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Middle East Studies

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The major in Middle East studies provides students with the opportunity to deeply explore this region's historical, political, social and cultural complexity. Broadly conceived, this geographical region stretches from North Africa to southwest and central Asia.

There are two minor tracks. A minor in Middle East studies provides an opportunity to study the region in an interdisciplinary fashion, with attention to key fields of knowledge. The minor in Arabic is designed for students wishing to achieve proficiency in modern Arabic.

 

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A Current Look at Syria

Beyond fragility: Syria and the challenges of reconstruction in fierce states, Steven Heydemann.

Interview with Professor Steve Heydemann

Professor Heydemann spoke with the Carnegie Endowment office in Beirut on February 2, 2018, in an interview about postwar reconstruction in Syria.

Requirements

 The Program in Middle East Studies expects students to graduate with an understanding of the histories, cultures, politics, economics and languages that define the lived experiences of the peoples of the Middle East from the emergence of Islam (7th century CE) to the present. This includes equipping students with the knowledge and skills to: 
  • Frame questions and situate core texts and ideas in their appropriate intellectual, social, material and cultural contexts.
  • Analyze and critique texts, ideas and materials produced in or pertaining to the Middle East from the rise of Islam to the present.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of Middle Eastern experiences through time and space, including an understanding of the interactions between the Middle East and other cultures, peoples, empires, economies and states.
  • Situate the Middle East in global flows of ideas, material cultures, technologies, and political, economic and social forms.
  • Understand how such global flows have shaped the Middle East and how the Middle East has influenced global movements of people, ideas and material forms across time and space.
  • Think critically, speak and write critically about the ways in which the interdisciplinary field of Middle East studies contributes to, broadens and challenges important theoretical, methodological, analytic and conceptual approaches applied to the study of the Middle East in the humanities and social sciences.
  • Apply knowledge of the Middle East to contemporary issues as informed and engaged citizens.
  • Attain beginning competency in a Middle Eastern language.

Requirements

11 courses (a minimum of 44 credits) are needed to satisfy the requirements of a major in Middle East studies and to meet the following distribution requirements.

1. Basis

MES 100: Introduction to Middle East Studies (1 credit).

2. Language

At least two years of language study in Modern Standard Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, Turkish or another approved Middle Eastern languages. Only the second year of language instruction will be counted toward the major. (8 credits). Please refer to additional guidelines for further information on language requirements.

3. Concentration

Four courses in an area of concentration, one of which is an upper-level capstone (300-level seminar or research-based special studies—MES 400). Areas of concentration may focus on the religion, history, politics, cultures (literature, film, music, art), or may explore an interdisciplinary topic such as gender in the Middle East, ethno-religious diversity of the region, etc. Students design a concentration in consultation with an adviser. (16 credits)

4. Electives

Four elective courses, of which at least three must be in areas other than the student’s concentration. Advanced study of a Middle Eastern language may count toward the elective courses (16 credits).

Additional Guidelines

1. All courses taken for major credit shall be drawn from courses listed or cross-listed by the Program in Middle Eastern Studies. Any First-Year Seminar cross-listed in MES may count toward the major.

2. Students will take at least one course with a primary focus on the Middle East beyond the Arab world (Iran, Israel, Turkey) in the fulfillment of major requirements.

3. Courses in the major may not be taken S/U.

4. Capstone: Majors must take one 300-level seminar or research-based MES 400 special studies course in their field of concentration. When MES 400 functions as the capstone for the major it must be a research-intensive course approved as the capstone by the major adviser.

5. No more than four courses in the major may be applied toward a double major.

6. Language study beyond the requirements of the major in Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, or Turkish at Smith or within the Five Colleges is strongly encouraged. Students may apply to the Middle East Studies Committee for funding of summer language study (e, g., Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Turkish). In addition, courses in Arabic dialects offered by any of the Five Colleges or by the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages may be applied toward the major, with approval of the student’s adviser. If a course offered by the FCCSWL is worth less than 4 credits, students will be expected to make up the credit shortfall through supplemental language instruction. Participation in study abroad programs offering intensive language instruction may count toward the MES major language requirement on approval of the student’s adviser.

7.  Students proficient in Modern Standard Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi or Turkish may take a placement exam in lieu of coursework. Students who place out of the MES major language requirement are expected to make up 8 credits of coursework through electives or the study of a second, approved regional language. 

8. Normally, at least half of a student’s courses towards the major shall be taken at Smith. Students who study abroad may petition the Program in Middle East Studies should they seek credit toward the major of non-Smith courses that exceed half of those required by the major.

The Middle East studies minor at Smith provides students with the opportunity to complement a major with a concentration of courses that treat the region in its historical, political, social and cultural complexity. The minor provides the opportunity to study the region in an interdisciplinary fashion, with attention to key fields of knowledge.

Requirements

Six semester courses are required.

Language (1 course)

Completion of at least one year of college-level Arabic or modern Hebrew. Only the second semester of the beginner’s language sequence counts as one of the six courses required for the minor, though students earn course credit toward overall Smith degree requirements for the full year. Additional language study of Arabic and Hebrew at the intermediate and advanced levels at Smith or within the Five College Consortium is strongly encouraged. Students may petition the MES Committee to substitute the minimum requirement of a year of Arabic or Hebrew with the study of another Middle Eastern language (Farsi, Turkish, etc).

Breadth Requirements (2 courses)
  1. A course on classical Islam or pre-modern (prior to 1800) Middle Eastern history, broadly defined. (Courses do not necessarily have to be offerings from the history department, but must be historically oriented.)  
  2. A course on modern history, contemporary politics/economics/cultures/sociology/anthropology or modern/contemporary Islamic thought.
Electives (3 courses)

In consultation with their adviser, students may choose additional electives in religion, literature, arts and/or history and the social sciences. 
 
