Middle Eastern Studies
The Middle Eastern studies concentration introduces students to the study of the diverse, culturally rich, and increasingly complex part of the world that currently includes the Arab world, parts of Africa, Iran, Israel, and Turkey, recognizing the interconnectedness of peoples and cultures and locating their significance in wider global contexts. The concentration facilitates the interdisciplinary study of the Middle East, encouraging students to combine courses in a number of fields, particularly history, political science, religion, and sociology/anthropology.
Overview of the Concentration
The concentration in Middle Eastern studies provides students with the opportunity to study the ways in which members of Middle Eastern cultures have understood and interpreted the world, as well as the way in which others have interpreted the Middle East. As students explore the experiences, values, intellectual and artistic achievements, and economic, religious, political, and sociological systems and structures that influence Middle Eastern cultures, they gain a fuller understanding of the significance of the Middle East in its own right as well as in relation to the rest of the world.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities to study in the Middle East through St. Olaf international and off-campus programs, including: Global Semester, Mediterranean Semester, the ACM Semester in Middle Eastern and Arabic Language Studies in Amman (Jordan), Semester at Bogazici University (Istanbul, Turkey), or Semester at American University in Cairo (Egypt).
The Middle Eastern studies concentration requires a minimum of five courses. Courses must deal in a significant and disciplined manner with one or more aspects of Middle Eastern culture or (medieval or modern) history. At least one course must be taken on campus. Typically, one course taken on Global Semester counts toward the concentration. Many courses offered by relevant departments at the American University of Cairo and Bogazici University, among other semester abroad destinations, count toward the concentration.
Courses taken abroad should be certified by the director of the Middle Eastern studies concentration as fulfilling the appropriate course requirements.
The following courses, offered on- and off-campus during the 2016-17 school year, count towards the Middle Eastern studies concentration:
ENGL 280 Topics in Genre: Muslim Women Writers
ID 234 Human Geography of the Middle East
MEST 202 Topics in Modern Middle Eastern Studies
REL 248 Judaism
SOAN 235 Introduction to Islamic Feminisms
BIO 253 Water in Morocco: Precious, Precarious, and Problematic
FREN 235 French Language and Moroccan Culture in Fez (abroad)
REL 271 Bible in Context:Hist/Geography/Culture in Israel & Palestine (abroad)
FREN 271 The Francophone World The Maghreb
HIST 292 Muslim Societies in Sub-Saharan Africa
REL 217 Christian and Islamic Ethics: Conflicts and Cross-Pollination
REL 246 Islam -- Religion and Community
Jamie A. Schillinger
Associate Professor of Religion
Christian thought and ethics; Islamic thought and ethics
Associate Professor of Sociology/Anthropology
Arab society; gender; social movements; Islamic movements
Richard J. Allen
Professor of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
logic programming; intelligent tutoring systems; computer science; Islamic geometric patterns; bioinformatics
Associate Professor of History
African history; Islam in Africa
Robert W. McClure
Associate Professor of Practice in Education
social studies; educational psychology; curriculum and instruction
Linda Y. Mokdad
Assistant Professor of English
film history; classical film theory; feminist film theory; art cinema; Arab cinemas
Maria F. Vendetti
Assistant Professor of Romance Languages - French
20th- and 21st-century French and Francophone literature; literature and testimony during and after the Algerian War of Independence; literary and filmic representations of torture, trauma, and war