Middle East Related Courses

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Spring 2020

Note: Course lists are provided as a courtesy to students and are not exhaustive. Please contact the relevant department for any questions about registration.  

Comparative Literature

COMLIT 232 001 - LEC 001: Studies in Near Eastern-Western Literary Relations

Chana Kronfeld | W | 2:00 pm - 4:59 pm | Barrows 252 | Class #30975 | Units: 4

Comparative investigation of a literary topic requiring the study of both Near Eastern and Western documents.

Global Studies

GLOBAL 110M 001 - LEC 001: Middle East In Global Context

Peter A. Bartu | M, W | 5:00 pm - 6:29 pm | Wheeler 108 | Class #22525 | Units: 3

This course provides Global Studies majors with an introduction to the Middle East region, broadly defined. It takes an interdisciplinary approach, joining the fields of history, political science, anthropology, religious studies, economics, and Middle Eastern studies. Students will be introduced to major historical themes in the study of Middle Eastern societies that are relevant in understanding contemporary intellectual debates and the origins, nature, and trajectory of war and peace in the region. Focusing on the 20th century, the course explores how the modern Middle East evolved politically, socially, and economically into a region burdened by webs of power and influence.


HISTORY 100M 001 - LEC 001: Special Topics in the History of the Middle East
The Ottoman Empire

Christine Philliou | Tu, Th | 11:00 am - 12:29 pm | Wheeler 108 | Class #31128 | Units: 4

This course will be a general survey of the history of the Ottoman Empire (1300-1922), out of which emerged the Modern Middle East and Balkans. Known in its heyday as the empire "of three continents and five seas," the Ottoman Empire was home to Christians, Muslims, and Jews, speakers of Arabic, Turkish, Greek, Slavic languages, Armenian, and Ladino. We will look at the ways this empire was similar to and different from its neighboring states in Europe as well as Asia, and at the multiple changes and transformations that allowed a single dynasty, that of Osman, to rule the Eastern Mediterranean for six centuries. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the land and peoples that became known as the "Middle East" in the 20th century.

HISTORY 103U 001 - SEM 001: Proseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: Studies in Comparative Hist: America in the Middle East

Ussama Makdisi | Tu | 4:00 pm – 5:59 pm | Dwinelle 2303 | Class #32803 | Units: 4

This course is an advanced undergraduate seminar examining the history of the American encounter with the societies of the Middle East since the nineteenth century. It addresses topics including missionaries, anti-colonialism, Zionism, petroleum, development, Islamism, secular nationalism, cultural relations, anti-communism, and the “war on terror.” Students will read a range of primary and secondary sources in this subfield in order to prepare them to make their own, original contributions in the form of a substantial research paper.

Jewish Studies

JEWISH 100 001 - LEC 001: Introduction to Jewish Religion, Culture, and People “Travelers, Immigrants, Refugees: Introduction to Jewish History and Literature”

Oren Moshe Yirmiya | TU, TH | 9:30 am - 10:59 am | Dwinelle 234 | Class #:22731 Units:4

The course is intended to give Jewish studies minors a general introduction to the field through a survey of religious and cultural expressions of Jews across time and geographies. No previous knowledge of Judaism or Jewish Studies is necessary.

JEWISH 121B 001 - LEC 001: Jewish Art and Culture

Stephanie N Rotem |  M, W | 5:00 pm - 6:29 pm | Barrows 174 | Class #:32128 | Units:4

This course will provide an overview of Israeli art and culture and its place within the international cultural world. We will examine museums, theatre, visual art, popular music, and cinema, as they reflect the multi-cultural and pluralistic Israeli society.