Students who wish to conduct independent research may approach an adviser for permission to enroll in MES 400 (Special Studies). MES 400 is a research-intensive course, available only to qualified juniors and seniors, and would serve as one of the electives.
 
Apart from language classes, no more than two courses may be taken from the same department or program. And normally no more than three courses can be taken away from Smith.

The minor in Arabic is designed for students wishing to achieve proficiency in modern Arabic.

Requirements

Six semester courses (4 credits each) in Arabic.

Students may count only the second semester of Elementary Arabic as one of the six courses to be counted toward fulfillment of the minor.

Students must complete the equivalent of a full year of both Intermediate Arabic and Advanced Arabic.

Capstone course: At least one course, offered in Arabic, should be a non-language course that focuses on a topic or issue. Such courses, which may consist of a special studies, might include Media Arabic, Arabic literature, Arabic translation, Arabic linguistics (syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse analysis), aspects of Arabic culture, film, religions or philosophy.

Special studies in Arabic may count for as many as two of the six courses, so long as the special studies is worth 4 credits.

Courses in Arabic dialects offered by any of the Five Colleges or by the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages count toward the minor. If a course offered by the FCCSWL is worth less than 4 credits, students will have to make up the credit shortfall elsewhere.

Courses taught in English do not count toward the minor in Arabic.

Students are encouraged to fulfill some of the requirements toward the minor in an Arabic-speaking country, either during a semester or summer of study abroad. Courses taken outside Smith College or the Five College Arabic Program in Arabic language or in Arabic in any discipline must be approved by the head of the Arabic program at Smith (and by the student’s adviser).


Courses

ARA 100 Elementary Arabic I
This course introduces the basics of Modern Standard Arabic in addition to brief exposures to one of the Arabic dialects. It is aligned with the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines. Following ACTFL proficiency standards, students should be at the Novice-Mid level by the end of this course. The course begins with a focus on reading, pronouncing and recognizing Arabic alphabet and progresses quickly toward developing beginner reading, writing, speaking and listening proficiencies as well as cultural competence. It covers vocabulary for everyday use, and essential communicative skills relating to real-life and task-oriented situations (queries about personal well-being, family, work, and telling the time). 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 at the Novice level. In addition to the traditional textbook exercises from AlKitaab series, students will write short paragraphs and participate in role plays, presentations and conversations throughout the year. No pre-requisites for this course. Cap 18 students. Credits: 5 
Normally offered each fall 

ARA 101 Elementary Arabic II
This is a continuation of First-Year Arabic I. Students will complete the study of the Elementary Arabic AlKitaab book series along with additional instructional materials. Following ACTFL proficiency standards, students should be at the Intermediate-Low level by the end of this course. Emphasis will be on the integrated development of all language skills —reading, writing, listening and speaking—using a communicative-oriented, proficiency-based approach. By the end of this semester, students will acquire vocabulary, grammatical knowledge, and language skills necessary for everyday interactions as well as skills that will allow them to communicate with a limited working proficiency in a variety of situations, read and write about a variety of factual material and familiar topics in non-technical prose. In addition to the textbook exercises, students will write short essays, do oral and video presentations and participate in role plays, discussions, and conversations throughout the semester in addition to extra-curricular activities. Cap 18 students. Prerequisites: Arabic 100 or equivalent. {F} Credits: 5 
Normally offered each spring

ARA 200 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 101 or the equivalent. {F} Credits: 4 
Normally offered each fall 

ARA 201 Intermediate Arabic II 
A continuation of ARA 200. We complete the study of the Al Kitaab II book sequence along with additional instructional materials. In this course, we 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 nontechnical 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 gain a broad enough vocabulary that enables 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, extracurricular activities and a final project. Prerequisite: Arabic 201 or permission of the instructor. {F} Credits: 4 
Normally offered each spring 

ARA 300 Advanced Arabic I 
This helps 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 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 covers 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 
Normally offered each fall 

ARA 301 Advanced Arabic II
This course helps 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 through 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 
Normally offered each spring 

JUD 101 Elementary Modern Hebrew I 
The first half of a two-semester sequence introducing modern Hebrew language and culture, with a focus on equal development of the four language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Learning is amplified by use of online resources (YouTube, Facebook newspapers) and examples from Hebrew song and television/film. No previous knowledge of modern Hebrew is necessary. Enrollment limited to 18. Credits: 5 
Normally offered each fall 

JUD 102 Elementary Modern Hebrew II 
The second half of a two-semester sequence introducing 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 are able to comprehend short and adapted literary and journalistic texts, describe themselves and their environment, and express their thoughts and opinions. Learning is amplified by use of online resources (YouTube, Facebook newspapers) and examples from Hebrew song and television/film. Prerequisite: JUD 101 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 18. {F} Credits: 5 
Normally offered each spring 

The Program in Jewish Studies at Smith College partners with the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts to offer Smith students a full complement of courses to bring them to advanced proficiency in modern Hebrew. Normally, students who have completed JUD102 at Smith College will enter UMASS Hebrew 301 in the fall and follow it with Hebrew 302 in the spring. In fall 2017 Hebrew 301 will be taught by Joanna Caravita. Smith students will not have to travel to UMASS if they enroll in this course. There will be able to participate in the class through videoconference at Smith. For more information on the Hebrew program, or if you have a question about language placement please contact Joanna Caravita.

