Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies

Administrative Information

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Kai Kresse, 513 Knox; 854-4766;

Language Coordinators:
African languages: Mariame Sy, 408 Knox; 851-2439;
Arabic: Taoufik Ben Amor, 308 Knox; 854-2985;
Armenian: Charry Karamanoukian, 407 Knox; 851-4002;
Hebrew: Rina Kreitman, 411 Knox; 854-6519;
Hindi/Urdu: Rakesh Ranjan, 409 Knox; 851-4107;
Persian: Ghazzal Dabiri, 412 Knox; 854-6664;
Sanskrit: Guy Leavitt, 311 Knox;
Tamil: D. Samuel Sudanandha, 305 Knox; 854-4702;
Turkish: Zuleyha Colak, 412 Knox; 854-0473;

Departmental Office: 401 Knox; 854-2556

Muhsin J. Ali Al-Musawi
Partha Chatterjee
Hamid Dabashi
Mamadou Diouf
Wael Hallaq
Sudipta Kaviraj
Rashid Khalidi
Mahmood Mamdani
Joseph Massad

Brinkley Messick
Dan Miron
Timothy Mitchell
Sheldon Pollock
Frances Pritchett (emeritus)
George Saliba

Associate Professors
Gil Anidjar
Allison Busch
Kai Kresse

Assistant Professors
Nanor Kebranian
Mana Kia

Senior Lecturers
Taoufik Ben Amor
Abdul Nanji
Rakesh Ranjan

Ouijdane Absi
Aftab Ahmad
May Ahmar
Leyla Amzi-Erdogdular
Ghada Badawi
Tarik Belhoussein
Nehama Bersohn
Rym Bettaieb
Jane Clayton
Ihsan Colak
Zuleyha Colak
Ghazzal Dabiri
Reem Faraj

Charry Karamanoukian
Rina Kreitman
Youssef Nouhi
Dalpat Rajpurohit
D. Samuel Sudanandha
Mariame Sy
John Zuzo

Nikit and Eleanora Orjanian Visiting Professor
Helen Evans

On Leave
Prof. Rajpurohit (Fall 2014)

Profs. Massad, Pollock (Spring 2015)

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.