Assistant Professor; Program Head, French Studies; Summer Intensive Arabic Program Coordinator

Abdelkader Berrahmoun
IIRC Building 2
(831) 647-6500

Professor Berrahmoun is a native of Oran, Algeria. He began his career as a language professor in Boston, Massachusetts, where he taught Arabic and French at Boston University, the University of Massachusetts-Boston, Smith College, Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College and a number of other educational institutions.

Berrahmoun’s classes thoughtfully and dynamically engage students in research, writing and discussion of history, religion, literature, media, cultural traditions and current affairs in the Arab world. Students demonstrate and share their individual and collaborative learning through projects such as video podcasts, digital storytelling, Arabic TED Talks, blogs, and radio shows.

Courses Taught

Courses offered in the past two years.

  • Current term
  • Upcoming term(s)

Throughout the contemporary Francophone world, numerous women and women’s groups have emerged in activist and leadership roles: promoting social agendas, demanding freedom and equality, helping topple repressive regimes, and responding to a range of crises and conflicts. From issues of anti-colonialism and nationalism to gender rights, educational and economic equity and more, women activists have played a critical role in shaping their societies. Furthermore, women’s activism has manifested throughout the transnational community and the French/Francophone diaspora.

FRLA 8426 A offers directed projects and analytical tools with which students can question, unpack and evaluate the contexts for women’s grassroots activist movements and rising leaders, the issues addressed, end goals, strategies employed, and outcomes achieved.

Fall 2021 - MIIS

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This course offers a focused exploration of key issues impacting the Francophone world in recent history through the present day. Using case studies and a variety of authentic materials, students will gain understanding through research, discussion, analysis, class activities, and projects. An inquiry model will provide structure as students work to identify the background context, challenges, solutions/opportunities, and impacts of each key issue.

Special Topics in French is structured as a learner-centered and collaborative course. Within the key topic areas, students will have the opportunity to choose sub-topics and countries/regions of interest for more in-depth investigation.

Fall 2021 - MIIS

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Security and Development in the Francophone World

In this course, we will examine two major inter-connected themes of urgency and relevance in the contemporary Francophone world: security and development.
We’ll research and discuss complex security concerns in a rapidly changing political environment – both within France and in the wider geographical area of French influence. We will also use selected case studies to address issues of development throughout the Francophone world - including debt, sustainable economy, trade, science/technology, and education.Finally, we will explore connections between these two focus areas.

Students will improve all key language skills through activities such as discussion, use of authentic audiovisual and social media sources, creative projects, debates, guest speaker interactions and oral presentations.

Key Topics: Security

Border Control: Issues of Humanitarian Relief and National Security (illegal immigration, refugees, arms smuggling, human trafficking, etc.)

Islamophobia and Security after 9/11

French response to international terrorism, defense policies and collaboration within the European Union

Food, land and water security in an era of climate change

Key Topics: Development

Roles of the International Monetary Fund, NGOs, private and corporate sectors and World Bank in national/regional economies

Economic initiatives such as microfinance and start-ups

Women’s empowerment through education, training and family planning

Fair trade and sustainable agriculture


Spring 2021 - MIIS

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This course offers students a focused exploration of five key issues that have affected MENA (Middle East and North Africa) in recent history through the present day. U.S./EU in MENA Region is structured as a learner-centered and collaborative course.

In this course, we will investigate the historic and contemporary roles, attitudes, and policies of predominant power groups: The U.S., France/European Union, Arab and Middle Eastern States, and China or Russia (where relevant) toward the MENA region.

Five Key Topics for FRLA 8292 A:

? Colonialism/ post-colonialism: Historical Background, Impact on Resource Allocation and Economic Relationships (water, oil, energy, etc.)

? Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

? The Arab Spring and authoritarian regimes

? International interventions in Syria, Iraq and Libya, and Border Control: Issues of Humanitarian Relief and National Security (civil wars, illegal immigration, refugees, arms smuggling, etc.)

? Islamophobia and Security, Post 9/11

This course is open to students with Intermediate Mid level of proficiency.

Fall 2020 - MIIS

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In this course, we will investigate the historic and contemporary roles, attitudes, and policies of France/U.S. toward the African continent in the context of colonization and post-colonization, international relations, economic initiatives, and the play for global dominance. In equal measure, we will examine the historic/contemporary responses and political movements of the African Union nations as they establish their sovereignty and claim their rightful place as an emerging global power.

This course provides theoretical tools for research and analysis. We will scrutinize how policy decisions of all three players have simultaneously shaped and responded to key topics affecting the African continent. Our observations will aim to uncover alliances and common objectives as well as discord disjunction between the French, American, and African Union nations. This course is open to students with Intermediate High/Advanced Low level of proficiency.

Fall 2020 - MIIS

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As two of the world’s most influential powers with shared histories pre-dating American independence, France and the United States have alternately been allies and antagonists. Comparing the U.S. and France examines the two countries’ mutual values, strategic alliances, policy choices and areas of conflict, while drawing upon both historical and present-day references.

In this course, we will investigate key themes based upon the following contemporary issues:


Anti-terrorism and foreign policy

Environment and sustainability

Global health

Social justice, equity (racial, gender, etc.) and youth movements

Comparing the U.S. and France is structured with both scheduled synchronous and asynchronous learning each week. We will combine whole group, small group and individual projects and assignments.

The class is conducted entirely in French. ACTFL proficiency prerequisite: Advanced High.

Fall 2020 - MIIS

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Areas of Interest

Professor Berrahmoun’s professional interests include the pedagogy of language acquisition, integration of technology and cultural studies into the language curriculum, conflict and peace in the MENA (Middle East-North Africa) region, the history of colonialism and its aftermath in North Africa, socio-political and economic roots of popular uprisings in the Arab world, and political Islam.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD candidate in Philosophy, Université Paris X-Nanterre, 1994-1996 (not completed)
  • Dissertation: “La politique et la Religion dans l’Islam Contemporain”
  • Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies in Philosophy, Université Paris XII-Créteil Val de Marne, 1993-1994
  • Maîtrise in Philosophy, Université Paris IV-Sorbonne, 1992-1993
  • Licence in Philosophy, Université Es-Senia, Oran, Algeria, 1987-1991

Professor Berrahmoun has been teaching at the Institute since 2013.