Modern Middle East Studies Courses in the Major
MMES 111 / ANTH 360 / ANTH 560
Major themes in Iranian history and culture used as a critical framework for understanding challenges that face Iran today. Examination of Western production of knowledge about Iran. Topics include local and oral history, revolutions, Islam and secularism, democracy and theocracy, and the role of cinema.
MMES 128 / ARCH 158 / HSAR 118 / SAST 268
Introduction to the History of Art: The Arts of Islam
MW 10.30- 11.20
Survey of Islamic art and architecture in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia from the seventh century to the present. Individual monuments, artworks, and historical cities examined within their artistic and historical contexts. Architecture and urbanism, manuscript painting and portraiture, and the arts of calligraphy and ceramics. Includes visits to the Yale University Art Gallery.
MMES 139 / RLST 139
Islam, Conquest, & Conversion
Through examination of conquest and religious conversion in the formative periods of Islamic history this course interrogates the idea that Islam was spread by violent domination. Case studies are drawn from the Middle East, South and South East Asia, the Indian Ocean, Iberia, and West Africa.
MMES 144 / HIST 346
Making Of Modern Iran
The political, socioreligious, and cultural history of modern Iran from the Shi’ite revolution and the rise of the Safavid Empire to the present. Discussion of Shi’ism and the state, relations with neighboring countries (the Ottoman Empire and India), Russia and Britain in Qajar Iran, the Babi-Baha’i religion, the constitutional revolution, the Pahlavi dynasty, oil, nationalism and relations with the United States, the causes and the consequences of the Islamic revolution, and Iran in the contemporary Middle East.
MMES 149 / ER&M 219 / RLST 773 / HIST 596 / JDST 761 / HIST 219 / JDST 200 / RLST 148
Jewish History and Thought to Early Modern Times
TTh 11.35- 12.50
A broad introduction to the history of the Jews from biblical beginnings until the European Reformation and the Ottoman Empire. Focus on the formative period of classical rabbinic Judaism and on the symbiotic relationships among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Jewish society and culture in its biblical, rabbinic, and medieval settings. Counts toward either European or non-Western distributional credit within the History major, upon application to the director of undergraduate studies.
MMES 150 / HEBR 150 / JDST 213
Advanced Modern Hebrew: Daily Life in Israel
An examination of major controversies in Israeli society. Readings include newspaper editorials and academic articles as well as documentary and historical material. Advanced grammatical structures are introduced and practiced. Conducted in Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR 140 or equivalent.
MMES 155 / HEBR 160 / HEBR 517 / JDST 360
Hebrew in a Changing World
Focus on how Hebrew language is used in Israel for constructing social norms, expectations, and day-to-day experiences. Topics include gendered language, political and PC language, military language, slang, humor, dialects, accents, name-giving practices, language in a sacred and in a secular context, and Americanization of the Hebrew language. Materials include advertisements, internet forums, movie clips, skits, maps, political stickers, and newspapers. Prerequisite: HEBR 140 or permission of instructor.
MMES 165 / FREN 215
Introduction to Maghrebi Literature and Culture
Introduction to the literature and cultures of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) from independence through the Arab Spring. Close analysis of fiction, poetry, and film. Focus on anticolonialism, decolonization, violence, multilingualism, Islam, feminism, migration, and social justice.
MMES 175 / NELC 350 / HIST 350
Formation of the Islamic State, 610 –750
TTh 11.35- 12.50
The development of Islamic polity and society from the rise of Islam to the rise of the Abbasid dynasty. Religious and societal changes caused by the success of Muhammad’s mission; ramifications of the subsequent Arab expansion at the expense of the Byzantine and Sasanian empires. The origins of Islamic institutions; the historical development of the main religious sects and of Islamic legal thought; Western views of Islam.
MMES 192 / RLST 170
The Religion of Islam
The rise of Islam in Arabia; Muhammad and the Qur’an; Muslim tradition and religious law; crucial issues of Islamic philosophy and theology; basic beliefs and practices of the Muslim community; Sufism and Shi’ism; religious institutions and modern trends; fundamentalism and violence; freedom and democracy.
MMES 197 / HIST 216 / RLST 193 / JDST 332
MW 10.30- 11.20
Introduction to the core ideas of the Zionist movement from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth. Focus on internal Jewish debates and criticism of the movement by European and Middle Eastern intellectuals. Social, political, cultural, and messianic ideological strands within the movement and their interpretations of various historical experiences and ideas located in the Jewish tradition.
MMES 253 / WGSS 243
Gender in North Africa
MW 11.35- 12.50
Study of gender in North Africa, including, law, religion, activism, sexuality, community, labor, and migration, as well as artistic expression and cultural production, with in-depth focus on North Africa as a distinctive part of the geography and history of the Middle East. Readings are interdisciplinary, combining theoretical approaches from history, sociology, anthropology, political science, media studies, and gender and feminist studies.
MMES 273 / RLST 684 / JDST 261 / JDST 775 / RLST 200
Jews at the Origins of Islam
Investigation of the role of Jews in the formative period of Islam, from the beginning of Muhammad’s call to prophethood around 610 C.E. to the early Abbasid Period (ca. 850 C.E.) in light of contemporary scholarship on the origins of Islam.
MMES 336 / WGSS 358
Middle East Uprisings
Understanding Middle East politics in light of the 2011 uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, particularly the genealogy of political protests, occupations, and wars in the region. How the 2011 uprisings are classed, sexed, and gendered while considering the encounters of state and non-state actors during these uprisings.
