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Courses

2014 -2015 Courses

For course descriptions and updates please consult the Smith College Course Catalog.

Please be sure to consult the Five College online catalog for relevant courses offered elsewhere in the consortium. Upper level Hebrew is offered at the University of Massachusetts. Consult an adviser in advance to determine whether a course taken at another campus will count towards the minor.

Five College Center for the Study of World Languages

The Five College Center for the Study of World Languages offers a mentored language program in Turkish, Persian, and high intermediate/advanced Arabic. Courses are for self-motivated students and combine individual study and conversation sessions.

Language

ARA100Y Elementary Arabic
A year-long course that introduces the basics of Modern Standard Arabic, this course concentrates on all four skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Beginning with the study of Arabic script and sound, students will complete the Georgetown text Alif Baa and finish Chapter 15 in Al Kitaab Book I by the end of the academic year. Students will acquire vocabulary and usage for everyday interactions as well as skills that will allow them to read and analyze a range of texts. In addition to the traditional textbook exercises, students will write short essays and participate in role plays, debates, and conversations throughout the year. Enrollment limited to 18 students. ARA 100y may not be taken S/U.Credits: 5 per semester, 10 for yearlong course
Olla Al-Shalchi, Fall 2014
John Weinert, Spring 2015
Offered Fall 2014, Spring 2015

JUD100Y Elementary Modern Hebrew
A year-long introduction to modern Hebrew language and culture, with a focus on equal development of the four language skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. By the end of the year, students will be able to comprehend short and adapted literary and journalistic texts, describe themselves and their environment, and express their thoughts and opinions. Learning will be amplified by use of online resources (YouTube, Facebook, newspapers) and examples from Hebrew song and television/film. This course will involve regular collaboration with students from the Introduction to Modern Hebrew course at Mount Holyoke College. No previous knowledge of Modern Hebrew is necessary. Enrollment limited to 18. May only be taken S/U with approval of the instructor and the director of Jewish Studies. JUD 100y is required for students wishing to study abroad in Israel. Y courses cannot be divided at midyear with credit for the first semester.{F}Credits: per semester, 10 for yearlong course
Joanna Caravita
Offered Fall 2014, Spring 2015

ARA200 Intermediate Arabic I

According to the ACTFL standards, this course is Intermediate Low Arabic. It covers the four skills of the language. Writers at the Intermediate level are characterized by the ability to meet practical writing needs, such as simple messages and letters, requests for information, and notes. In addition, they can ask and respond to simple questions in writing. At the intermediate level, listeners can understand information conveyed in simple, sentence-length speech on familiar or everyday topics while readers at the same level can understand information conveyed in simple, predictable, loosely connected texts. Readers rely heavily on contextual clues. They can most easily understand information if the format of the text is familiar, such as in a weather report or a social announcement. Speakers at the Intermediate level are distinguished primarily by their ability to create with the language when talking about familiar topics related to their daily life. They are able to recombine learned material in order to express personal meaning. Students should expect text assignments as well as work with DVDs, audio materials and websites. Exercises include writing, social interactions, role plays, and the interplay of language and culture. Prerequisite is ARA 100Y or the equivalent.{F}Credits: 4
Olla Al-Shalchi
Offered Fall 2014

ARA201 Intermediate Arabic II

A continuation of ARA 200. We will complete the study of the AlKitaab II book sequence along with additional instructional materials. In this course, we will continue perfecting knowledge of Arabic integrating the four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing using a communicative-oriented, proficiency-based approach. By the end of this semester, you should have sufficient comprehension in Arabic to understand most routine social demands and most non-technical real-life conversations as well as some discussions on concrete topics related to particular interests and special fields of competence in a general professional proficiency level. You will have broad enough vocabulary that will enable you to read within a normal range of speed with almost complete comprehension a variety of authentic prose material and be able to write about similar topics. Also by the end of this semester, you should have a wide range of communicative language ability including grammatical knowledge, discourse knowledge and sociolinguistic knowledge of the Arabic language. You should expect text assignments as well as work with DVDs, audio and video materials and websites. Exercises and activities include essay writing, social interactions, role plays and in-class conversations, oral and video presentations that cover the interplay of language and culture, extra-curricular activities and a final project. Prerequisite: Arabic 201 or permission of the instructor.{F}Credits: 4
Olla Al-Shalchi
Offered Spring 2015