JEWISH 123A 001 - LEC 001: Muslim-Jewish Encounters: From the Beginnings of Islam to Today

Ethan Benjamin Katz | TU, TH | 11:00 am - 12:29 pm | Barrows 60 | Class #:31207 | Units:4

The course takes us far beyond contemporary tensions between Muslims and Jews, and deep into a more complicated history that spans the Mediterranean and beyond. We move through topics that include the earliest encounters between Muslims and Jews during the years of the rise of Islam; the historical impact and legacy of the dhimmi (the system of rights and restrictions that defined Jews’ status for centuries under Islamic rule); the culturally fruitful shared experience of Jews and Muslims in Medieval Spain and the Ottoman Empire; the effects of French, British, and Italian colonialism in the modern Middle East; and the important conflicts over Zionism and Arab nationalism during the past century.

Legal Studies 

LEGALST 174 001 - LEC 001: Comparative Constitutional Law: The Case of Israel

Roy Peled | M, W | 5:00 pm - 6:29 pm | Latimer 102 | Class #:23052 | Units:4

This course will provide an introduction to constitutional law using Israel as a case study. Topics include: Constitutionalism and judicial review, state neutrality and self-determination, minority rights, state and religion, Human Rights Law, the concept of “defensive democracy" and ban of non-democratic political parties, legal aspects of the fight on terror, freedom of expression, equality and anti-discrimination, social rights, and constitutional limitations on privatization.

Middle Eastern Studies

MESTU H195 001 - IND 001: Honors in Middle Eastern Studies

Stephanie Ballenger | M | 2:00 pm - 4:59 pm | Wheeler 106 | Class #18641 | Units: 4

This course is the second of a two-semester senior honors program and culminates in the completion of a senior thesis. The thesis project begins with 102, which must be successfully completed before enrollment in H195. During this semester, an honors thesis of approximately 50-75 pages is completed under the direct supervision of the instructor of the Honors seminar program in International and Area Studies and a faculty member appropriate to the student's interest.

Near Eastern Studies

NESTUD 15 001 - LEC 001: Introduction to Near Eastern Art and Archaeology

Benjamin Porter | TU, TH | 11:00 am - 12:29 pm | Moffitt Library 150D | Class #30823 | Units: 4

The ancient Near East (present-day Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and Turkey) is considered the cradle of civilization. Here in Mesopotamia and its neighboring regions, the first cities arose, writing was invented, armies forged the earliest empires, and complex religious beliefs were expressed in art and architecture. This course surveys the major archaeological sites and monuments from the earliest settlements to the conquest of the Near East by Alexander the Great in 330 BCE.

NESTUD 101 001 - SEM 001: Women and Gender in Ancient Egypt

Carol Ann Redmount | TH | 2:00 pm - 4:59 pm | Barrows 252 | Class #30825 | Units: 4

Women have been ignored or marginalized in much of past scholarship on ancient Egypt despite their highly visible presence in and importance to ancient Egyptian society. This course examines the roles of women and gender in ancient Egyptian society and belief systems. It reviews sources of evidence and interpretive frameworks for understanding the public and private roles of women and the definition of gender in ancient Egypt. It also places the women of ancient Egypt and ancient Egyptian gender constructions into comparative contexts with other ancient eastern Mediterranean and Near Eastern societies.

NESTUD 114 001 - SEM 001: Digital Ancient Near East

Nicolaas Christaan Veldhuis | TU, TH | 3:30 pm - 4:59 pm | Barrows 271 | Class #31002 | Units: 3

Today, much of the information we gather on any topic comes from Internet sources. Goal of this class is to increase students' skills in critically evaluating the scholarly value of information on the Ancient Near East that is to be found in web pages, e-journals, and online books. We will consider the goal and context of sources of information (:touristic, commercial, scholarly, religious, etc.) and how this influences and filters the information provided. Although the class will focus on Internet resources, we will not neglect to use the same critical eye when using print media. The class will feature a number of collaborative projects in which this critical attitude may be practiced.

NESTUD 151 001 - LEC 001: Middle Eastern Women Writers

Nasser Meerkhan | TU, TH | 12:30 pm - 1:59 pm | Barrows 185 | Class #32629 | Units: 4

This course focuses on poetry, short stories, novels, and the history of Middle Eastern women writers. The course will feature writings from women of diverse social and religious backgrounds and their distinct role in shaping the cultural history of Arabic poetry and literature. Texts may range from the pre-Islamic to the Medieval period as well as contemporary writings in both print and digital. Students will examine various literary methods developed over time by women writers seeking to defend and assert their rights for independence, education, and self-fulfillment. Examining their narratives from both historical and fictional sources will allow us to reflect on contemporary concerns regarding freedom, human rights, and equality.