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

MES 100 Introduction to Middle East Studies 
This 8-week course of weekly lectures will provide students with a comprehensive overview of the Middle East by focusing on the big questions that animate the teaching and research of faculty in Middle East Studies and related fields. Graded S/U. Credits: 1 
Normally offered each fall 

MES 203 Introduction to Middle East Comparative Politics 
This lecture class provides an introduction to the comparative politics of the Middle East. Readings, lectures, and discussions will examine political environments in the Middle East, with a focus on states as units of analysis, and on the general processes and conditions that have shaped state formation, the formation of national markets, and state-society relations in the region. The course will equip students to understand and critically assess how political interests are organized; the development of major political, social, and economic structures and institutions; and sources of political contestation within Middle Eastern societies. {S} Credits: 4 

MES 210 Modern Middle Eastern Cinema 
Same as HST 210. This course explores the history of Middle Eastern culture and socio-political thought through cinema. It will focus on the representations of gender, sexuality, class, and the evolution of socio-political ideologies over the course of the 20th-21st centuries. Further, it investigates how Arab filmmakers portrayed their reality cinematically, and how they viewed the lens a medium for socio-political debate. {H} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

MES 217 ​International Relations and Regional Order in the Middle East 
The focus of this lecture course will be on the dynamics of inter-state relations in the broader Middle East (encompassing Turkey, Israel, and Iran). It will provide a brief introduction to relevant theoretical frameworks that have been used to explain the international and regional relations of the Middle East. It then applies these theoretical frameworks through in-depth attention to a wide range of themes and cases. In addition to readings on specific cases, the course will cover the origins and development of the Arab state system, alliance dynamics, the effects of oil on international relations, war and international relations, and the domestic sources of Middle East international relations. {S} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years

MES 220 The Arab Spring 
Explores the social, economic and political causes and effects of the mass protest movements that came to be known as the Arab Spring or the Arab Uprisings. Through a wide range of readings, documentaries, media accounts, social media content, and other materials we dissect the most significant, and still unresolved, political transformations in the Middle East in the last 100 years. A previous course in Middle Eastern politics, history or culture recommended, but not required. Credits: 4 
Normally offered in alternate years 

MES 222 Islam and Democracy in the Middle East 
This course aims to address the following questions: Are Islam and Democracy compatible? How is religious interest defined? How are Islamic images and institutions used? What is the historical relationship between Islam and politics? When and under what conditions is Islam publicized and politicized? Is Islam compatible with modernity? Is it possible to be modern and Muslim at the same time? How do Islamic scholars deal with the questions of "difference", democracy, and science? What are the social and political origins of reformist and democratically inclined Islamist parties and movements? How do they envision the relationship between Islam and democracy? (E) {S} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

MES 230 Society and Development in the Middle East 
This course focuses on the political economy of the Arab Middle East with emphasis on the social dimensions of economic development. It provides students with insight into the effects of shifting economic and social policies and economic conditions on the peoples of the Middle East and the social transformations that have accompanied post-colonial processes of state- and market-building. It explores how economic conditions shaped political activism, social movements, modes of protest, and broader patterns of state-society relations. Students will become familiar with theories of economic and social development and major analytic frameworks that are used to assess and make sense of society and development in the Middle East. (E) {S} Credits: 4 
Normally offered in alternate years 

MES 235 Perspectives on the Arab-Israeli Conflict 
Same as JUD 235. 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 a series of turning-points in the conflict and the quest for peace, and the ways in which public memory is consistently reshaped through film, museums, and/or literary texts that challenge existing historical narratives. No prerequisites. Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

MES 240 Encounters with Unjust Authority: Political Fiction of the Arab World 
This colloquium will expose students to contemporary political literature of the Arab world in translation. Through their critical engagement with this literature, students will gain a nuanced, tangible, and deeply dimensional understanding of contemporary life in the Middle East and the many diverse and complex ways in which lives of the region’s peoples are shaped by their political circumstances. Enrollment limit of 20. {L} {S} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

MES 380 Seminar: Authoritarianism in the Middle East 
This upper-level seminar focuses on the durability of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and North Africa. The course examines the emergence of authoritarian regimes in the Arab world; their consolidation into full-fledged systems of rule; patterns and variation in authoritarian governance among Arab states; the political economy of authoritarianism; state-society relations under authoritarian rule; and authoritarian responses to democratization, economic globalization and pressures for political reform. Prior course work on the history, politics, sociology, anthropology of the modern Middle East is useful. (E) {S} Credits: 4 
Normally offered in alternate years

ARH 228 Islamic Art and Architecture 
This course surveys Islamic visual art and architecture from the spread of Islam in the seventh-century until the present day, covering the Dome of the Rock and Persian miniatures to French Orientalism and Arab Spring graffiti. Attention is focused upon the relationships between Islamic visual idioms and localized religious, political and socioeconomic circumstances. In particular, lectures and readings examine the vital roles played by theology, royal patronage, gift exchange, trade and workshop practices in the formulation of visual traditions. Direct analysis of Islamic artworks at the Smith museum expand students’ command of critical visual analysis. Group A, Group B {A} {H} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

ARH 280 Art Historical Studies 
Topics course. (Students may take up to four semesters of ARH 280 Art Historical Studies, as long as the topics are different). 
Age of Imperial Encounter: 19th-Century Art of the Middle East 
The 19th-century Middle East witnessed a flourishing of strange and hybrid architecture and visual culture that blended local traditions with global trends. As local empires waned, European forces spread new models of elite culture. How did art of the 19th-century Middle East respond to shifts in political, social and cultural power? How do we define hybridity in art and can we break it free from Orientalist paradigms? Students acquire knowledge of 19th-century Islamic art and history, develop skills of critical looking, and gain an advanced vocabulary to evaluate visual culture under colonialism. Group B {A} {H} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

