First Year Program - Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Skip Navigation

Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (MIST)

Director: E. Spadola
PROGRAM SITE

Colgate offers both a major and a minor in MIST. The MIST 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. It also trains students in the history, culture, politics, and political economy of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Islamic world.

The area encompassed by this minor extends from Morocco to the Philippines. It 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 Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program (MIST) equips Colgate students with the knowledge and conceptual tools needed to understand and manage this relationship.

The themes addressed by the program 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.

Courses counting toward the MIST major and minor are drawn from various departments and programs, including art history, the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum, history, philosophy, political science, religion, sociology and anthropology, and others. The program also offers elementary, intermediate, and advanced Arabic language courses. MIST 121 provides basic training in listening, speaking, reading, and writing Modern Standard Arabic. Students with background in Arabic are encouraged to contact the program director about Intermediate Arabic I (MIST 201).