Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies - Minor - Catalogue Skip Navigation

Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies

(For 2013–2014 academic year)

Associate Professor Rutherford (Director)
Assistant Professor Musa
Senior Lecturer Abdal-Ghaffar

Advisory Committee
Abdal-Ghaffar, Balachandran, Kaimal, Khan, Monk, Mundy, Murshid, Musa, Rutherford (Director), Spadola, Spevack

This program focuses on the Middle East and North Africa while also studying the wider Islamic world. It provides students with an understanding of the origins and development of the Islamic faith in its heartland, as well as an awareness of the multi-cultural and dynamic character of modern Islam. Students learn the history, culture, politics, and political economy of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Islamic world.  The area extends from Morocco to the Philippines and contains an extraordinary variety of linguistic and ethnic groups such as Arabs, Iranians, Turkic peoples, Kurds, Baluchis, Malays, and others. This region is home to over 1.4 billion Muslims, who constitute more than one-fifth of the world’s population. It is the source of a rich religious and intellectual tradition that emerged from the same roots as the Western tradition and evolved over a long history of interaction with the West. It also plays an important role in global peace, security, and prosperity. These demographic, cultural, and strategic considerations will lead to a steady increase in contact between the Islamic world and the West in the future. The Program in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (MIST) equips Colgate students with the knowledge and conceptual tools needed to understand and manage this relationship.

The themes addressed include the history and development of the Islamic faith; colonialism and its impact on the cultures, economies, and polities of the region; the rise of nationalism and its relationship to tribal, religious, and ethnic identities; the emergence and impact of political Islam; the Arab-Israeli conflict; the prospects for democratization; and United States foreign policy toward the Middle East, North Africa, and the Islamic world.

Major Program

In spring 2012 Colgate’s administration approved a new interdisciplinary major in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (MIST). MIST has since received state accreditation, and students are now able to declare a major in this new interdisciplinary program beginning with the 2013–2014 academic year. Students interested in majoring in MIST should consult the MIST program director. 

Minor Program

The five-course minor within the Program in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies consists of the following:
1. CORE 183C, Middle East is the preferred gateway course. With permission of the director, students may substitute CORE 170C, Islamic North Africa; CORE 174C, Multi-Ethnic Israel; CORE 181C, Pakistan and India; or another appropriate course as the gateway course.
2. Four additional courses selected from among those listed below. Students must complete at least one course in two of the three groups (A, B, and C) but may not count more than two courses from any one group. One affiliated elective may be counted.
 
Group A
MIST/RELG 214, Introduction to the Qur’an
MIST/RELG 216, Life of Muhammad
MIST/ RELG 337, Islamic Mysticism
RELG 234, Woman and Religious Traditions: Islam
RELG 282, Experiencing Islam
RELG 327, The Islamic Heritage of Turkey
RELG 329, Global Islam in the Modern World

Group B
HIST 255, The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1924
HIST 259, Introduction to Modern Middle Eastern History
HIST 269, History of Early Modern and Modern South Asia, 1500-1990
HIST 357, The Muslim Middle East in Pre-Modern Times
HIST 359, Nationalism and Arab Identity in the 20th Century
HIST 362, The Mughal Empire, c. 1500–1750
HIST 385, Darfur in Historical Perspective
HIST 459, Seminar on Modern Middle Eastern History

Group C
MIST/POSC 215, Comparative Politics: Middle East
MIST/ANTH 252, Muslim Societies in Transition
MIST/POSC 304, Islam and Politics
MIST/RELG 310, Islamic Jurisprudence
MIST/POSC 363, International Relations of the Middle East
POSC 364, Politics of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan

Affiliated Electives
ANTH 382, Nations, Power, Islam: Muslim Identity and Community in the Global Age
ARTS 210, Art and Architecture of the Islamic World
ARTS 244, Temples, Caves, and Stupas (The Art of India before 1300
ARTS 245, Palaces and Paintings (The Art of India after 1300)
CORE 174C, Multi-Ethnic Israel
CORE 185C, The Sahara
FREN 455, Francophone Voices from North Africa
HEBR 121, 122, Elementary Hebrew
HEBR 201, 202, Intermediate Hebrew
HIST 268, South Asian History to 1500
JWST/RELG 340, The Land of Israel
MIST 121, 122, Elementary Arabic
MIST 201, 202, Intermediate Arabic
MIST 251, Living Egypt
MIST 311, Arabic of the News Media
MIST/PCON 351, Israel/Palestine Conflict
PCON 479, Research Seminar in Peace and Conflict Studies: Peace and Conflict, Themes and Analysis

3. Following completion of the minor, students are encouraged to undertake a capstone experience.

Course Offerings

Courses unique to the Program in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (MIST) are described below. Descriptions of other courses noted above may be found under appropriate departments.