FRN 230 Colloquium in French Studies 
Topics course. (A gateway to more advanced courses. These colloquia 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 230. Enrollment limited to 18. Basis for the major. Prerequisite: 220 or permission of the instructor). 
“Banlieue Lit” 
In this course, students study fiction, memoir, slam poetry and hip-hop authored by residents of France’s multi-ethnic suburbs and housing projects, also known as the banlieues and cités. We examine the question of whether banlieue authors can escape various pressures: to become native informants; to write realistic rather than fantastical novels; to leave the “ghetto”; to denounce the sometimes difficult traditions, religions, neighborhoods and family members that have challenged but also molded them. Often seen as spaces of regression and decay, the banlieues nevertheless produce vibrant cultural expressions that beg the question: Is the banlieue a mere suburb of French cultural life, or more like one of its centers? {F} {L} Credits: 4 
Normally offered each academic year 

FYS 157 Syria Beyond the Headlines 
Syria today is at the center of turmoil that is remaking the Middle East and challenging global security. Civil war, violent extremism, sectarian polarization and the globalization of terrorism have devastated the country, leading to mass population displacement and the most severe humanitarian crisis since WWII. By exploring the historical origins and the current trajectory of Syria’s revolution in 2011 and its collapse into violent conflict, the seminar provides critical insight into the forces that are defining the future of Syria and the Middle East. Enrollment limited to 16 first-year students. WI {S} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

FYS 186 Israel: Texts and Contexts 
What is the role of the writer in constructing a nation's founding myths and interpreting its present realities? How do literature and film about Zionism and Israel navigate and interpret tensions between sacred and secular; exile and homeland; language and identity; indigenous and colonial; war and peace? Intended for students with an interest in the relationships between history, politics, and narrative. Enrollment limited to 16 first-year students. WI Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

GOV 224 Colloquium: Globalization From an Islamic Perspective 
This course introduces students to the diversity of political and economic challenges and opportunities facing the Muslim world in a globalizing context. We cover a range of contemporary topics from the legacies of colonialism, evolving human security issues, and the emergence of Islamist politics to the popularity of Islamic banking and commerce, as well as changing gender roles. Enrollment limited to 20. Credits: 4 
Normally offered in alternate years 

GOV 248 The Arab-Israeli Dispute 
This course investigates the causes and effects of the Arab-Israeli disputes of the past and present as well as the viability of efforts to resolve them. We consider the influence of Great Power Politics on the relationship between Arab states and Israel, and between Palestinian Arabs and Israelis. Our exploration of the conflict touches on issues related to human security, terrorism and political violence as well as broader questions of human rights, national identity and international governance. {S} Credits: 4 
Normally offered in alternate years 

GOV 326 Seminar in Comparative Politics 
Topics course. 
The Middle East and North Africa 
This course serves as an overview of major themes in political science research pertaining to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), while exploring the politics of individual countries from a comparative perspective. We investigate topics concerned with regime type and existing political institutions, political ideology and social movements, economic development, and civil-military relations. Assigned literature considers the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas on the contemporary MENA through a political, economic, and sociological lens, while explaining both regional trends and intra-regional variation. {S} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

GOV 341 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. It introduces students to the diversity of challenges facing the region and gives 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 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

GOV 347 Seminar in International Politics and Comparative Politics 
Topics course. 
North Africa in the International System 
This seminar examines the history and political economy of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya,focusing on the post-independence era. Where relevant, Egypt and Mauritania will be treated. The seminar sets Maghrebi (North Africa) politics in the broader context of its regional situation within the Mediterranean (Europe and the Middle East), as well as its relationship to sub-Saharan Africa and North America. Study is devoted to: (1) the independence struggle; (2) the colonial legacy; (3) contemporary political economy; and (4) post-colonial politics and society. Special attention will be devoted to the politics of Islam, the “status” of women and political change. {S} Credits: 4 
Normally offered each fall 

HST 208 (L) The Making of the Modern Middle East 
This is an introductory course on modern Middle Eastern history, (1789–2011), focusing on the main socio-political and cultural forces that affected the region. It analyzes how specific events and long-term processes informed the realities of Middle Eastern life with emphasis on significant developments, including Ottoman reform; role of imperialism and colonialism; the emergence of nationalism(s) the rise of nation-states; and ideologies such as Zionism and Islamism. {H} Credits: 4 
Normally offered each academic year 

HST 209 (C) Aspects of Middle Eastern History 
Topics course. 
Women, Gender and Power in the Middle East 
This course analyses the development of gender discourses and the lived experiences of women throughout the history of the region. The topics covered include the politics of marriage, divorce and reproduction; women’s political and economic participation; questions of masculinity; sexuality; the impact of Islamist movements; power dynamics within households; and historical questions around the female body. It provides an introduction to the main themes and offers a nuanced historical understanding of approaches to the study of gender in the region. Credits: 4 
Normally offered each academic year 

HST 227 (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. Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

HST 229 (C)  A World Before Race?: Ethnicity, Culture and Difference in the Middle Ages 
Twenty-first century scholars argue that race is a constructed social identity that began to coalesce around the seventeenth century. But were they right? In this course, we will look to the Middle Ages to challenge the consensus that racial constructions were a byproduct of modernity. Does race function differently between the world of Latin Christendom and that of the dar al-Islam? What are the advantages and dangers of using the prism of race to analyze ethnic, cultural and religious differences in this medieval period? What does studying race in the Middle Ages teach us about contemporary conceptions of race? Enrollment limit of 18. {H} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

