Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies Major

As a major in Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies (JIMES), you can expect to gain proficiency in a language, study the area’s literary and cultural landmarks, and gain familiarity with Middle Eastern history and civilizations. Whether you favor the study of language, literature, religion, history, or politics, you will find a way to deepen your appreciation of these complex and diverse societies and cultures. You will focus on one of two tracks: Comparative Jewish and Islamic Studies or Modern Middle Eastern Studies.

sample courses:

Temple & Palace in World History: Approaches to Religion and Politics in the Middle East

This course aims to examine the ways in which temples and palaces cooperated with and competed against each other in the Middle East from ancient to the present times. As sites of spiritual and political power, they have been a source of cooperation and conflict by inspiring and regulating the spiritual and social lives of people, including how they enacted laws, developed cultures, established institutions, and interacted with each other as individuals, families, and societies. We will trace how their interactions produced various models of authority, law, and social association and how they collectively and separately rationalized social hierarchy and diversity in human societies, including the notions of equality, justice, hierarchy, morality, meritocracy, status, gender, and class.

Women and Islam

An anthropological study of the position of women in the contemporary Muslim world, with examples drawn primarily from the Middle East but also from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the United States. Students will examine ethnographic, historical, and literary works, including those written by Muslim women. Topics having a major impact on the construction of gender include Islamic belief and ritual, modest dress (veiling), notions of marriage and the family, modernization, nationalism and the nation-state, politics and protest, legal reform, formal education, work, and westernization.

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