NESTUD 165 001 - LEC 001: Film and Fiction of Iran

Jaleh Jane Pirnazar |  M | 1:00 pm - 3:59 pm | Moffitt Library 150D | Class #:32266 | Units:4

Introduces students to major themes in modern Iranian literature and cinema. Short story readings and discussions provide an analytical framework for the screening of films covering diverse topics of significance in Iran today. All films have English subtitles; lectures and readings are in English. No prior knowledge of Iranian history or literature is required.

NESTUD 190A 001 - LEC 001: Special Topics in Fields of Near Eastern Studies: Ancient Near Eastern Studies: Egyptomania

Rita Lucarelli | TU, TH | 9:30 am - 10:59 am | Moffitt Library 340 | Class #24126 | Units: 4

Ancient Egypt has fascinated visitors since antiquity to our modern imagination. From mummies, pyramids, to King Tut, and enchanting mythologies, these fanciful ideas have made their ways in into books, movies, cartoons, and music. This course will explore the way ancient Egypt has been “consumed” in the West, from the Napoleonic campaign to modern pop culture. We will study the impact that the discovery of ancient Egypt and its wonderful monuments and civilization has had on art, literature, music, and even a number of religious and spiritual movements in the West as well as in Middle Eastern and African cultures.

NESTUD 190A 002 - LEC 002: Special Topics in Fields of Near Eastern Studies: Ancient Near Eastern Studies: The Archaeology of Death and Burial in the Ancient Near East

Benjamin Porter | W | 2:00 pm - 4:59 pm | Barrows 129 | Class #32420 | Units: 4

Topics explore themes and problems in the various fields of Near Eastern studies. They often reflect the research interests of the instructor and supplement regular curricular offerings. Specific descriptions of current offerings in this series are available through the department.

NESTUD 199 001 - IND 001: Supervised Independent Study and Research

Class #24813 | Units: 1 to 4

Enrollment is restricted by regulations shown in the <General Catalog.>

NESTUD R1B 001 - LEC 001: Reading and Composition in Near Eastern Studies: Gender, Sexuality, and the Bible

Jenna Kemp | TU, TH |12:30 pm - 1:59 pm | Evans 39 | Class #24211| Units: 4

Did you know that the Bible contains erotic love poetry? Or that sex workers play key roles in the narrative portions? How about that God had a wife? The Bible has been used as a normative text on issues of gender and sexuality, but it contains a complex and oftentimes problematic view on these topics. So what does the Bible really say? In this course we will read biblical text, focusing on the socio-historical contexts of the Bible’s authors. Together, we will reconstruct the Bible’s multiple views on issues such as God’s gender, sex work, love and relationships, and homosexuality and queerness.

NESTUD R1B 002 - LEC 002: Reading and Composition in Near Eastern Studies: Astronomy Before the Telescope: Pre-modern Understanding of the Heavens

Gil Breger | TU, TH | 9:30 am - 10:59 am | Barrows 151 | Class #32318| Units: 4

The starry skies have captivated the human imagination since time immemorial. Gazing into the night sky, many have tried to scrutinize its nature and meaning, from the Babylonians of ancient Mesopotamia over three thousand years ago, to the Greeks a millennium later, to the Islamic, Medieval, and Renaissance astronomers, just to name a few. In this course, we will explore different perspectives raised by the questions posed to astronomy and the answers given by skywatchers throughout history, leading up to Galileo's invention of the telescope at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The advent of the telescope forever changed the science of astronomy, and with it, the perception of the cosmos itself. We will read and discuss primary sources in translation as well as secondary literature dealing with pre-modern astronomy. No prior knowledge of astronomy or ancient languages is required.

