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Curriculum


MES 71000 - Approaches to the Study of the Middle East (3 credits; REQUIRED)
This course introduces students to major themes in the study of the modern Middle East in a range of disciplines, including anthropology, art history, comparative literature, economics, history, political science, and sociology. The purpose of the course is both to outline the making of the field, with emphasis on the materials used to study the region, and to examine the wide-ranging trends that have informed scholars and students. The course seeks to broaden students’ perspectives beyond their chosen discipline and/or their country of specialization, and to acquaint them with the sources, methods, and debates that make up the field of Middle Eastern Studies.
 
MES 72000: Middle Eastern Anthropology (3 credits)
This survey course introduces students to the main themes and issues in Anthropological scholarship on the Middle East. Students will be exposed to the central theoretical and conceptual debates in the field as well as to methodology (ethnography, interviews, archives, etc.).

MES 72900 - Topics in Middle Eastern Anthropology (3 credits) 
This course focuses on specific topics in the Anthropology of the Middle East, including media, the arts, food, diaspora, political economy, the impact of oil, religion, the law, and gender and sexuality. Central issues and theoretical debates pertaining to the selected topic will be discussed.

MES 73000 - History of the Modern Middle East (3 credits; REQUIRED) 
This course introduces students to major developments and problems in the history and historiography of the Middle East since the nineteenth century, seeking to foster critical historical thinking about these issues. Topics and themes to be discussed include integration into the world economy; bureaucratic reforms and their effects; transformations in the power and roles of the state; the workings and impacts of colonialism; class formation and the expansion of public spheres; nationalism; sectarianism; women and gender; modernity/modernities; the origins and dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict; oil and international relations; and Islamist politics.
  
MES 73500 - Topics in Ottoman History (3 credits)
This topics course covers the Ottoman Empire from its rise to its fall or focuses on a single century, a region within the Ottoman world, or a particular issue in Ottoman history (for example the role of the military in state/empire building and imperial identity; politico-administrative evolution and the roles of elites; center-periphery  relations; economic development; social and cultural transformations;  the rise of nationalism and communitarian relations; imperialism and religion; the "decline" paradigm; and the Ottoman legacy to the modern Middle East).
 
MES 73900 - Topics in Middle Eastern/Islamic History (3 credits)
This course offers a survey of Middle Eastern or Islamic history or a focused inquiry into a selected historical or historiographical issue. Past topics have included religion and society in the modern Middle East, Europe and the Middle East since the 19th century, history of public health and medicine in the Middle East, Muslims in Europe, histories of decolonization in North Africa, violence in Islamic history, and Islamic history in the age of imperialism.

MES 74000 - Politics of the Middle East (3 credits)
This course introduces students to the contemporary politics of the Middle East, with particular attention to the region’s international relations. Rather than attempt to comprehensively cover all issues in Middle Eastern politics in one semester, it focuses on a number of critical issues, for example the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Islamism, or the challenges of political democratization and economic development.
 
MES 74500 - The Arab-Israeli Conflict (3 credits)
This course provides students with an in-depth analysis of the history, politics, and diplomacy of the Arab-Israeli conflict. By examining the origins of the conflict, its development over time, key events that have shaped it, and the various actors involved, students will gain a greater appreciation for the complexities and dynamism of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The course covers the conflict from the emergence of Zionism and Arab-Palestinian nationalism up to the present day. Although the course examines the entire Arab-Israeli conflict, particular emphasis will be given to the Israeli-Palestinian dimension.
 
MES 74900 - Topics in Middle Eastern Politics (3 credits)
This course focuses on specific topics or regions in Middle Eastern politics, for example, Human Rights in Comparative Perspective, Democratization, Political Islam, North Africa, or the Persian Gulf.
 
MES 75000 - Sociology of the Middle East (3 credits)
This survey course introduces students to the main themes and issues of sociological scholarship on the Middle East, including political economy, modernization and development; forms of social stratification (class, race and gender); the status of minority and marginal populations; and forms of social solidarity and cohesion, such as familial and tribal relations. The course exposes students to central theoretical and conceptual debates and to quantitative and qualitative methodology. 
 
MES 75900 - Topics in Middle Eastern Sociology (3 credits)
This course focuses on specific topics in the Sociology of the Middle East (for example, migration and diaspora, ethnic-religious groups, gender and sexuality, social theory and Islam) or on a specific country or a sub-region. The course utilizes different social theories to tackle critical issues and to introduce students to pertinent current debates and issues (e.g., the Arab Spring).
 
MES 76001 & MES 76002 - Advanced Arabic (3 credits; instructor’s permission required)
This course aims to help students achieve an advanced level of proficiency in reading, writing and speaking Arabic. The course is conducted entirely in Arabic, with students reading modern Arabic texts with the help of the dictionary. Learning goals include: Comprehending media in Modern Standard Arabic (e.g., al-Jazeera); writing short letters and somewhat complex essays; and conversing with a native speaker about daily needs.
 
