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Middle East Studies


Donna Robinson Divine
Morningstar Professor of Government
Director of Middle East Studies

email Send E–mail office Office: Wright Hall 106 phone Phone: 585–3536
Office Hours: Wednesday 2–4 p.m.

I began to undertake serious work on the Middle East as an undergraduate at Brandeis University, concentrating on the history of Islamic civilizations and language study. My graduate training at Columbia University broadened and deepened my knowledge of the Middle East through courses on classical Muslim history and on the region's economy and politics. Thus, although my focus is on the modern period, I am comfortable with the literary works and the cultural developments of the pre–modern Middle East.

Among students of the Middle East, my training in three of the region's major languages is distinctive, enabling me to conduct original research in Arabic, Hebrew, and Turkish. (Many of my articles appear on the syllabi of courses offered at universities in the Middle East.) Because my scholarly interests are focused on the political meaning of social and cultural trends, I tend to brew up my research projects in what might best be described as an "interdisciplinary cauldron."

My study of politics has led me to explore Muslim and Jewish cultures and the ways in which these cultures shape societies, order relationships between men and women, and structure how people of all classes understand their life options. Thus in my courses, you are likely to find information about food, fashion, music, and family dynamics as well as about wars and public policies.