JUD 200 Intermediate Modern Hebrew 
Continuation of JUD 100y. Emphasizes skills necessary for proficiency in reading, writing and conversational Hebrew. Transitions from simple Hebrew to more colloquial and literary forms of language. Elaborates and presents new grammatical concepts and vocabulary, through texts about Israeli popular culture and everyday life, newspapers, films, music and readings from Hebrew short stories and poetry. Prerequisite: one year of college Hebrew or equivalent or permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 18. Offered at Smith in alternate years. {F} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

JUD 210j Jewish Studies in the Field 
Enables students to focus on the intersection of Jewish Studies and a topic of regional, national, or global concern through intensive field study. Instructor permission only. (E) 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

JUD 288 History of Israel 
Israel, from the pre-state origins of Zionism in the late 19th century to the present. Analysis of ongoing challenges, with special attention to competing identities, the place of religion in civil life, political conflict, and traditions of critical self-reflection. Interpretation of Israeli political and cultural history through discussion of primary sources and documentary film. {H} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

JUD 362 Seminar in Jewish Studies 
Topics course. 
The Middle East Peace Process 
What has prevented a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?  Is it solvable, or can it only be managed?  Teams of students investigate key issues at the heart of the conflict (borders, sovereignty, security, settlements, Jerusalem, refugees, competing historical claims) in order to create position papers and a framework for an international conference.  Students scrutinize the various state, regional, and international players to evaluate the status quo, variations on the two-state solution, and alternative models critically.  A previous course in Middle Eastern history or politics such as Gov 248 or MES 235 is recommended.  Includes meetings with outside experts.  Limited to 12 students. {L} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 
 
MUS 220 Topics in World Music 
Topics course. 
Popular Music of the Islamic World 
Music is a thorny issue in many Islamic societies. There is often tension between hardliners who believe that music has no place in Islam and thus try to prohibit it and those who tolerate it, albeit within well-defined parameters. The debate intensifies in the case of popular music. Despite this, there is an incredible variety of vibrant popular music traditions throughout the Islamic world. In this course, we engage with Islamic debates on popular music, explore music in a variety of cultures (e.g., Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Senegal and Turkey), and examine the ways they illuminate different themes (forms of Islam, issues of diaspora, gender considerations, musical diversity, etc.). No prerequisites, though MUS 101 is helpful. {A} {S} Credits: 4 
Normally offered in alternate years 

REL 110 Colloquia: Thematic Studies in Religion 
Topics course. 
The Holy Land 
This course examines the concept of the “Holy Land” according to the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It explores the ways the Holy Land has been defined and sanctified in scripture and in works of art, architecture, literature, poetry and film. It also explores the ways that political rulers have tried to tap into the sanctity of the Holy Land to promote their own legitimacy. The course emphasizes 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 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

REL 245 The Islamic Tradition 
The Islamic religious tradition from its beginnings in seventh 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} 
Normally offered each academic year 

REL 246 Islamic Thought and the Challenge of Modernity 
Major themes addressed by Muslim thinkers since the 18th 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} 
Normally offered each academic year 

REL 247 The Qur’an 
The Qur’an, according to the majority of Muslims, is God’s word revealed to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel over a period of 22 years (610–632 C.E.). This course introduces students to Islam’s scriptural text: its content, form, structure and history. It also situates the Qur’an in the larger frame of the genre of Scripture: What does it mean for a text to be revealed? Study of the Qur’an as a seventh-century product, as well as the history of reception of this text. Analysis of its varying impact on the formulation of Islamic salvation history, law and legal theory, theology, ritual, intellectual trends, and art and popular culture. {H} {L} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

REL 248 Topics in Modern Islam 
Topics course. 
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, Sharia/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 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

REL 249 Islamic Popular Music 
Same as MUS 249. Music is a complex issue in many Islamic societies. There are tensions between those who believe music has no place in Islam and try to prohibit it, those for whom it is a central component of mystical devotion, and those who tolerate it, albeit within well-defined parameters. The debate intensifies in the case of popular music, a core part of the self-identification of young people everywhere. Despite this, there is an amazing variety of vibrant popular music throughout the Islamic world. This course will explore the religious debates over music and the rich musical tradition (including religious music) in Islam.  {A} {H} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

REL 345 Seminar: Islamic Thought 
Muslims and Shari‘a Law 
This seminar explores the complexity and history of Shari‘a Law in Islam. It examines the formation of a variety of schools of practice of Shari‘a from very early on in Islamic history until today and the way Muslim jurists have maintained the relevance of Shari‘a to their respective societies and times. It covers topics such as: the theory and application of Shari‘a, purpose of Shari‘a, sources of Shari‘a (e.g., Qur‘an, Muhammad, customs), hermeneutical tools (e.g., reason, public good, doubt), and the laws themselves. The course also discusses the interaction of Shari‘a with other legal systems, especially in the context of today where Shari‘a is restricted to a small realm (primarily family and personal law). Limited to juniors, seniors (and others by permission of the instructor). {H} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

SPN 230 Latin American and Peninsular Culture and Society 
Topics course.  May be repeated once with a different topic. 
Maghribi Jewish Women: Cordoba, Casablanca, Tel Aviv 
This course examines constructions and representations of Maghribi Jewish women from the western Mediterranean to Israel. The first part of the course focuses on Jewish women in Andalusi and Maghribi texts. Students are invited to think critically about concepts such as "tolerance," "convivencia," and "dhimma," as well as what it means to be a woman and a religious minority in Muslim-majority communities. The second half of the course examines representations and realities of Jewish women of Moroccan descent in Israeli society. This part centers on questions of immigration, class, demography, gender, diaspora and identity. Enrollment limited to 19. {F} {L} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

