John Eisele


John Eisele has been the Arabic Studies program director and co-director of the Asian and Middle East Studies Program at the College of William and Mary. He holds a joint PhD in Linguistics and Near East Languages and Literatures from the University of Chicago. He is the author of the book Arabic Verbs in Time: Tense and Aspect in Cairene Arabic (Harrasowitz: 1999) and of numerous essays published in Language, Journal of the American Oriental Society, alArabiyyah, and Perspectives on Arabic Linguistics.

John is a past recipient of Fulbright and NEH fellowships, and Department of Education grants. He has conducted research and published in three fields: linguistics, cultural studies, and language pedagogy, all related to Arabic or Middle Eastern Studies. In the area of linguistics, he has dealt with studies of the syntax and semantics of tense and aspect in Arabic, as well as Arabic morphology. With regard to cultural studies, he has applied the methodology of cultural studies to the study of the representation of the Arabic language as a cultural icon and linguistic object.

In addition, he has published articles on the representation of Arabs and the Middle East in the Hollywood tradition, including an article on this topic ("The Wild East: Decoding the Language of Genre in the Hollywood Eastern”) which has appeared in Cinema Journal. His third area of research, Arabic language pedagogy, has taken the forms of several articles on the topic in journals and edited volumes, and a textbook project for Modern Standard Arabic and related dialects under review at Cambridge University Press.

John teaches courses on Arabic language, literature in translation, and Arab film as an introduction to the Arab world. He has also taught for several summers in the Middlebury Language Schools' Masters Degree Program.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

ARBC 6606 - Lang Attitudes & Perspectives      

This course will examine “language attitudes,” or the way that people view a particular language or languages, whether their own or another, whether as a first or second language, etc. It will touch on research in the areas of sociolinguistics, second language learning and acquisition, and language cultural studies, with the goal of clarifying the terms and procedures which may be useful in determining the language attitudes of individuals, groups, and societies, and will consider the implications of such research for foreign language teachers. Civ Cul & Soc Linguistics

Summer 2016 Language Schools, Mills 6 Week Session

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ARBC 6607 - Representing Arabic      

Linguistic Topics in Arabic: Representing Arabic

This course will examine the way that Arabic has been represented in the various traditions in which it has played a role: as a cultural icon in the Arab and Islamic tradition, to its role as a linguistic “other” in European linguistic traditions. Through a careful reading of a wide variety of texts from both traditions, students in this course will develop an understanding and appreciation of how linguistic representations are contingent, and may reflect non-linguistic cultural expectations as much as objective linguistic reality. Linguistics

Summer 2015 Language Schools, Mills 6 Week Session

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ARBC 6613 - Themes in Lit & Lang Pedagogy      

Themes in Arabic Literature and language Pedagogy

This course will provide an overview of a wide range of literary genres from the Arabic literary canon, and will include texts drawn from both the Arabo-Islamic tradition (al-turaath or “cultural heritage” texts), as well as from the modern period. The starting point for discussion will include some recurrent themes found in the Arabic literary tradition (such as “loss,” “memory,” and “desire”), and will include additional discussion on ways of integrating literary works into language pedagogy at various levels. Through a careful reading of a wide variety of texts, students in this course will develop both an appreciation of some canonical works in the Arabic tradition, as well as an understanding of how they might be used to impart cultural and aesthetic awareness in the L2 classroom. Literature Pedagogy

Summer 2017 Language Schools, Mills 6 Week Session

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ARBC 6622 - Themes:ARBC Lang&Cult Pedagogy      

Themes in Arabic Language and Culture Pedagogy *

The goal is to develop an appreciation of the cultural richness and variety of Arabic cultural products, as well as to develop and critique methods for their integration into the language
Classroom. The course will examine the ways in which Arabic language pedagogues can implement cultural enrichment in their courses and programs by providing an overview of a wide range of topics in Arabic culture. This will include but are not limited to topics in the following fields: Arabic literature, both classical and modern, poetry and prose; Arabic films including popular genres as well as art films from throughout the Arab world; Arabic music and songs, both traditional and modern; popular folktales and stories from throughout the Arab world; religious texts and recitations; and other topics, based on the interests and experiences of participants in the class.

Summer 2018 Language Schools, Mills 6 Week Session

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ARBC 6623 - Topics:ARBC Lang&Linguistics      

Topics in Arabic Language and Linguistics *

This course will provide an overview of modern linguistics with a special focus on the Arabic language, and on Arabic language pedagogy. It will include a review of each “level” of current linguistic analysis (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics) from the perspective of the Arabic language, in order to provide students with a working knowledge of basic terms and issues. Reference will be made to the Arabic grammatical tradition only in passing, especially with regard to terminologies. In addition to reading a variety of texts in English and in Arabic, students will be asked to perform linguistic analyses of examples taken from Arabic, and to research possible ways of applying these terms and analyses to the teaching of Arabic

Summer 2018 Language Schools, Mills 6 Week Session

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ARBC 6675 - Cinema East & West      

Cultural Topics in Arabic: Cinema East & West

This course will examine the role that cinema has played in the cultural politics of both the Arab World as well as the West (Europe and America). Through a careful and critical viewing of a wide variety of cinematic texts/films from a wide variety of traditions (Hollywood, popular Egyptian, Arab “art films”, European), students enrolled in this course will explore such notions as genre, gender, the role of the audience, identification potential, popular vs. art films, dominance of Hollywood, globalization effects, among other issues. The course will review the role that such cinematic works have played in cross-cultural representation, understanding and misunderstanding, as well as reflecting issues of modernity and the modern. Civ Cul & Soc

Summer 2015 Language Schools, Mills 6 Week Session, Summer 2016 Language Schools, Mills 6 Week Session, Summer 2017 Language Schools, Mills 6 Week Session

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The Arabic School

Eman Hayyat, Coordinator

P: 802.443.5230
F: 802.443.2075

Mailing address
Arabic School
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT  05753