ARA300 Advanced Arabic I
The goal of this course is to help students achieve an advanced level of proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic with an exposure to one Arabic colloquial variety using the four-skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening) approach. Students will read within a normal range of speed, listen to, discuss and respond in writing to authentic texts by writers from across the Arab world. Text types address a range of political, social, religious, and literary themes and represent a range of genres, styles, and periods. All of these texts may include hypothesis, argumentation and supported opinions that will cover both linguistic and cultural knowledge. This course covers Al-Kitaab, Book 3, Units 1-5 in addition to extra instructional materials. Prerequisite: ARA 202, or the completion of Al-Kitaab, Book 2 or its equivalent. Students must be able to use Formal Spoken Arabic as the medium of communication in the classroom.{F}Credits: 4
John Weinert
Offered Fall 2014

ARA301 Advanced Arabic II
This course aims help students reach Advanced proficiency in Arabic through language study and content work focused on Arab history, literature, and current events. We continue to focus on developing truly active control of a large vocabulary thru communicative activities. Grammatical work focuses on complex grammatical constructions and demands increased accuracy in understanding and producing complex structures in extended discourse. Preparation for class and active, cooperative participation in group activities are essential to students’ progress in this course. Requirements also include active participation in class, weekly essays, occasional exams and presentations and a final written exam. This course covers Al-Kitaab, Book 3, Units 5-10 in addition to extra instructional materials. Prerequisite: ARA 301, or the completion of Al-Kitaab, Book 3, Lessons 1-5, or the equivalent. Students must be able to use Formal Spoken Arabic as the medium of communication in the classroom.{F}Credits: 4
John Weinert
Offered Spring 2015

MES390 Media Arabic

This course will introduce the language of the print and the internet news media to students of Arabic seeking to reach the advanced level. It makes it possible for those students to master core vocabulary and structures typical of front-page news stories, recognize various modes of coverage, distinguish fact from opinion, detect bias and critically read news in Arabic. The course enables students to read extended texts with greater accuracy at the advanced level by focusing on meaning, information structure, language form, and markers of cohesive discourse. The course requires significant independent work and initiative. Prerequisites: Equivalent of three years of college-level Arabic study, or permission of the instructor.{F}Credits: 4
Mohamed Hassan
Not Offered this Academic Year

Advanced study in Hebrew is offered at UMass or through Special Studies at Smith.
Please consult the website of the Program in Jewish Studies (www.smith.edu/jud) for a full list of summer Hebrew language programs.

Cross-listed Courses



FRN230 Colloquium in French Studies
A gateway to more advanced courses. These colloquium develop skills in expository writing and critical thinking in French. Materials include novels, films, essays, and cultural documents. Students may receive credit for only one section of FRN 230. Enrollment limited to 16. Basis for the major. Prerequisite: FRN 220 or permission of the instructor.

French Islam
"IslamdeFrance" is a survey of contemporary flashpoints in the debate surrounding the place of Islam in French society. Students analyze a wide variety of new media documents including internet resources, journalistic articles and blogs, advertising, music videos, documentaries, the "khutbas" of prominent imams, legal texts, political pamphlets and posters, slam poetry, talk shows, as well as photo and video art. The italicization of "de" in "IslamdeFrance" reflects the extent to which the question of Islam’s possible roots in France has been contested: can a homegrown, European, even Republican Islamic tradition emerge in France?{F}{L}{S}Credits: 4
Mehammed Mack
Offered Fall 2014

FYS186 Israel: Texts and Contexts
What is the role of the writer in the construction of a nation’s founding myths and interpretation of its present realities? Explores the relationship between Zionism as the political movement that established the State of Israel and Zionism as an aesthetic and cultural revolution. Focuses on efforts to negotiate tensions between sacred and secular; exile and homeland; language and identity; Arab and Jew; and Israel’s self-definition as a democratic and Jewish state. Reading of fiction and poetry complemented by discussion of historical documents, popular culture, and landscape. Intended for students with an interest in the relationship between literature and politics. This course counts toward the Comparative Literature and Jewish Studies majors and the Middle East Studies minor. Enrollment limited to 16 first-year students.{L}{WI}Credits: 4
Justin Cammy
Offered Fall 2014

GOV224 Colloquium: Islam and Development

This course delves into the development issues facing Muslim-majority countries through a political economic lens and considers the validity of "Muslim exceptionalism" in the context of Muslim countries' developmental trajectories. The aim is to introduce students to the diversity of challenges facing the Muslim world, exploring the roots of underdevelopment and tentative progress under a variety of conditions, and inquiring whether these same challenges and successes are unique to Muslim countries or shard by their non-Muslim counterparts. A range of contemporary issues will be covered: from the legacies of chronic political instability, conflict, and the "resource curse" to the effects of widespread demographic change, urbanization, and the evolution of gender roles. The first part of the course reviews theoretical questions and debates surrounding the concept of political and economic development in the Muslim world with a view to considering whether a unique "Muslim template" exists to inform how these processes transpire. The second part of the course explores a number of cases ranging from countries in North Africa and the Middle East to states in Southeast and Central Asia in the interest of highlighting and applying, but also challenging the knowledge gained from our introductory theoretical discussions.{S}Credits: 4
Bozena Welborne
Offered Spring 2015, Fall 2015

GOV341 Seminar in International Politics

Topics course.