SPN 245 Topics in Latin American and Peninsular Studies 
Topics course. May be repeated once with a different 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 focus on Jewish women’s literary and cultural contributions to predominantly Muslim societies, primarily in the western Mediterranean. Students are also 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. Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

SPN 250 Survey of Iberian Literatures and Society I 
Topics course. 
Sex and the Medieval City 
This course examines the medieval understanding of sex and the woman’s body within an urban context. We read medieval texts on love, medicine and women’s sexuality by Iberian and North African scholars. We investigate the ways in which medieval Iberian medical traditions have viewed women’s bodies and defined their health and illness. We 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. Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years 

SPN 332 Seminar: The Middle Ages Today 
Topics course.  
Islam in the West 
This transdisciplinary course examines the intimate, complex and longstanding relationship between Islam and the West in the context of the Iberian Peninsula from the Middle Ages until the present. Discussions focus on religious, historical, philosophical and political narratives about the place of Islam and Muslims in the West. Students are also invited to think critically about “convivencia,” “clash of civilizations,” “multiculturalism” and other theories that seek to make sense of the relationship between Islam and the West. Enrollment limited to 14. Permission of the instructor. Offered Spring 2018 during the 2017-18 academic year. {F} {L} Credits: 4 
Expected to be offered in the next 3 years

MES 400 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: 1-4 
Normally offered each academic year 

MES 430D Honors Project 
Credits: 4 
Normally offered each academic year

 

The Program in Middle East Studies encourages students to study in the Middle East or North Africa as a way to complement their course work at Smith, deepen their facility in language and immerse themselves in the cultures of the region. All Smith students who wish to study abroad during the fall, spring or academic year must follow the regulations and deadlines set by the Office for International Study. Normally, students only are permitted to study at a Smith-approved program abroad. The full list of Smith-approved programs is available on the website of the Office for International Study.

Smith-Approved Programs in the Middle East and North Africa

Jordan

Read about “The Best Cities to Study Arabic in the Middle East.”

CET Amman: Intensive Language

Terms: Fall, Spring
Location: Amman
Language of Instruction: English, Arabic
Prerequisites: One year of college level Arabic (Smith requirement). All students are required to take both modern standard and colloquial Jordanian Arabic while in Amman.
Program Highlights: In this intensive language program, classes extend well beyond Intensive MSA. in addition to intensive language study, students select two content-based electives—language classes taught in Arabic that focus on the history, politics, and culture of the Arab World. Advanced students have the possibility of attending a few lectures on the host campus—a rare chance to experience university learning just as a local student would. Students take a full load of Arabic language classes, live with a local roommate, meet with an Arabic language partner, and attend co-curricular language activities.

CIEE in Jordan
Terms: Fall, Spring, Year
Location: Amman
Language of Instruction: English
Prerequisites: One year of college-level Arabic (Smith requirement). All students are required to take both modern standard and colloquial Jordanian Arabic while in Amman.
Program Highlights: Students begin the semester with a course of colloquial Jordanian Arabic, supplemented by excursions and lectures on regional topics. After the initial orientation period, students begin their course in Arabic language and two area studies courses in such fields as anthropology, archaeology, culture, economics, history, literature, politics and religion. Students have the option of living in an apartment with other CIEE program participants, or with a Jordanian family.

SIT Jordan: Modernization and Social Change
Terms: Fall, Spring
Location: Amman
Language of Instruction: English
Prerequisites: One year of college-level Arabic (Smith requirement).
Program Highlights: Based in the capital city of Amman, students conduct academic fieldwork within Jordan. Students study modern standard Arabic and live in homestays in Amman for nine to 13 weeks. Educational excursions to ancient cities of Petra, Wadi Rum, Jerash Aqaba and the desert castles. A one-week visit to Egypt, conditions permitting, offers students additional regional insights.

Morocco

SIT Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights
Terms: Fall, Spring
Location: Rabat
Language of Instruction: English
Prerequisites: One year of Arabic language (Smith requirement)
Program Highlights: Program includes homestay; rural stay in the High Atlas Mountains; educational excursions in Marrakech, Fes, Meknes and the Zagora desert area; and four-week independent study project.

SIT Morocco: Migration and Transnational Identity
Terms: Fall, Spring
Location: Rabat
Language of Instruction: English
Prerequisites: One year of Arabic language (Smith requirement)
Program Highlights: Program includes a homestay; rural stay in the High Atlas Mountains; educational excursions to Tangiers, Chefchaouen, Marrakech and Andalusia, Spain; courses included Moroccan Arabic, a migration studies seminar and a four-week independent study project.

Israel

Arava Institute for Environmental Studies
Terms: Fall, Spring, Year
Location: Kibbutz Ketura, Arava Desert, Israel (40 minutes north of the Gulf of Aqaba)
Language of Instruction: English
Prerequisites: One year of college-level Arabic or Hebrew (Smith requirement)
Program Highlights: The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies encourages environmental cooperation between peoples. Students from Israel (both Jewish and Arab), the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and abroad study regional environmental issues in a way that works toward peace and sustainable development. Students live together, and all classes are held on the kibbutz. The program of study includes frequent field trips to environmental sites throughout Israel; visits by leading environmental activists and policy makers; leadership training; and independent research. The idea that nature knows no political borders is more than a belief at the Arava Institute; it is a fact, a curriculum and a way of life.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Rothberg School for Overseas Students
Terms: Fall, Spring, Year
Location: Jerusalem, Mt. Scopus
Language of Instruction: Hebrew, English
Prerequisites: One year of college-level modern Hebrew (Smith requirement).
Program Highlights: The Rothberg School offers specially designed courses for Americans and other international students. Classes are taught in English, and the program offers internship and volunteer opportunities as well as excursions, activities and independent study. Housing in residence halls with Israeli students. The Rothberg School has compressed the terms for foreign students to fit the U.S. calendar. To receive full credit, Smith students are required to complete the intensive Hebrew Ulpan in August. Students wishing to take courses at Hebrew University with Hebrew classmates (in Hebrew) will need to follow the Israel academic calendar, which has later end dates.

