar Lotfalian, Iran, Islam, Science and Society, Iranian Cinema
Driss Maghraoui, Morocco, History of North Africa
Shaul Mishal, Israel, Palestinian Politics
Tarik Ramahi, Palestine/Israel, Public Health
Hamadi Redissi, Tunisia, Islam and Politics
Ibrahim Saif, Jordan, Middle East Economics
Sallama Shaker, Egypt, Foreign Affairs
Fereydun Vahman, Iran, Persian Philology, Literature