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Middle East and North Africa Studies

Middle East Studies Director: Dima Ayoub (Arabic)
Office: Voter Hall 008, Phone 802-443-5653

The Middle East Studies major highlights the social, historical, political, cultural, and linguistic, traditions of this varied region and illuminates the area’s centrality and relevance in today’s world. Transcending the simplistic paradigms which often saturate current news outlets, the major emphasizes and encourages a complex and multi-disciplinary approach towards the study of the region. The major also draws upon and showcases the expertise of our diverse faculty from multiple departments and programs, whose research, publications, and teaching encapsulate the region’s geographic expanse.

As a Middle East Studies major, you will be exposed to a rich array of disciplinary and intellectual perspectives. Our curriculum stresses the region’s foundational religious traditions; the historical rise of major Islamic empires; the promises and disruptions of modern colonialism and nationalism; current political conflicts and wars; disputes and negotiations over borders and natural resources;  the rise of diasporic and refugee communities; and the region’s cultural richness in poetry, literature, linguistics, religious practices, and even food.

Finally, MES majors develop advanced proficiency in either Arabic or Hebrew through coursework at Middlebury College and at one of the Middlebury C.V. Starr Schools Abroad in the Middle East:

The School in Israel (Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva) - Hebrew

The School in Jordan (The University of Jordan, Amman) - Arabic

The School in Morocco (Mohammed V University, Rabat) - Arabic

Students who study abroad in Israel must have successfully completed a minimum of three semesters of Hebrew at Middlebury and are required to take the Ulpan in Isreal.  The expectation is Middlebury students will study at Ben-Gurion University.

Sample courses about the region:

  • ARBC 0240: Language and Identity in the Arab World
  • ENVS 0245: Human Environment: The Middle East
  • GEOG 0220: Geopolitics of the Middle East
  • HARC 0204: Approaches to Islamic Art
  • HEBM 230: Israeli Authors: Poetics and Politics
  • HIST 0352: Food in the Middle East
  • PSCI 0349: International Politics of the Middle East
  • RELI 0150: The Islamic Tradition

Program in International and Global Studies

Robert A. Jones '59 House
148 Hillcrest Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753