The Middle East in World Affairs
This course considers the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) through an international relations lens, exploring how the region broadly interacts with the rest of the world. The aim is to introduce students to the diversity of challenges facing the region and give students the tools for a more substantive analysis of its ever-changing context. The class is divided into two sections: the first section represents a general overview of the most salient issues in the region including the Arab-Israeli conflict, while the second section incorporates case-study explorations of specific topics ranging from U.S. foreign policy in the MENA to the Arab Spring.{S}Credits: 4
Bozena Welborne
Offered Fall 2014

HST208(L) The Making of the Modern Middle East
This course is designed as an introduction to the modern history of the Middle East with a focus on the 18th century to the present. The main political, economic, social, and cultural institutions and forces that have most profoundly affected events in the region. Identifying how specific events and long-term processes have informed social and political realities in the Middle East. Focus on significant developments and movements, including Ottoman reform; the emergence of Arab nationalism and the rise and formation of modern nation states; the role of imperialist and colonial powers in the region; regional conflicts; Zionism; Islamism, and social and cultural changes.{H}Credits: 4
Nadya Sbaiti
Offered Fall 2015

HST209(C) Aspects of Middle Eastern History
Topics course.

Madrasas, Missionaries, and Modernities: Education in Middle Eastern History
This course examines Islamic, missionary and colonial educational institutions and content, and the rise of nationalist systems of pedagogy in the modern history of the Middle East. How did being "educated" change over time? What impact did the shift from an oral to written tradition have on different societies? How is education related to notions of upbringing, knowledge, and culture? We will examine how competing notions of "modern" education influenced the rise of "secular", Islamist, and western-oriented pedagogies, the role of the intellectual, social, political, and cultural capital of language, and the significance of education in the contemporary Middle East.{H}{S}Credits: 4
Nadya Sbaiti
Offered Spring 2015

HST227(C) Aspects of Medieval European History
Topics course.

Crusade and Jihad: Religious Violence in the Islamo-Christian Tradition
This course juxtaposes the medieval understanding of religious violence and war in the Western Christian and Islamic traditions with modern understandings of those same phenomena. It traces the intellectual development of these concepts during the Middle Ages, and how medieval conceptions of violence are reinterpreted and redeployed in the 19th through 21st centuries.{H}Credits: 4
Joshua Birk
Offered Spring 2015

HST307 Problems in Middle East History
Topics course.

The Middle East and World War One
The Middle East in the context of the First World War and its immediate and far-reaching aftermath. This pivotal moment cemented new imaginings of both nation and state, with consequences for population movements, changing political compasses, and new social, cultural, economic, and religious formulations. Topics include colonialism, Arab and state nationalisms, Zionism, and Islamism, as well as peasant, labor, communist, and women's movements. We will examine primary sources including diplomatic and political documents, memoirs, the press, photographs, and film.{H}Credits: 4
Nadya Sbaiti
Offered Spring 2016

JUD235 Perspectives on Israeli History

Explores key issues in the political, social, and cultural history of Zionism and the State of Israel, as examined through a specific topic of current interest. Discussions over controversies in historiography may be amplified by exploring the ways in which public memory is consistently reshaped through film, museums, and/or literary texts that challenge existing historical narratives. No prerequisites.{H}Credits: 4
Justin Cammy
Offered Spring 2016

REL110 Colloquia: Thematic Studies in Religion

The Holy Land
This course will examine the concept of the "Holy Land" according to the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It will explore the ways the Holy Land has been defined and sanctified in scripture and in works of art, architecture, literature, poetry, and film. It will also explore the ways that political rulers have tried to tap into the sanctity of the Holy Land to promote their own legitimacy. The course will emphasize the significance of the common heritage of the Holy Land, as well as how it has inspired religious and political conflict. Enrollment limited to 20.{H}Credits: 4
Suleiman Mourad
Offered Spring 2015