MES 76500 - Arabic Text Readings (3 credits; instructor’s permission required)
This course prepares students to read and comprehend Arabic printed texts from the 19th and 20th centuries on a variety of topics. In addition to translating texts, students are guided to contextualize the readings in their appropriate social and historical period and region. Students will read archival and contemporary documents in Arabic.
 
MES 76900 - Topics in Arabic Literature and Culture (3 credits)
This topics course examines aspects of the literary culture of a particular period or region, for example the literature of the medieval Iberian Peninsula and North Africa, contemporary Arab novels in translation, or Arab cinema. In a course on Al-Andalus, for example, students read and discuss important examples of Arabic, Hebrew, and Latinate literary culture and examine their interactions. The course on Arab Cinema examines the relationship between the development of cinema and the region's colonial and post-colonial struggles, as well as the role of melodrama, the importance of music and dance, the phenomenon of co-production, and the treatment of gender and sexuality in cinema. These courses are taught entirely in English. No knowledge of Arabic is necessary.

MES 77000 - Internship (3 credits: permission of MAMES Director required)
This P/F course consists of a series of collective and/or individual meetings between the instructor and students involved in internships. It provides a forum to discuss students’ experiences and progress at their internship sites, possible concerns, the relevance of internships to the students’ academic program, as well as ideas about related Capstone projects and future academic and professional plans. Students keep a weekly diary/log detailing their work and submit a number of reports to the instructor and the class (for more details, see below under MAMES Internship Program.)
 
MES 78000 - Special Topics in Middle Eastern Studies (3 credits)
This course offers an inquiry into a selected topic in Middle Eastern Studies, with individual topics changing from year to year depending on the needs of students and the availability of faculty members. Past Special Topics courses have included The Islamic City from the Pre-Modern to Globalization, Jewish National Identities and the New Hebrew Language and Literature, Arabian Nights, and Islamic Rulership: The Caliphate in Theory and Practice.
 
MES 79700 -- Independent Study (3 credits; permission of MAMES Director and Instructor required)
This course enables students to explore, under the supervision of a selected faculty member, a topic of importance to their program of study that is not otherwise covered by our curriculum.

Final Project: Capstone Project or Thesis

MES 79000 – Thesis Supervision (3 credits; permission of MAMES Director and Instructor required)
This is the forum in which students who choose to produce a thesis as their culminating MAMES project (with the permission of MAMES Director) conceptualize, research and write, under the supervision of a selected faculty member, a ca. 40-page piece of work featuring original research. Writing a thesis is recommended especially for those planning to pursue a PhD in a ME-related field.
 
Should you choose this track, you need to follow these guidelines:

1. At the beginning of the term preceding that in which the thesis is to be researched and written, secure the permission of MAMES Director to pursue this track.

2. By the end of that term, secure the agreement of a selected MAMES faculty member to be your Thesis Advisor. Ideally this would be a professor in whose class you have written a research paper that can be revised and expanded into a thesis. Present the Advisor with a two-page proposal in which you discuss research questions, methodology, sources, and anticipated key findings/arguments, along with a bibliography, and follow up with discussions as necessary until the Advisor and MAMES Director have approved your proposal.

3. Once approved, the signed proposal is deposited with the Program, and you may enroll in MES 79000: Thesis Supervision (typically in your last term in the Program).

4. Research involving human subjects (e.g. ethnography, interviews) requires Internal Review Board (IRB) approval.  Follow the instructions of the Office of Sponsored Research (http://web.gc.cuny.edu/orup/) about how to secure that approval.

5. For instructions on formatting the thesis and on procedures and deadlines for depositing it, see the Mina Rees Library Dissertations and Theses Page
(http://libguides.gc.cuny.edu/dissertations). Make sure you review the instructions and begin the process of depositing at least two weeks before the deadline. In addition, you may set up a preliminary review meeting at the Library’s Dissertation Office (room 2304).

Deposit Deadlines
For Degree Date Enrollment Required Deposit Required By
February 1 Preceding Fall term Last business day in January
May/June Commencement Spring term May 1
October 1 Preceding Spring term September 15


 
MES 79001 – Capstone Seminar (3 credits)
The capstone seminar is intended to enable students to integrate and synthesize the knowledge of the Middle East and North Africa that they have developed during their previous study into a culminating applied final project. Projects to be developed in the course of the seminar may include, but are not limited to: artistic and/or documentary videos; source or archival directories; academic papers synthesizing secondary sources; artistic performances, whether live or recorded (or both); exhibitions; literary or cultural criticism; reports on services; or computer applications. In pursuing their final projects, students are encouraged to interact with the rich Middle Eastern and diasporic resources in and around New York City, including museums, collections, archives, research and policy institutes, neighborhood cultural programs and centers, religious institutions, political organizations, and media organizations and projects, as well as related cultural and intellectual events. Each student presents her/his project to the class, and students in the seminar are responsible for providing feedback and suggestions for each project. Students are assessed via participation in class deliberations, presentation of the final project to the faculty and class, responding to questions and comments, and the evaluation of the project itself by faculty.