NESTUD 298 001 - SEM 001: Seminar

Asad Ahmed | TU | 12:30 pm - 3:29 pm | Barrows 272 | Class #23646| Units: 1 to 4

Special topics in Near Eastern Studies. Topics vary and are announced at the beginning of each semester.

NESTUD 291 001 - WOR 001: Dissertation Writing Workshop

Class #32512| Units: 4

A faculty member will oversee the group, offering guidance and making sure guidelines are followed. Students will manage the group's day-to-day operations. At least one week before each meeting a student will pre-circulate a draft of a chapter. During the meeting, students will give feedback on the draft. This feedback will be used to revise the chapter, which will be due at the end of the semester. The workshop is open to graduate students from other departments who are writing on topics associated with Near Eastern Studies.

NESTUD 298 002 - SEM 002: Constructing the Other: Orientalism, Philology, and Discipline

Adam Benkato | M | 2:00 pm - 4:59 pm | Barrows 271 | Class #32546| Units: 1 to 4

This advanced seminar examines philological practice and its relationship with power, beginning with a close reading of Orientalism and proceeding to critical engagement with the key texts and methods of the related disciplines of NES, all while examining the discourses and critiques of knowledge production.

Political Science

POLSCI 124B 001 - LEC 001: War in the Middle East

Ron E Hassner | Tu, Th | 11:00 am - 12:29 pm | Genetics & Plant Bio 100 | Class #32683 | Units: 4

PREREQUISITES: PS124A (“War!”) is a prerequisite for this class.

This class begins with a historical overview of war in the region. The second part of the class introduces theories that complement and elaborate on theories from PS124A: arguments about the relationship between war and resources,religion, authoritarianism, civil military relations, territorial disputes, sovereignty, and power. In the third part of the course, we will explore current policy concerns related to conflict in the region: Nuclear proliferation, terrorism, the civil war in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, drone warfare, and the U.S. role in the region.


SOCIOL 280P 001 - LEC 001: Advanced Study in Substantive Sociological Fields: Area Studies

Sociology of the Middle East

Halil I Yenigun | M | 4:00 pm - 5:59 pm | Barrows 402 | Class #32069 | Units: 3

Courses under this number involve pursuing graduate study in substantive sociological subfields. The courses presume familiarity with the fields of study. Consult departmental catalog for current descriptions.

Language Courses


ARABIC 1B – Elementary Arabic

Nathalie Khankan | M, TU, W, TH, F | 8:00 am - 8:59 am | Barrows 252 | Class #18970 | Units:5

Nathalie Khankan | M, TU, W, TH, F | 9:00 am - 9:59 am | Dwinelle 33 | Class #18971 | Units:5

M, TU, W, TH, F | 10:00 am - 10:59 am | Dwinelle 33 | Class #18972 | Units:5

Amel By Belguith | M, TU, W, TH, F | 11:00 am - 11:59 am | Dwinelle 33 | Class #18973 | Units:5

Pei-chen Tsung | M, TU, W, TH, F | 10:00 am - 10:59 am | Barrows 252 | Class #33164 | Units:5

This course emphasizes the functional usage of Arabic in the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Authentic audio, video, and reading materials are presented from the beginning, and students are encouraged to be creative with the language in and out of class.

ARABIC 20B: Intermediate Arabic

Amel By Belguith | M, TU, W, TH, F | 9:00 am - 9:59 am | Barrows 118 | Class #18975 | Units:5

Hatem Ahmad Bazian | M, TU, W, TH, F | 11:00 am - 11:59 am | Barrows 118 | Class #18976 | Units:5

Elsa Elmahdy | M, TU, W, TH, F | 2:00 pm - 2:59 pm | Barrows 118 | Class #18977 | Units:5

This course is proficiency oriented. Authentic reading in modern standard and classical Arabic and the understanding and application of grammatical and stylistic rules are emphasized. Students deliver oral presentations and write academic papers in Arabic.