Tel Aviv University
Terms: Fall, Spring, Year
Location: Tel Aviv
Language of Instruction: Hebrew, English
Prerequisites: One year of college-level modern Hebrew (Smith requirement).
Program Highlights: Fall (October-January), spring (January-June), or full-year program. Mandatory intensive Hebrew language sessions offered before each semester. The fall Ulpan begins in late July/early August. The program offers specially designed classes for English-speaking students from all over the world. Orientation, excursions and weekend seminars are included in the program. Students live in residence halls with Israeli or international roommates.

Other Study Abroad Programs in the Middle East

Warning: The following programs are not on the list of Smith-approved study abroad destinations. They are here for informational purposes only.

In certain exceptional cases, the Office for International Study and the Committee on Study Abroad may entertain petitions for study at institutions that are not on the Smith-approved list of programs abroad. Participation in such programs requires a student petition and the formal approval of the Committee for Study Abroad and the Office of International Study. The CSA and OIS base their approval on a wide variety of factors, including (but not limited to) student safety, travel warnings, quality of the academic program, availability of student housing, level of administrative support at the institution abroad, and recommendations from peer institutions. Smith faculty of the Program in Middle East Studies are familiar with the following programs:

Egypt

CASA (Center for Arabic Study Abroad, Cairo)
AUC (The American University in Cairo)

Israel

Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) International School of Engineering

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

University of Haifa-International School

Lebanon

AUB (The American University of Beirut)

SINARC (Institute for Intensive Arabic Language and Culture at the Lebanese American University)

Oman

SIT Oman

Jerusalem/Abu Dis/Ramallah

Al-Quds University-Bard College Program

Turkey

CIEE, Koc University
Baylor University, Bogazici

United Arab Emirates (Sharjah)
CIEE, The American University of Sharjah

The Program in Middle East Studies strongly encourages students to study abroad, particularly in the Middle East or North Africa. Studying in the Middle East can be an important complement to your studies at Smith.

For more information about summer study and funding, please contact Steven Heydemann, director of Middle East Studies.

Funding

Funding for summer study is very limited and normally covers only a portion of the total cost of attending a summer program.

Summer Language Programs

Summer offers excellent opportunities to deepen your language skills.

Most of the programs on the list of Smith-approved study abroad programs (consult the website of the Office for International Study) also offer excellent summer programs in Middle Eastern language, politics, history or culture. Credits are transferable back to Smith.

During the summer, students may elect to attend programs that are not on the approved list. Such programs may not be eligible for summer funding due to ongoing State Department travel warnings. Transfer of credit from such institutions may require the approval of the program and/or the registrar.

Note that prices normally do not include the cost of airfare. In some cases, costs for housing are included, while in other cases it is not. Please consult the individual program websites for the most up-to-date information on dates, fees and program information.

Jerusalem

Center for Jerusalem Studies, Al-Quds University
Arabic, Jerusalem. A program of Al-Quds University. The CJS offers Intensive Arabic language from beginner through advanced levels, and also includes lectures and tours of Jerusalem from a Palestinian perspective.

Jordan

Read about "The Best Cities to Study Arabic in the Middle East."

CET Arabic, Irbid Jordan. CET Jordan students have their sights set on mastering Arabic. Students dive head first into language learning, taking courses in both formal and informal Arabic. Middle Eastern studies courses, language partners, local roommates and a language pledge ensure that students return home well versed in Arabic and its contexts. This program is for serious students with at least two terms of previous Arabic language study under their belt.

CIEE: Jordan Arabic, Amman Jordan. The summer Arabic Language study abroad program in Amman, Jordan, is for students who have a strong interest in developing a solid foundation in Modern Standard Arabic and seek to begin or accelerate their language proficiency through an intensive language program. In addition to rigorous course work in Modern Standard Arabic and Colloquial Jordanian Arabic, students participate in language club activities and program excursions designed to give them opportunities to apply their language skills and learn firsthand about Jordanian culture and society.

SIT Study Abroad Arabic, Amman Jordan. Students acquire not only basic vocabulary but also practical communication skills, including culturally appropriate gestures, necessary to communicate in a variety of everyday situations with native speakers.

Amideast Summer Intensive Arabic in Jordan. Intensive course work, combined with daily interactions with host families, helps students at all levels and to increase their Arabic proficiency in a short period of time. 

Egypt

The American University in Cairo (AUC), Arabic Language Intensive Program.  A summer program is offered in which students can receive 6 to 8 credit hours. Courses offered at the elementary, intermediate and advanced levels.

Lebanon

SINARC-Summer Institute for Intensive Arabic Language and Culture. Arabic, Beirut Lebanon. SINARC is hosted at the Lebanese American University (Beirut Campus). SINARC offers courses in Arabic language and culture at various levels of proficiency. Each level provides intensive classroom instruction. Cultural activities include weekly lectures on topics related to Arab and Lebanese politics, history, society and culture.

