The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) engages in the interdisciplinary humanistic study and teaching of the cultures of the Near East (often called the Middle East) as they express themselves in languages and texts, including both written and oral sources, as well as art, architecture, archaeology and material culture.

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2021-2022 NELC Newsletter Volume 3

We wanted to let you know what we've been up to since our last issue.

Click hereto view or download Volume 3! 

Check back for our next issue due out late in 2023.

If you want to be added to our mailing list or have news you'd like to share in the newsletter, please send a request to otheresa@sas.upenn.edu.

We'd love to hear from you!

2021-2022 NELC Newsletter


Metapoesis in the Late ʿAbbāsid Age

The Dove, the Crow, and the Camel in al-Maʿarrī’s Saqṭ al-Zand
Suzanne Stetkevych
Feb 26, 2024 at - | Griski Meeting Room
Houston Hall, Room 311

This talk takes examples from Abū al-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī’s (363–449/973–1057) use of animal imagery—doves, crows, camels—to conduct an exploration of the themes of mourning, longing, and of poetry…

Henriyah Translation (tarjumah hinrīyah)

The Earliest Persian Translation of One Thousand and One Nights
Mahdi Ganjavi
Mar 25, 2024 at - | Class of 1955 Conference Room
Van Pelt 241

In this presentation, Mahdi Ganjavi will historicize and explore the lesser known Henriyah Translation

Alumni Spotlight


Pezavia O’Connell, PhD

Methodist Minister Activist, Educator , Scholar of Hebrew

Pezavia O'Connell (1861–1930) was an African American Methodist minister, activist, educator, and scholar of Hebrew.  He received a PhD in 1898 for a dissertation entitled, "Synonyms of the Clean and Unclean in Hebrew.”  This distinction made him the first African American to earn a PhD in Semitic languages in the United States.  Born to a family of…

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