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 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