ARABIC 100B: Advanced Arabic

Haitham S. Mohamed |M, W, F | 11:00 am - 11:59 am | Dwinelle B3 | Class #18978 | Units:3

Intensive reading and analysis of texts of different genres. Guest lectures, films, documentaries, oral presentations, research papers. Formal and informal styles of writing and correspondence. Extensive vocabulary building.

ARABIC 111B 001 - LEC 001: Survey of Arabic Literature (in Arabic): Rabi’ fi Al-Ramad

Ahmad Diab | W |3:00 pm - 5:59 pm | Barrows 54 | Class #24164 | Units:3

This course offers a literary examination of what has been termed by the media as the “Arab Spring.” It investigates its preludes, its events and in some cases its aftermath as narrated through literary and artistic texts. The course explores themes of representation, memory, political commitment, (collective/individual) identity, space and mimesis amongst others. It investigates these themes through various textual representations of the “Arab Spring” in the modern Arab imagination. The selected texts come from various genres and cover different periods in modern Arab literary history: short stories, essays, caricature, novels, poems, and films.

ARABIC 115B 001 - LEC 001: Colloquial Arabic

Haitham S. Mohamed | M, TU, W, TH | 10:00 am - 10:59 am | Dwinelle B3 | Class #30820 | Units:4

This course introduces students to Egyptian Colloquial Arabic and the cultures of the region in which it is spoken. The focus of the course is on speaking and listening, but also includes readings from printed materials. The course draws on various media including advertisements, theater, and film composed in colloquial style. This course will also expose students to literature composed in colloquial. Moreover, students will study the social stratification in the Egyptian society along with an analysis of the speech of each social level. Students use their knowledge of Modern Standard Arabic as a platform for learning to communicate in Egyptian colloquial.


ARMENI 1B 001 - SES 001: Introductory Armenian

Myrna A Douzjian | TU, TH |  6:30 pm - 7:59 pm |  Dwinelle 235 | Class #:18979 | Units:3

An introduction to Armenian language and culture, aiming to give students basic competence in all four skills and an introduction to traditional and contemporary Armenian culture. 

ARMENI 102 001 - LEC 001: Advanced Readings in Specialized Armenian

Myrna A Douzjian |  W | 4:00 pm - 6:59 pm | Class #:30645 | Units:4

Selected readings in Armenian drawn from a wide range of texts—literature, history, journalism, politics, law, science and technology, business and economics, etc.—tailored to the academic interests of students enrolled. The course is designed to further develop students’ language skills and to link language competence to the study of the contemporary politics, culture, and society in Armenia and the Armenian diaspora.

ARMENI 124 001 - LEC 001: Armenian Literature in Social Context- Armenian Literature in Social Context: Modern and Contemporary Armenian Literature across Empires, Nations, and Peoples

Myrna A Douzjian | TU, TH | 5:00 pm - 6:29 pm | Dwinelle 109 | Class #:30646 | Units:4

This course covers selected works and topics in Armenian literature treated in a broad socio-cultural context. In addition to introducing students to some of the Armenian literary masterpieces, the course offers a lens through which to view the socio-political issues and historical legacies that shape Armenian culture and identity, in Armenia and in diaspora, in today’s globalized world. Lectures, readings and discussions in English. No knowledge of Armenian language is required (students with knowledge of Armenian read in the original). 


HEBREW 1B 001 - REC 001: Elementary Hebrew

Rutie Adler | M, TU, W, TH, F|  11:00 am - 11:59 am |  Barrows 275 | Class #:19906 |

HEBREW 100B 001 - LEC 001: Advanced Hebrew Israeli Cinema

Rutie Adler |  TH |  2:00 pm - 4:59 pm | Class #:33020 | Units:3

Advanced Hebrew, especially designed for those going on to the study of modern Hebrew literature. Vocabulary building, grammar review, and literary analysis of a sampling of modern texts. 

HEBREW 104B 001 - LEC 001: Modern Hebrew Literature and Culture Israeli Cinema

Class #:32702 Units:3

A close reading of selected works of modern Hebrew fiction, poetry, and drama in their cultural and historical contexts. Topics vary from year to year and include literature and politics, eros and gender, memory and nationalism, Middle-Eastern and European aspects of Israeli literature and culture. 

