Middle East Related Courses

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Summer 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.  

Global Studies

GLOBAL 154M 001 - LEC 001: Special Topics: Global Middle East - The Middle East Post-Petroleum

Session A: 6 weeks, May 26 - July 2
M, TU, W | 5:00 pm - 7:29 pm | Class #:12837 | Units:4

This course explores special topics, based on current research and interests and is focused on at least one global region. Using a social science perspective, students will engage in critical thinking about the way in which a particular region, or subset of a region, interacts with other states and societies.


Near Eastern Studies

NESTUD R1A 001 - LEC 001: Reading and Composition in Near Eastern Studies - Glancing Through Arabic Literature: Readings from Fables, Poetry, and Contemporary Novels

Session D: 6 weeks, July 6 - August 14
Lubna Safi | M, TU, W, TH | 10:00 am - 11:59 am | Class #:12310 | Units:4

A glance can be both cursory and probing. It can mean instant recognition or an uninterested look. What does a glance between lovers say? Or between strangers? What if a glance is something sinister? Both figuratively and literally, this course casts a wide glance at the long history of Arabic Literature (in translation). Among our readings will be an 11th century scientific text on the eye and its ways of seeing as well as a famous love treatise from Muslim Spain on the power of falling in love at the first glance. From the Thousand and One Nights we will learn what it means for a tale to be engraved with a needle at the corner of the eye.
We will also read selections from modern authors who grapple with surveillance among them Palestinian author, Atef Abu Saif’s novel, The Drone Eats with Me, and the one-sided and undesired look of the evil eye. One-sided glances can also mean privacy and anonymity as in Syrian novelist Khalid Khalifa’s In Praise of Hatred and in the stories emerging out of the so-called Arab Spring. Finally, we will also consider cultural encounters as a form of exchanging glances. Reading excerpts will include the travels of Ibn Fadlan with the Vikings and Ibn Batuta’s travels to Central Asia. Throughout our readings we will question the “glance” both its perspective and what means. If as Atef Abu Saif’s novel suggests reading is a kind of surveillance, is the reader's glance one of voyeurism? In developing close reading and critical thinking skills, we will practice making nuanced arguments and crafting effective sentences on our way to writing compelling essays.


NESTUD R1A 002 - LEC 002: Reading and Composition in Near Eastern Studies - Holy Fanfiction: Retelling Stories from the Bible and the Quran

Session D: 6 weeks, July 6 - August 14
Madeline Wyse | M, TU, W, TH | 10:00 am - 12:00 pm | Class #:15277 | Units:4

Muslims and Jews of the classical Islamic world produced a vast literature retelling the tales of famous Biblical and Quranic figures like Abraham, Moses, and Solomon. These retellings range from poems to romances, mystic parables to laugh-out-loud comedies. Often the same basic tale passed back and forth between the Jewish and Muslim communities, accumulating new ideas and motifs as it was told and retold. If these stories appeared today, we might categorize them as fanfiction, wild and inventive amateur retellings of "canonical" tales. In the ancient world they appeared in histories and exegetical works, as well as story collections. They provoked vigorous debates about the boundaries of pop culture and serious scholarship, humor and piety, and what makes a tale truly "Islamic" or "Jewish." We will read a survey of these tales, and analyze them both as works of literature and as sources for an often-overlooked period of social and intellectual history.
Requisites: Satisfaction of the Entry Level Writing Requirement.
First half of the Reading and Composition Requirement


NESTUD 146 001 - LEC 001: Islam

Session D: 6 weeks, July 6 - August 14
Hassan Rezakhany | TU, W, TH | 9:30 am - 11:59 am | Class #:15278 | Units:4

The course will first cover the history of the early Islamic movement and then transition to later developments in thought and literature. Readings and class materials will include selections from scripture, poems, the philosophical, theological, and legal traditions, and much more besides—even some jokes. Instruction will close with a brief examination of some of the varieties of modern Islam.
Meets Historical Studies, L&S Breadth
Meets Philosophy & Values, L&S Breadth
Meets Social & Behavioral Sciences, L&S Breadth



MUSIC 139 001 - LEC 001: Topics in Musics of the World - Popular Music in the Middle East

Session A: 6 weeks, May 26 - July 2
Nour El Rayes | M, TU, W, TH | 1:00 pm - 2:59 pm | Class #:12688 | Units:4

MUSIC 139 101 - LAB 101
Nour El Rayes | M, TU, W, TH |  3:00 pm - 3:29 pm | Class #:12689 | Units:4

This class provides an introduction to the popular musics of the Arab world from the 1920s through the early 2000s.The arrival of talking films and nationalized radio stations to Egypt and the Levant in the 1920s and 30s brought about seismic shifts in culture and politics. These new media allowed for an unprecedented level of circulation and reach, calling into question the meaning and value of popular culture broadly, and popular music more specifically. Alongside these shifts in new media, this era and the decades that followed saw a series of sociopolitical shifts unfold throughout the region: colonial governments collapsed or changed hands, new regimes rose and fell, populations scattered in the wake of war and occupation or rebuilt their countries in the spirit of independence. The goals of this course will be twofold: first, we will consider the ways that technology, global and regional politics, class, and gender shaped musical aesthetics. Second, we will interrogate the role that popular music played in shaping understandings of national identity and regional boundaries. Through close listening and reading assignments, students will develop listening and analytical skills specific to the music of the Arab world, and learn techniques for analyzing this popular music’s entanglement with its social, historical, and cultural context. How, for example, did the advent of radio technologies in Egypt shape the country’s music industry? What do the radio and music industries have to do with the rise of Arab Nationalism? What can the development of Lebanese indie-rock since the 1990s tell us about contemporary Lebanese sociopolitics?
Meets Arts & Literature, L&S Breadth
Meets International Studies, L&S Breadth


Language Courses


ARABIC 10 001 - REC 001: Intensive Elementary Arabic

Session C: 8 weeks, June 22 - August 14
Amel By Belguith | M, TU, W, TH, F | 9:00 am - 12:59 pm | Class #:11951 | Units:10

An eight-week intensive course intended to teach skills in oral comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing Arabic. Using up-to-date language teaching and proficiency-oriented methodologies, the course also covers the basics of Arabic morphology, syntax, and grammar. While the course's vocabulary is designed to serve the needs of daily conversation in any part of the Arabic speaking world, its simultaneous attention to the rules of morphology, syntax, and grammar serves the needs of the prospective scholar.
If you have any questions about the Arabic intensive, please email rania.shah@berkeley.edu or call 510-642-3758.
Students will receive no credit for ARABIC 10 after completing ARABIC 1B.


ARABIC 30 001 - LEC 001: Intermediate Arabic

Session C: 8 weeks, June 22 - August 14
Haitham S. Mohamed | M, TU, W, TH, F | 9:00 am - 12:59 pm | Class #:12826 | Units:10

This course is equivalent to a full year of intermediate level Arabic. It will deepen skills in speaking, comprehending, reading, and writing Modern Standard Arabic. 
If you have any questions about the Arabic intensive, please email rania.shah@berkeley.edu or call 510-642-3758.
REQUISITES: ARABIC 1B or ARABIC 10 with a minimum grade of C- or with the consent of the instructor.
Students will receive no credit for ARABIC 30 after completing ARABIC 20B.

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


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