The Department offers students the opportunity to choose between two minor programs:
The first program, Cultures and Societies of the Middle East and North Africa (CASMENA), broadly explores the cultures, societies, religions, and literary traditions of the greater Middle East including Arabia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Iran and the Persianate world, Egypt and the Nile Valley, North Africa (including the Maghreb), and Asia Minor (including present-day Turkey). It enables students to develop an understanding of deep continuities through time, and close connections among the cultures of the region and adjacent areas. The minor does not include language coursework and consists of 6 c.u.
The second program offers the opportunity for students to study one of five concentration areas: Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations (ANE); Arabic & Islamic Studies (Arab/Islam); Arabic & Hebrew Studies – modern or medieval (Arab/Heb); Hebrew & Judaica (Heb/Jud); or Persian Languages & Literature (PLL). In addition to a set of basic requirements, students will complete a set of requirements specific to their chosen concentration. The minor includes 4 c.u. of language courses in the original language of the chosen concentration and 4 c.u. of appropriate electives.
All courses taken for the minor must be taken for grade. They cannot be taken pass/fail.
Core Requirement: 2 c.u.
Students must complete the Department’s foundational courses: NELC 0001 (Introduction to the Ancient Near East) and NELC 0002 (Introduction to the Middle East) to fulfill the minor’s core requirement. This requirement provides minors with an overall understanding of Near Eastern cultures which span more than four millennia.
Ancient Middle East or Hebrew and Judaic Studies Requirement: 1 c.u.
Students must fulfill 1 c.u. in introductory to advanced coursework, courses numbered between NELC 0003 and NELC 4999, in Ancient Middle East or Hebrew and Judaic Studies.
The following courses may be used to fulfill this requirement:
in general – NELC 0003 (Origin and Culture of Cities);
in the Ancient Middle East -- NELC 0004 (Myths and Religions of the Ancient World); NELC 0050 (Ancient Civilizations of the World); NELC 0100 (Archaeology & the Bible); NELC 0102 (Reading Ancient Mesopotamia); NELC 0200 (Land of the Pharaohs); NELC 0205 (Literary Legacy of Ancient Egypt); NELC 0210 (Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt); NELC 0215 (The Religion of Ancient Egypt); NELC 0225 (The World of Cleopatra); NELC 0905 (Water in the Middle East Throughout History); NELC 1000 (Iraq: Ancient Cities and Empires); NELC 1010 (History and Society of Early Mesopotamia); NELC 1100 (History of Ancient Egypt);
in the Hebrew and Judaic Studies – NELC 0300 (Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament); NELC 0305 (Great Books of Judaism); NELC 0325 (Jewish Mysticism); NELC 0330 (Themes Jewish Tradition: Iberian Conversos: Jew-Christian?); NELC 1310 (Introduction to Modern Hebrew Literature); NELC 1325 (Jews and Christians); NELC 1400 (The Making of Scripture: From Revelation to Canon); NELC 3300 (Jewish Magic); NELC 4305 (Spirit and Law); HEBR 4000 (Rabbinic Writers on Rabbinic Culture).
Societies and Cultures of the Islamic World or Modern Middle East Requirement: 1 c.u.
Students must fulfill 1 c.u. in introductory to advanced coursework, courses numbered between NELC 0001 and NELC 4999, in Societies and Cultures of the Islamic World or the Modern Middle East
The following courses may be used to fulfill this requirement:
in Societies and Cultures of the Islamic World – NELC 0400 (Getting Crusaded); NELC 0500 (Introduction to the Qur’an); NELC 0510 (Muhammad and Society); NELC 2510 (Introduction to Islamic Law); NELC 1001 (The Arabian Nights); NELC 3400 (Age of Caliphs, 600-1100); NELC 4505 (Islamic Intellectual Tradition);
in the Modern Middle East – NELC 0600 (The Middle East through Many Lenses); NELC 0620 (Food in the Islamic Middle East: History, Memory, Tradition); NELC 1600 (North Africa: History, Culture, Society); NELC 1605 (Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Middle East: Historical Perspectives); NELC 1610 (Nationalism and Communal Identity in the Middle East); NELC 1615 (Migration and the Middle East); NELC 1620 (Middle Eastern Jews in Israel); NELC 2900 (Who Owns the Past? Archaeology and Politics in the Middle East).
Intermediate or Advanced Electives: 2 c.u.
Students must take an additional 2 c.u. in intermediate to advanced coursework, courses numbered between NELC 2000 and NELC 4999. These courses should be chosen in consultation with the student’s minor Advisor after discussing the student’s particular intellectual interests.
The courses may be chosen from any of the courses described above or from courses in the Literary and Visual Cultures category, including NELC 0610 (Modern Middle Eastern Literature and Tradition); NELC 0615 (Modern Arabic Literature); NELC 0700 (Iranian Cinema: Gender, Politics, and Religion); NELC 1200 (The Bible in Translation); NELC 1310 (Introduction to Modern Hebrew Literature); NELC 1700 (Introduction to Persian Poetic Tradition); NELC 2705 (Media and Culture in Contemporary Iran).
Language Requirement: 4 c.u.