HEBREW 190B 001 - LEC 001: Special Topics in Hebrew

Chana Kronfeld | Class #:33107 | Units:3

Topics explore special themes and problems in Hebrew language and literature. They often reflect the research interests of the instructor and supplement regular curricular offerings. Specific descriptions of current offerings are available through the department. 

HEBREW 206 001 - LEC 001: Ancient and Modern Hebrew Literary Texts

Chana Kronfeld |  W |  2:00 pm - 4:59 pm |  Barrows 252 | Class #:30822 | Units:3

Focus on biblical texts seen from a literary point of view, attempting to establish connections with later Hebrew literature. 

HEBREW 202B 001 - LEC 001: Advanced Late Antique Hebrew Texts

Daniel Boyarin | TU | 2:00 pm - 4:59 pm |  Barrows 8B | Class #:22967 | Units:3

Historical and literary study of Hebrew and Aramaic Judaic texts (e.g., Talmud and Midrash). 


PERSIAN 1B 001 - LEC 001: Elementary Modern Persian

Gholam-reza Ghahramani | M, TU, W, TH, F | 10:00 am - 10:59 am | Barrows 271

Class #:20880 | Units:5

Introduction to Persian language, covering basics of the language skills in all aspects of reading, writing, listening comprehension, and speaking with emphasis on culture and communicative methods.

PERSIAN 11B 001 - REC 001: Reading and Composition for Persian-Speaking Students

Maryam Moeini Meybodi, Shahwali Ahmadi | M, TU, W, TH, F | 10:00 am - 10:59 am

Dwinelle B37 | Class #:20881 | Units:5

Designed for heritage students who possess oral skills (speaking/comprehension, though limited) but need to improve their writing and reading abilities, and expand their knowledge of Persian grammar and syntax. Completion of 11A-11B will prepare the student to take Persian 20A, Intermediate Persian.

PERSIAN 20B 001 - REC 001: Intermediate Modern Persian

Gholam-reza Ghahramani | M, TU, W, TH, F | 11:00 am - 11:59 am |  Barrows 271 | Class #:20882 | Units:5

The sequence begins in the fall. This course emphasizes reading of simple literary texts, expository writing and composition, formal conversation, grammar, and syntax. It involves intensive vocabulary building in preparation for advanced reading and comprehension of standard literary texts.

PERSIAN 100B 001 - LEC 001: Advanced Persian

Fateme Montazeri | TU, TH| 12:30 pm - 1:59 pm | Barrows 275 | Class #:20883 | Units:3

Emphasis on intensive vocabulary building, comprehensive grammar review, reading and analysis of short literary texts of various genres from classical and modern periods, and reading newspaper clips and other original sources in Persian media.

PERSIAN 103B 001 - LEC 001: Classical Persian Poetry

Shahwali Ahmadi | TU, TH | 11:00 am - 12:29 pm | Barrows 252 | Class #:30833 | Units:3

Systematic study of poems belonging to all genres of classical Persian poetry, with consideration of questions of prosody, rhetoric, and style.

PERSIAN 200B 001 - LEC 001: Readings in Persian Literary Texts

Shahwali Ahmadi | TU | 2:00 pm - 4:59 pm | Barrows 275 | Class #:30834 | Units:3

Advanced topics in Persian literature from various periods of Persian culture and literary history.


TURKISH 1B 001 - LEC 001: Elementary Modern Turkish

Jason Rodriguez Vivrette |  M, W, 10:00 am - 10:59 am | TU, TH  9:30 am - 10:59 am | Barrows 8A | Class #:22003 | Units:5

TURKISH 198 001 - GRP 001: Directed Group Study for Upper Division Students

Readings in Ottoman Turkish

F | 3:00 pm - 4:29 pm | Barrows 252 | Class #:22575 | Units:1 to 4

Center for Middle Eastern Studies
University of California, Berkeley
340 Stephens Hall, Berkeley, CA  94720-2314


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