Oman

Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center's (SQCC) Summer Arabic Language and Media (SALAM). A fully funded intensive Arabic language scholarship program. This program will allow students to gain a deeper knowledge of Arabic, while becoming familiar with Omani history and culture.

Morocco

ALIF Program. Arabic, Fez Morocco. The Arabic Language Institute of Fez offers both Modern Standard Arabic and Colloquial Moroccan Arabic.

CIEE: Morocco. Arabic, Rabat Morocco. The summer Language and Culture study abroad program in Rabat, Morocco is appropriate for students who have a strong interest in developing their Arabic language skills and learning firsthand about contemporary Morocco. Through language courses and an innovative course that explores Morocco’s rich history and culture, students improve their Arabic skills while gaining greater insight into present-day Moroccan society.

SIT Study Abroad in Morocco. Arabic, Rabat Morocco. Following arrival, students are placed in one of three language levels—beginner, intermediate or advanced. All students receive a total of 90 hours of classroom instruction in Modern Standard Arabic, intensive language instruction in small group formats, have field exercises and enjoy weekly office hours with language instructors.

Israel

Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Hebrew, Arabic. Jerusalem Israel. Each summer, the Rothberg International School offers intensive language courses in Hebrew and Arabic, in addition to a full program of courses in Middle East studies.

Tel Aviv University. Hebrew, Arabic. Tel Aviv Israel. TAU's summer programs offer undergraduates the opportunity to study language or to enroll in courses related to the contemporary Middle East. Classroom learning is supplemented by field trips, overnight trips, guest speakers, evening workshops. Tel Aviv University is located in the suburb of Ramat Aviv, a short distance for the cultural institutions, nightlife and beaches of Tel Aviv.

University of Haifa. Hebrew, Arabic, Haifa Israel. Classes meet four days per week, six hours each day, and students can expect several hours of homework each day. Intensive Hebrew is offered through an model immersion (ulpan), from elementary through advanced. In the Arabic program one additional day each week is devoted to a field trip to visit locations of interest in Arab-speaking communities in the northern parts of Israel.

Language Programs Based in the United States

Middlebury College Summer Arabic School, (Middlebury, VT)

Brandeis-Middlebury Hebrew Summer Language School (Middlebury, VT)

Brandeis Hebrew Language Summer Institute (Brandeis University, Waltham MA)

The Jewish Theological Seminary Intensive Hebrew Language Summer Program (NYC)

Other Summer Programs

Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. Kibbutz Ketura, Negev Desert, Israel. The Sustainability Summer Program at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is an opportunity for college students to learn about the environmental challenges that are connected to human settlement in the Southern Arava and discuss and examine the social and political challenges of the region.

The Sams Fund is a restricted fund established by Betty Hamady Sams ’57 and James F. Sams to support the study of Arab history, culture, politics, religion and art at Smith College. The intent of the Sams Fund is to foster greater understanding among Americans and people of Arab countries.

Eligibility

Tenured and tenure-track faculty, lecturers, postdoctoral fellows and currently enrolled students of Smith College are eligible to apply for support within the guidelines noted below.

The Sams Fund does not support student language study. Students may request support for the study of Middle East languages through the Near East Studies Fund.

Activities Supported

Priority will be given to proposals seeking support for activities that contribute to the development of Middle East studies at Smith College, clearly advance the goals of the fund and show promise of lasting impact. Eligible activities include the following.

Scholarship

To facilitate scholarship focused on the history, culture, politics, religion, and art of the Middle East and North Africa.

Faculty-Student Collaborations

To support collaborative research and learning activities between faculty and students in eligible fields.

Curricular Development

To provide support and funding to create new, permanent courses or to revise existing ones. Proposals can include requests for summer stipends as well as course materials.

Co-curricular Activities

To support lectures, exhibitions and other scholarly events that foster a greater understanding of the Middle East and North Africa among the Smith community and the broader public. Priority will be given to programs or events that show promise of broad and lasting impact.

Award Details

Sams Fund awards are offered on a competitive basis according to the following guidelines.

  • Funding requests in support of scholarship will not typically exceed $2,000
  • Requests in support of faculty-student research collaborations may not exceed $500
  • Requests in support of curricular development may not exceed $1,000
  • Requests in support of co-curricular activities will not typically exceed $2,000

The Sams Fund welcomes applications that include co-funding of proposed activities. All awards, including requests for funding in support of travel and/or participation in professional meetings, must comply with Smith College expense and reimbursement policies.

Successful applicants may not receive more than one award from the Sams Fund in an academic year. Eligible faculty may only receive one Curriculum Development award every two years.

Application Procedures

Eligible faculty and students may apply by submitting a project proposal of not more than five pages describing the purpose of the project, the specific activities for which support is sought, the contribution of the project to the development of Middle East studies at Smith College and their intended impact, estimated duration of the project and the proposed budget.

Application Deadlines

Applications will be reviewed by the Middle East Studies Program Advisory Committee. Proposed activities may begin on notification of funding. Deadlines for applications are as follows:
Fall: September 17, 2018
Spring: February 11, 2019
Summer: May 13, 2019

Applications should be submitted to SamsFund@smith.edu.

Report On Activities

Grant recipients must submit a brief written report to the Middle East Studies Program Advisory Committee no later than 90 days following completion of the award period. Awardees who fail to submit a report will be ineligible for future funding.

Contact

Middle East Studies

Wright Hall 225
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3503
Fax: 413-585-3389

Director: Steven Heydemann

Administrative Assistant:
Sherry Wingfield

Individual appointments may be arranged directly with the faculty.