Both basic language courses and advanced courses in literature in the original language count toward this requirement.
Electives: 4 c.u.
These will normally be content courses within the chosen concentration, but each concentration may specify additional requirements. Electives must be selected for appropriateness with the student's major Advisor. Students may count up to two courses from outside the Department (i.e. not cross-listed in NELC) toward the minor electives.
NELC offers concentrations in one of five areas:
Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations (ANE)
Arabic & Islamic Studies (Arab/Islam)
Arabic & Hebrew Studies - modern or medieval (Arab/Heb)
Hebrew & Judaica (Heb/Jud)
Persian Language & Literature (PLL)
Ancient Near East (ANE):
This concentration explores the cultures of the broader ancient Near East and the Nile Valley, including civilizations in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Nubia, Syria, the Levant, Israel, Anatolia, and Persia. Students must complete NELC 0001 (Introduction to the Ancient Near East), as well as three other electives chosen from relevant courses in history and archaeology. The language requirement for the minor (4 c.u.) may include courses in Akkadian (ANEL 4000, 4100, 4250, 4300); Egyptian (ANEL 4500, 4600, 4700, 4750); Biblical Hebrew (HEBR 0150/0250 and 0350/0450); or Sumerian (ANEL 4200, 4400). However, 2 c.u. toward the language requirement may be fulfilled by appropriate courses in literature in translation such as NELC 0102 (Reading Ancient Mesopotamia) and NELC 0205 (The Literary Legacy of Ancient Egypt).
Arabic & Islamic Studies (Arab/Islam):
This concentration explores Arabic and/or Turkish cultures in the context of Islamic civilization. As a foundational requirement, students must complete NELC 0002 (Introduction to the Middle East). Students can then choose 3 other c.u. with one course each in the areas of history, religion, and literature. The 4 c.u. of the language requirement may be fulfilled through coursework in Arabic (ARAB) or Turkish (TURK). Normally, students with no prior language background would complete two years of Introductory and Intermediate Arabic (ARAB 0100-0400) or Turkish (TURK 0100-0400). Students with prior language knowledge in Arabic or Turkish may fulfill the requirement through other courses chosen in consultation with the Advisor.
Arabic & Hebrew Studies (Arab/Heb):
This concentration explores the inter-relationships between Arabic and Hebrew cultures within the modern and/or medieval periods. As a breadth requirement, students can choose either NELC 0001 (Introduction to the Ancient Near East) or NELC 0002 (Introduction to the Middle East). The language requirement is normally fulfilled by intermediate level proficiency in both Arabic and Hebrew (the equivalent of ARAB 0400 and HEBR 0400). This minor is most suited to students who enter with some degree of proficiency in one of these languages. Should a student enter with a second-year level of proficiency (demonstrated by a placement test) in one of the languages, the remaining c.u. must be used in the study of the second language. Students who enter with less than a second-year level of proficiency in one of the languages must consult with the Advisor to see if it is possible to achieve a second-year level of proficiency in both languages which may require using some electives for language courses. Electives must include courses that deal with both Arabic and Hebrew cultures within the modern and/or medieval periods and should include courses from the areas of history, religion, and literature.
Hebrew & Judaica (Heb/Jud):
This concentration explores Hebrew and Jewish literature, cultures, histories, and religions from the Hebrew Bible through modern times. It consists of 8 c.u., divided among language (4 c.u) and elective (4 c.u) requirements. Students without previous knowledge of Hebrew are required to fulfill the language requirement with modern (HEBR 0100-0400) or Biblical (HEBR 0150-0450) Hebrew. Of the four remaining electives, 2 c.u. must be in the study of Hebrew texts from at least two of the following four areas: Hebrew Bible, Ancient (6th BCE-7th CE), Medieval-Early Modern (7th-18th Centuries), or Modern (18th-21st Centuries). For students with previous knowledge of Hebrew who place above lower-level Hebrew language courses, the corresponding number of language c.u. requirements will be converted to additional electives. The remaining 3 c.u. will be electives chosen in consultation with the student’s minor Advisor. (NOTE: For students who have already fulfilled the language requirement in Hebrew when they first matriculate at the University, the minor requirement is reduced to 6 c.u., of which 3 c.u. are to be in the study of Hebrew texts in the original, from three of the four areas listed above).
Persian Language & Literature (PLL):
This concentration explores Persian culture in the context of Islamic civilization. As a foundational requirement, students must complete NELC 0002 (Introduction to the Middle East). Students can then choose 3 other c.u. in relevant coursework, with one course each in the areas of history, religion, and literature. The Persian language requirement is 4 c.u. For students with no prior knowledge of Persian this includes PERS 0100-0400 (Introductory through Intermediate Persian). For students with prior knowledge of Persian beyond the Intermediate level, courses may be chosen from advanced language and literature courses chosen in consultation with the Advisor. Relevant courses include NELC 0700 (Iranian Cinema: Gender, Politics and Religion); NELC 1700 (Introduction to the Persian Poetic Tradition); NELC 1705 (Media and Culture in Contemporary Iran); and NELC 1710 (Modern Iran and the West through Fiction).