REL245 The Islamic Tradition
The Islamic religious tradition from its beginnings in 7th century Arabia through the present day, with particular emphasis on the formative period (A.D. 600-1000) and on modern efforts at reinterpretation. Topics include Muhammad and the Qur'an, prophetic tradition, sacred Law, ritual, sectarianism, mysticism, dogmatic theology, and popular practices. Emphasis on the ways Muslims in different times and places have constructed and reconstructed the tradition for themselves.{H}Credits: 4
Suleiman Mourad
Offered Fall 2014

REL246 Islamic Thought and the Challenge of Modernity

Major themes addressed by Muslim thinkers since the eighteenth century, such as Islamic reform and revival, the encounters with colonialism and imperialism, nationalism and other modern ideologies; and Islamic discussions of modernity, liberalism, conservatism, fundamentalism, and militancy. Reading of primary sources in translation.{H}Credits: 4
Suleiman Mourad
Offered Spring 2015

REL248 Topics in Modern Islam

Topic: Jihad
The persistence of the ideology of jihad in modern Islam drives revivalists and apologists to disagree over the meaning of "jihad" and whether it should be understood to necessitate violence or as an interpersonal spiritual struggle. This course examines the most important modern debates about Jihad and how each position engages and appeals to the foundational Islamic sources (e.g. Qur’an, Muhammad, Shari‘a/Islamic Law) and Islamic history for legitimacy. It also explores the factors that make the rhetoric used by modern jihadists popular among certain Muslim constituencies, inspiring them to wage holy war against "infidels" as well as fellow Muslims. Course may be repeated for credit with a different topic. Enrollment limited to 35.{H}Credits: 4
Suleiman Mourad
Not Offered this Academic Year

REL345Seminar: Islamic Thought

Topic: The Qur’an
The Qur’an, according to the majority of Muslims, is God’s word revealed to Muhammad through angel Gabriel over a period of 22 years (610-632 CE). This seminar will introduce students to Islam’s scriptural text: its content, form, structure, and history. It will also situate the Qur’an in the larger frame of the genre of Scripture: What does it mean for a text to be revealed? As such, the course will examine the Qur’an as a seventh century product and as a text with a long reception-history among Muslims, exploring how it influenced to varying degrees the formulation of salvation history, law and legal theory, theology, ritual, intellectual trends, and art and popular culture.{H}Credits: 4
Suleiman Mourad
Offered Fall 2014

SPN245 Topics in Latin American and Peninsular Studies

Topic: Jewish Women of the Muslim Mediterranean
This course examines the experiences of Jewish women in al-Andalus and North Africa from the Middle Ages until today. Discussions will focus on Jewish women’s literary and cultural contributions to predominantly Muslim societies, primarily in the western Mediterranean. Students will also be invited to think critically about concepts such as "tolerance" and "dhimma," as well as what it means to be a woman and a religious minority in mostly-Muslim countries. Course taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPN 220 or above, or permission of the instructor. Cannot be repeated for credit. Enrollment limited to 19.{A}{F}Credits: 4
Ibtissam Bouachrine
Offered Fall 2014

SPN250 Survey of Iberian Literatures and Society I

Sex and the Medieval City
This course examines the medieval understanding of sex and the woman's body within an urban context. We will read medieval texts on love, medicine and women's sexuality by Iberian and North African scholars. We will investigate the ways in which medieval Iberian medical traditions have viewed women's bodies and defined their health and illness. We will also address women's role as practitioners of medicine, and how such a role was affected by the gradual emergence of "modern" medical institutions such as the hospital and the medical profession. Prerequisite: SPN 220 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 19.{F}{L}Credits: 4
Ibtissam Bouachrine
Offered Fall 2014

SPN332 Seminar: The Middle Ages Today
Topics course.

Queer Andalus and North Africa
This course examines the medieval and early-modern Iberian and North African understanding of sexuality in light of modern critical theory. Special attention will be given to Maghrebi and Iberian representations of same-sex desire. Readings will include texts by Ibn Hazm, al-Tifashi, al-Nafwazi, Wallada, Ibn Sahl of Seville, and Ibn Quzman. Course taught in Spanish. Enrollment limited to 14.{F}{L}Credits: 4
Ibtissam Bouachrine
Offered Spring 2015

Special Studies


MES400 Special Studies

Admission by permission of the Program in Middle East Studies, normally for junior and senior minors in Middle East Studies, and for qualified juniors and seniors from other departments. Offered both semesters each year.Credits: 1 TO 4
Members of the Department
Offered Fall 2014, Spring 2015

MES430D Honors Project
Credits: 4 OR 8
Members of the Department
Offered Fall 2014, Spring 2015