MMES 342 / HIST 232J / JDST 270 / HUMS 443 / RLST 201
Medieval Jews, Christians, and Muslims In Conversation
How members of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities thought of and interacted with members of the other two cultures during the Middle Ages. Cultural grids and expectations each imposed on the other; the rhetoric of otherness—humans or devils, purity or impurity, and animal imagery; and models of religious community and power in dealing with the other when confronted with cultural differences. Counts toward either European or Middle Eastern distributional credit within the History major, upon application to the director of undergraduate studies.
MMES 377 / PLSC 377 / EP&E 249 / RLST 288 / RLST 728 / PLSC 776
Islam and Democracy in the Modern Middle East
The development of regimes of government in Muslim countries since the nineteenth century. Early constitutional movements, the rise of political Islam, the management of religion in various twentieth-century states, the Iranian revolution, and the growth of Salafi ideas, culminating in the ISIS “caliphate.”
MMES 391 / RLST 717 / RLST 287
Islamic Theology and Philosophy
TTh 10.30- 11.20
Historical survey of major themes in Muslim theology and philosophy, from teachings of the Qur’an to contemporary Muslim thought. The systematic character of Muslim thought and of the arguments given by thinkers; reason vs. revelation; the emergence of Sunnism and Shi’ism; the reaction of Muslim theology (from 1800) to the challenges of the West.
MMES 403 / RLST 412
Orientalism, Magic, and Religion
Examination of the relationship between religion and magic as expressed in various historical and geographical contexts, with particular attention to the significance of these categories in the development of Orientalist literature, art, film, and scholarship.
MMES 418 / JDST 838 / CPLT 690 / RLST 762 / LITR 418 / RLST 203 / JDST 339
Politics of Modern Hebrew Literature
Overview of the Poetics, Culture, History and Political dynamics of Modern Hebrew Literature as a national literature over the last 300 years. The course will trace the literary development of its diasporic condition in Europe through the Hebrew Literature that is created in the Israeli Jewish sovereignty. Readings in translation. No background in Jewish literature, Hebrew literature, or Jewish culture is required.
MMES 465 / ARBC 165 / ARBC 505
Study and interpretation of classical Arabic texts for advanced students. Prerequisite: ARBC 146, 151, or permission of instructor. May be repeated for credit.
Independent Directed Study
Independent research or directed reading under the direction of a faculty member in the program on a special topic in Modern Middle East Studies not substantially covered by an existing undergraduate or graduate course. A proposal describing the nature of the program and the readings to be covered must be signed by the adviser and submitted to the director of undergraduate studies by the end of the second week of classes. The student should meet with the adviser regularly, typically for an hour a week, and write one term essay or several short essays.
MMES 490 / NELC 850 / NELC 490
Introduction to Arabic and Islamic Studies
Comprehensive survey of subjects treated in Arabic and Islamic studies, with representative readings from each. Methods and techniques of scholarship in the field; emphasis on acquiring familiarity with bibliographical and other research tools. Enrollment limited to senior majors in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, except by permission of instructor.
The one-term senior essay is a research paper of at least thirty pages prepared under the supervision of a faculty member in accordance with the following schedule: (1) by the end of the second week of classes of the term, students meet with advisers to discuss the essay’s topic, approach, sources, and bibliography; (2) by the end of the fourth week of classes a prospectus with outline, including an annotated bibliography of materials in one or more modern Middle Eastern languages and of secondary sources, is signed by the adviser and submitted to the director of undergraduate studies. The prospectus should indicate the formal title, scope, and focus of the essay, as well as the proposed research method, including detailed indications of the nature and extent of materials in a modern Middle Eastern language that will be used; (3) at the end of the tenth week of classes, a rough draft of the complete essay is submitted to the adviser; (4) by 4 p.m. on the last day of reading period, two copies of the finished paper must be submitted to the MMES registrar, 115 Prospect St., room 344. A late essay will receive a lower grade. Senior essays are graded by faculty associated with the Modern Middle East Studies program unless, for exceptional reasons, different arrangements for another reader have been made in advance with the director of undergraduate studies and the faculty adviser.
The Yearlong Senior Essay
The yearlong senior essay is a research paper of at least sixty pages prepared under the supervision of a faculty member in accordance with the following schedule: (1) by the end of the second week of classes of the first term, students meet with advisers to discuss the essay’s topic, approach, sources, and bibliography; (2) by the end of the fourth week of classes a prospectus with outline, including an annotated bibliography of materials in one or more modern Middle Eastern languages and of secondary sources, is signed by the adviser and submitted to the director of undergraduate studies. The prospectus should indicate the formal title, scope, and focus of the essay, as well as the proposed research method, including detailed indications of the nature and extent of materials in a modern Middle Eastern language that will be used; (3) at the end of February, a rough draft of the complete essay is submitted to the adviser; (4) by 4 p.m. on the last day of reading period in the spring term, two copies of the finished paper must be submitted to the MMES registrar, 115 Prospect St., room 344. A late essay will receive a lower grade. Senior essays are graded by faculty associated with the Modern Middle East Studies program unless, for exceptional reasons, different arrangements for another reader have been made in advance with the director of undergraduate studies and the faculty adviser. Credit for MMES 492 only on completion of MMES 493.
See http://students.yale.edu/oci for up-to-date and historical information about other Middle East related courses that may be available.
The most recent term’s course listing is here.