Introduction

The interdisciplinary Middle East Studies major contributes to Dickinson’s coverage of global affairs. The major combines language study with courses in the humanities and social sciences, including a capstone senior research course. Majors may choose to study for one or two semesters in the Arab world or Israel.

Students can also earn a Minor in Arabic following the completion of five courses: two Intermediate Arabic courses (Arabic 201 and 202) and two Advanced Arabic courses (Arabic 360 on topics such as Media Arabic, Arabic Poetry, and Diplomacy Arabic) in addition to one MEST elective in the Humanities or Social Sciences.

Courses appropriate for prospective majors

MEST/HIST 121, Middle East to 1750
MEST/HIST 122, Middle East since 1750
MEST 200, Topics in Middle East Studies (a variety of different courses are offered under this course number; often they are cross listed with other departments, such as Religion, French, History, Political Science, or Judaic Studies)
MEST 200, Modern Egyptian Culture:  Literature and Cinema
MEST 231/HIST 371, The Arab-Israeli Conflict
MEST 233, U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Arab World
MEST 234/SOC 234, Middle Eastern American Communities
MEST 259/HIST 259/RELG 259, Islam
MEST 260/POSC 260, Media & Politics in the Middle East & North Africa
MEST 261/POSC 261, Authoritarianism & Change in the Middle East & North Africa
MEST 262/POSC 290/JDST 262, Zionism: Ideology, Institutions, Cultures & Contestations
MEST 264/POSC 290/JDST 264, Politics, Society and Culture in Israel
MEST 266/POSC 277/INST 277, International Politics of the Middle East
MEST 270/RELG 270, Middle Eastern Christianity
MEST 272/SOC 272, Islam and the West
MEST 280/ECON 214, Political Economy of the Middle East

FREN 364/MEST 200, Women of the Middle East:  Stories of Resistance
HIST 219, Topics in Middle East History
HIST 319, Studies in Middle East History
JDST 104, Judaism
JDST 216/RELG 241, Love, Sex and Hebrew Texts
JDST 216, Jews and Judaism in the Medieval World
JDST 240/RELG 240, Women, Gender and Judaism
JDST 316, Israeli Cinema
POSC 290, Comparative Politics of the Middle East
RELG 313, Eastern Orthodox Christianity

Courses that fulfill distribution requirements

Humanities (Division I):

MEST 200, Modern Egyptian Culture:  Literature and Cinema
MEST 259/HIST 259/RELG 259: Islam 
JDST 104: Introduction to Judaic Studies
JDST 216/RELG 241: Love, Sex and Hebrew Texts
JDST 216: Jews and Judaism in the Medieval World
RELG 312: Christianity in the Middle East
RELG 313: Eastern Orthodox Christianity

Social Sciences (Division II):
MEST/HIST 121, Middle East to 1750
MEST/HIST 122, Middle East since 1750
MEST 231/HIST 371, The Arab-Israeli Conflict
MEST 233, US Public Diplomacy in the MIddle East
MEST 234/SOC 234, Middle Eastern American Communities
MEST 260/POSC 260, Media & Politics in the Middle East & North Africa
MEST 261/POSC 261, Authoritarianism & Change in the Middle East & North Africa
MEST 262/POSC 290/JDST 262, Zionism: Ideology, Institutions, Cultures & Contestations
MEST 264/POSC 290/JDST 264, Politics, Society and Culture in Israel
MEST 266/POSC 277/INST 277, International Politics of the Middle East
MEST 272/SOC 272/MEST, Islam and the West
MEST 280/ECON 214, Political Economy of the Middle East
MEST 259/HIST 259, Islam

Global Diversity:
MEST/History 121, Middle East to 1750
MEST/History 122, Middle East since 1750
MEST 231/HIST 371, The Arab-Israeli Conflict
MEST 259/HIST 259/RELG 259, Islam
MEST 261/POSC 261, Authoritarianism & Change in the Middle East & North Africa
MEST 266/POLSC 277/INST 277, International Politics of the Middle East
MEST 272/SOC 272/MEST, Islam and the West
HIST 315, Modern Iran

Suggested curricular flow through the major

The MEST major was designed with the hope and expectation that all of our students would spend one or two semesters in the Arab world or Israel. As a result, we developed the curriculum so that a student who did spend one/two semesters abroad could complete all the requirements for the major, as long as they followed a few guidelines.

The guidelines are written for the entering student who may want to major in MEST. Rather than specify the courses that you “must” have in a given semester, the following are general guidelines regarding courses that we suggest you take during each year. You should think of these guidelines as giving you a fast track into the major – this provides maximum flexibility in your junior and senior years.

First Year
Fall Semester: MEST/HIST 121, and Arabic or Hebrew

Spring Semester: MEST/HIST 122, Arabic or Hebrew, and MEST elective in humanities or social science

Sophomore Year
Arabic or Hebrew (complete language requirement: 4 semesters)
One MEST elective in humanities or social science
One additional elective to be in a country that is NOT the focus of the language study
MEST general electives: please refer to the MAJOR section of the Academic Bulletin: Middle East Studies.

Junior Year

MEST general electives: refer to the MAJOR section of the Academic Bulletin: Middle East Studies.
Arabic or Hebrew

Recommend one semester or full year in study abroad program

Senior Year
Senior research
Finish all other MEST requirements (core courses, electives, language as needed)
Arabic or Hebrew

For information regarding the suggested guidelines, please feel free to contact a MEST faculty member and discuss with your advisor. Students not following these guidelines may still be able to study abroad and still complete the major, but will face a more demanding senior year.

Honors

A student will be awarded Honors if the student has a 3.50 average overall and in the major, and two readers (the thesis advisor and another reader) agree that the Senior Research Paper deserves an A.

Co-curricular activities/programs

Middle East Studies offers films and lectures that are coordinated with the core courses, but which are open to the entire community, often in cooperation with the participating departments.  The Arabic Club, a student-led organization associated with Middle East Studies, publishes a newsletter, organizes pizza/movie nights, offers calligraphy demonstrations and other programming that is open to the entire Dickinson community.  

Opportunities for off-campus study

Students should consult with the program coordinator and the Center for Global Study and Engagement to determine suitable opportunities for off-campus study. For students taking Arabic, Dickinson has a Partner Program with the American University in Cairo. For students taking Modern Hebrew, Dickinson has a Partner Program with the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.

Additional Remarks

Further information: Information on the particular courses being offered each semester are available online and from the Middle East Studies Program Coordinator.

Off-Campus study additional information: Majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad, but study abroad is not a requirement. Students should consult with their advisor and with the Executive Director of the Center for Global Study and Engagement, Samantha Brandauer.