Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Analyze representative works from specific Middle Eastern cultures and
describe their distinguishing characteristics within cultural
2. Discuss the ideas, beliefs, and values communicated in artistic
expressions of at least three Middle Eastern cultures.
3. Compare, contrast and evaluate specific Middle Eastern ideas, beliefs
and values with specific Western ideas, beliefs and values and with
their own ideas, beliefs and values.
4. Analyze class, gender and other sociopolitical concerns as
reflected in literature and the arts.
5. Demonstrate an ability to compare, contrast, and link cultural
expressions of the various disciplines in the humanities including
mythology, literature, visual arts, film, theatre, music, dance,
religion and philosophy.
I. The course must cover at least three distinct geo-cultural areas such
as Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran,
Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco,
Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria,
Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Western Sahara and/or Yemen.
II. The course may be arranged chronologically, by period,
geographically, by region or thematically.
III. The course may include major forms of expression including use
of representative primary sources and texts in areas such as
mythology, literature, visual arts, film, theatre, music, dance,
religion and philosophy such as:
A. Visual arts: The effect of Islam on cultural
production. Principal achievements in Islamic architecture
680-1600 AD/CE. Mosque architecture, decorative arts, mosaic
and calligraphy. Pre-Islamic and Islamic architecture design and
decoration. Persian miniatures as well as Muslim and Sufi
illuminated manuscripts. Byzantine art and architecture.
B. Primary philosophical/religious texts: Hebrew
Bible, New Testament, The Q'uran, The Egyptian Book of the Dead,
origin and development of Sufism.
C. Pre-historical and pre-Islamic literature and
philosophy from such civilizations as Mesopotamia (Babylonian
creation story, Epic of Gilgamesh, Code of Hammurabi),
Sumer/Mesopotamia, Assyria, Egypt (Book of the Dead), Graeco/Roman
and Judeo/Christian influences in the Near East.
D. Film: Cairo, Egypt as a center of cinema. Middle Eastern film
history such as Youssef Chahine's Cairo Station (1968) and
Saladin (1963), Bourlem Guerdjou's Living in Paradise
(1998, Algeria) and Silences of the Palace by Moufida Tlatli.
E. Music: Arab culture in World Music. Storytelling and
chant. Egyptian epic poetry as the basis of the Arab musical
tradition. Classic vocalists such as Umm Kulthum, or
instrumentalists such as Abdesadek Chekara. Popular music: Cheb
Mami, Assi Al-Hilani, or Hakim.
F. Dance: Folk dance from Morocco, origins of belly dance.
G. Literary arts: Poets such as Mohamed Bennis (Morocco), Nizar
Qabbani (Syria), Salma Khadra Jayyusi and Mahmoud Darwish
(Palestine). Dramatists such as Sa'dallah Wannus. Prose fiction
by writers such as Abdelrahman Munif, Tariq Ali, Naguib Mahfouz,
Amin Malouf, Nawal Al Sa'adawi, Fatima Mernisi, Ibn Khaldun,
Ibn Batutta, Mohammed-Ali Jamalzadeh, Sadeq Hedayat, Sadeq Chubak,
Simin Daneshvar, Bozorg Alavi, Ebrahim Golestan, Bahman Sholevar,
Zoya Pirzad, Orhan Pamuk, Sait Faik Abasiyanik, Beyaz Kale, Nihal Atsiz,
Orkun Ucar, Burak Turna, or Ihsan Oktay.
IV. The course will cover cultural interactions between the Middle East
and the West such as the effect of the Silk Road, the Crusades,
cultural developments in el Andalus (Muslim Spain) and North Africa,
Byzantium, the Ottoman Empire as well as the colonial period and
the discourse of Orientalism. Travel writings from and about the
Middle East. Post-colonial and modern topics may also be included.
V. The historical role of women in the Middle East. Modern feminist discourse and
cultural contributions of women in post-colonial Middle East. Effect
of religious law on family structure.
VI The course may examine minority communities such as the Kurds and
Berbers, religious minorities who are Arab but not Muslim, and
Jewish communities in the Arab countries. Course may also cover
traditional practices of caravan culture, (Bedouin) nomadic cultural
production, oasis life.
VII. Class relations in the Middle East
The Arabian Nights: Tales From A Thousand And One Nights by Byatt, A.S.
(Introduction). Burton, Richard. Modern Library: 2004
The Egyptian Book Of The Dead. Wallis, E.A Budge. Kessinger
Essential Rumi (Paperback). Barks, Coleman. Harper San Francisco: 1997
The Exploits Of The Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin/The Subtleties Of The
Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin, Shah, Idries. Paperback Octagon Press: 1989
Gilgamesh: A New English Version. Mitchell, Stephen. Free Press: 2006
The Hebrew Bible And New Testament
The Muqaddimah: An Introduction To History. Khaldun, Ibn and Trans:
Dawood, Lawrence, and Rosenthal. Princeton University Press: 2004
Night & Horses & The Desert: An Anthology Of Classical Arabic Literature:
Irwin, Robert (Ed) Anchor. 2002
The Qua'ran (Koran), Anonymous and Dawood, N.J. Penguin Classics: 2004
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Islamic Art And Architecture (The World of Art). Hillenbrand, Robert
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A Mansion In The Sky and Other Short Stories. Taraghi, Goli. Faridoun
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Islam And The West. Lewis, Bernard. Oxford U Press: 1994
Modern Arabic Fiction: Jayusi, Salma Khadra. Columbia University
Modern Arabic Poetry. Jayusi. Salma Khadra. Columbia University
Novels/ Fiction/Travel Narratives:
Balthasar's Odyssey. Malouf, Amin. Arcade Books: 2000
The Book of Saladin. Ali, Tariq. Verso Press: 1998
The Bookseller of Kabul. Seierstad, Asne. Back Bay Press: 2002
Cities of Salt: Munif, Abdelrahman. Vintage International: 1987
Fountain and Tomb. Mahfouz, Naguib. Lynne Rienner Publications: 1998
Shadows of The Pomegranate Tree. Tariq, Ali. Verso Press: 1993.
The Storyteller's Daughter. Shah, Saira. Anchor Books: 2003
The Trench. Munif, Abdelrahman. Vintage International: 1993
Variations on Night and Day. Munif, Abdelrahman. Vintage International: 1994
A Walnut Sapling On Masih's Grave and Other Stories by Iranian Women.
Green, J. and Yazdabfar, F. Eds. Heinemann Press: 1993
Dreams Of Trespass, Tales of a Harem Childhood. Mernissi, Fatima. Perseus
The Forgotten Queens of Islam. Mernissi, Fatima and Lakeland,Mary Jo
Univeristy of Minnesota Press: 1997
The Hidden Face of Eve, Women In The Arab World. Sa'a'dawi, Nawal Al.
Zed Books: 1980
Memoirs from the Women's Prison. Al Sa'a'dawi, Nawal. UC Press: 1994
Memoirs of A Woman Doctor. Sa'a'dawi, Nawal. AlCity Lights: 1989
The Sewing Circles Of Herat. Lamb, Christina . Harper Collins Perennial: 2002.
Writing Woman's Worlds: Bedouin Stories. Abuilughod, Lila. UC
Berkeley Press: 1993