Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Director of Undergraduate Studies: Kai Kresse, 513 Knox; 854-4766; firstname.lastname@example.org
African languages: Mariame Sy, 408 Knox; 851-2439; email@example.com
Arabic: Taoufik Ben Amor, 308 Knox; 854-2985; firstname.lastname@example.org
Armenian: Charry Karamanoukian, 407 Knox; 851-4002; email@example.com
Hebrew: Rina Kreitman, 411 Knox; 854-6519; firstname.lastname@example.org
Hindi/Urdu: Rakesh Ranjan, 409 Knox; 851-4107; email@example.com
Persian: Ghazzal Dabiri, 412 Knox; 854-6664; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sanskrit: Guy Leavitt, 311 Knox; email@example.com
Tamil: D. Samuel Sudanandha, 305 Knox; 854-4702; firstname.lastname@example.org
Turkish: Zuleyha Colak, 412 Knox; 854-0473; email@example.com
Departmental Office: 401 Knox; 854-2556
Nikit and Eleanora Orjanian Visiting Professor
The undergraduate program in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African studies (MESAAS) offers students the opportunity to study in depth the cultures, ideas, histories, and politics of several overlapping world regions. The program emphasizes a close engagement with intellectual traditions, creative movements, and political debates, drawing on a wide variety of historical and contemporary sources in literature, religion, political thought, law, the visual and performing arts, and new media. Courses also examine the historical and cultural contexts in which these traditions and debates have been produced.
Majors and Concentrations
Majors develop two closely related skills. The first is linguistic expertise. A minimum of two years of course work in one language is required, and further work (including intensive summer language study) is greatly encouraged, because the aim is to study a cultural field through its own texts and discourses. The Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies offers courses in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Hebrew, Armenian, Sanskrit, Hindi/Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Swahili, Wolof, and Zulu.
The second skill is learning how to think and write about complex cultural formations, drawing on a variety of methods and disciplinary approaches. The approaches vary according to the faculty members' expertise, incorporating methods from relevant fields in the humanities and social sciences, such as literary criticism, film studies, cultural studies, political theory, and intellectual history.
The only difference between the MESAAS major and the concentration is that the latter does not require language proficiency.