121  Elementary Arabic I
N. Abdal-Ghaffar
This course offers elementary training in the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing through intensive training in the phonology and script of Modern Standard Arabic and its basic vocabulary and fundamental structure. There is a focus on simple interactive communicative tasks involving teacher with students and students among themselves. Basic grammar is taught through reading, writing, and speaking drills in conjunction with the formal exercises in the text. This training is supplemented with simple lessons on interpersonal transactions and cultural contexts. This course counts toward the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement.

122  Elementary Arabic II
N. Abdal-Ghaffar
This elementary-level Modern Standard Arabic course continues the presentation of fundamentals of Arabic grammar and the development of proficiency in reading, writing, and spoken communication skills and oral comprehension, including extensive cultural material. The course provides additional training in formal spoken Arabic, with significant consideration to deviations of certain Arabic dialects. In addition to standard drills, students are expected to engage in structured and semi-structured speaking activities, as well as content-based language activities built around regional topics. Prerequisite: MIST 121. This course counts toward the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement.

201  Intermediate Arabic I
N. Abdal-Ghaffar
This course continues the study of Modern Standard Arabic begun in MIST 121 and 122, or their equivalent. Emphasis is placed on grammatical analysis, writing, and reading of increasingly longer and more complex texts; further vocabulary acquisition; and continued practice in listening and speaking formal Arabic. Prerequisite: MIST 122. This course counts toward the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement.

202  Intermediate Arabic II
N. Abdal-Ghaffar
This second intermediate level course of Modern Standard Arabic continues the presentation of fundamentals of Arabic grammar and the development of proficiency in reading, writing, and spoken communications skills and oral comprehension, including extensive cultural material. In this course, the student should be able to receive instructions in Arabic. The course provides additional extensive training in formal spoken Arabic, with significant consideration to classical Arabic, as well as the deviations of certain Arabic dialects. This course concentrates on extensive reading and writing as well as correct prose. It encompasses interdialectical features as well as the variations of modern standard Arabic; and it completes and emphasizes the functional as well as the situational aspects of the Arabic language. The student is expected to write brief essays in Arabic and continue to engage in structured and semi-structured writing and speaking activities, as well as content-based language activities built around regional topics. Prerequisite: MIST 201 or equivalent. This course counts toward the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement.

214  Introduction to the Qur’an
This course is crosslisted as RELG 214. For course description, see “Religion: Course Offerings.”

215  Comparative Politics: Middle East
This course is crosslisted as POSC 215. For course description, see “Political Science: Course Offerings.”

216  Life of Muhammad
This course is crosslisted as RELG 216. For course description, see “Religion: Course Offerings.”

251  Living Egypt
Staff
This extended study course concentrates on giving students a sense of the many layers and elements that make up living Egypt, the land and its people today. This requires a sense of both history and language, as well as a wide-ranging (if eclectic) understanding of the lived experience of the people. Thus, the class studies cultural aspects such as food and music, as well as historical and political issues. The course includes a three-week trip to Egypt, which exposes student to the actual environment in which all these aspects come together. Please note that ancient Egypt is discussed only in the context of its effect on Egyptians today; this is not an appropriate course for students who expect to learn a lot about archaeology and Egyptology. Corequisites: MIST 121, 122, or 201, and permission of instructor.

252  Muslim Societies in Transition
This course is crosslisted as ANTH 252. For course description, see “Anthropology: Course Offerings.”

304  Islam and Politics
This course is crosslisted as POSC 304. For course description, see “Political Science: Course Offerings.”

310  Islamic Jurisprudence
Staff
This course addresses Islamic jurisprudence from the historical background of Islamic law, known as Shari’ah, namely the five Sunni and Shiite Schools of Law, the concept of “Ijtihad,” and Islamic criminal law. Students also study the relationship between Islamic and other systems of jurisprudence. Consideration of Muslim theology offers an important context for understanding Islamic law. This course is crosslisted as RELG 310.

311  Arabic of the News Media
N. Abdal-Ghaffar
What are the Arabic terms for “globalization,” “peace process,” “suicide bombing,” “pre-emptive strike,” “uranium enrichment,” or “phone-tapping”? What are the Arab points of view on contemporary global issues? Given recent developments in the Middle East and US-Arab relations, it is essential that scholars, journalists, government workers, military personnel, businesspeople, and diplomats be able to follow news and commentary from this important part of the world. This course aims to provide students with the Arabic language skills needed to read Arabic newspapers and magazines, and to understand Arab broadcast media. Students become acquainted with the basic vocabulary, style, and syntax of the Arabic news media through analysis of materials dealing with current events, politics, and culture. Prerequisites: MIST 202 or permission of instructor.

337  Islamic Mysticism
This course is crosslisted as RELG 337. For course description, see “Religion: Course Offerings.”

351  Israel/Palestine Conflict
This course is crosslisted as PCON 351. For course description, see “Peace and Conflict Studies: Course Offerings.” This course counts toward the Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents area of inquiry requirement.

363  International Relations of the Middle East
This course is crosslisted as POSC 363. For course description, see “Political Science: Course Offerings.”