University of Southern California

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Middle East Studies

Taper Hall of Humanities 449
(213) 740-2795
FAX: (213) 740-9354
Email: mdes@dornsife.usc.edu
dornsife.usc.edu/mesp

Chair: Laurie A. Brand, Ph.D.

Faculty

Robert Grandford Wright Professor and Professor of International Relations and Middle East Studies: Laurie A. Brand, Ph.D. (International Relations)

Professor: Azade-Ayse Rorlich, Ph.D. (History)

Associate Professor: Ramzi Rouighi, Ph.D. (History)

Assistant Professor: Olivia Harrison, Ph.D. (French and Italian)

Assistant Professor (Teaching) of Persian: Peyman Nojoumian

Lecturers: Dina Jadallah, Ph.D.; Hani Khafipour, Ph.D.; Afaf Nash, Ph.D.; Suzan Wali

Associated Faculty

John Elliott Chair in Economics: M. Hashem Pesaran, Ph.D. (Economics)

Professors: Richard Dekmejian, Ph.D. (Political Science); Jeffrey B. Nugent, Ph.D. (Economics and Business); Bruce Zuckerman, Ph.D. (Religion)

Associate Professor: Sarah Gulatieri, Ph.D. (History and American Studies and Ethnicity)

Assistant Professor: Christelle Fischer-Bovet, Ph.D. (Classics)

Associate Professor of the Practice: Lynn Swartz Dodd, Ph.D. (Religion)

Lecturers: Fayez Hammad, Ph.D. (Political Science); Rym Kaki, Ph.D. (Public Policy)

Bachelor of Arts in Middle East Studies

This major is an interdisciplinary degree which draws on courses from anthropology, classics, economics, history, international relations, Judaic studies, linguistics, political science and religion. It offers students interested in exploring the richness and complexity of the Middle East, broadly defined as extending from Morocco through Iran, a framework for developing both expertise and wide-ranging critical perspectives on the region’s past, present and future. The variety of courses will allow students to tailor their choices to a range of possible emphases. Two options are also available regarding language study. The first, which is strongly recommended for all students, but especially for those who seek to pursue a career using Middle East studies, stresses the importance of a regional language (at this point, Arabic, Hebrew or Persian), along with other disciplinary offerings. The second allows students to gain an in-depth understanding of the region, but without the requirement of a regional language.

No more than two courses may be counted toward this major and another major.

Requirements for the MDES Major
I. Language

All MDES majors must demonstrate fourth semester competency in a Middle Eastern language. This can be achieved through placement, transfer credits from other institutions (subject to approval by MDES language faculty), from study abroad, or through successfully completing the level IV Arabic (ARAB 252), Persian (IRAN 250) or Hebrew (HEBR 315) courses at USC.

Units
Arabic:
ARAB 252 Arabic IV 4
Persian:
IRAN 250 Persian IV 4
Hebrew:
HEBR 315 Hebrew IV 4
II. Content Requirement

Units
HIST 180 The Middle East 4
III. Content Courses

Students must also take seven additional courses, six of which must be upper-division courses, chosen from the list below:

Units
ANTH 327 Anthropology of the Middle East and Islam 4
ANTH 335 Comparative Muslim Societies 4
ARAB 252 Arabic IV 4
ARAB 350 Advanced Arabic I 4
ARAB 352 Advanced Arabic II 4
ECON 322 Economic History and Modernization of the Middle East 4
ECON 342 Economic Development of the Middle East 4
FREN 448 France and Islam 4
HEBR 315 Biblical Hebrew Literature (Hebrew IV) 4
HIST 275 The Worlds of the Silk Road 4
HIST 324 Islam in Russia and the Soviet Union 4
HIST 382 The Middle East, 500–1500 4
HIST 383 The Modern Middle East 4
HIST 384 Popular Culture in the Middle East 4
HIST 480 Seminar in Middle East History 4, max 8
IRAN 250* Persian IV 4
IRAN 320 Advanced Persian I 4
IRAN 350 Advanced Persian II 4
IR 362 International Relations of the Contemporary Middle East 4
IR 363 Middle East Political Economy 4
IR 463 Islam and Arab Nationalism 4
IR 464 U.S. Policy Towards the Middle East: 1950 to the Present 4
JS 214 Zionism, Israel and the Modern World 4
JS 361 Scripture and Polemic in Judaism, Christianity and Islam 4
LING 295 The Ancient Near East: Culture, Archaeology, Texts 4
MDES 312 Iran in the Middle Ages 4
MDES 313 Modern Iran 4
MDES 324 Classical Persian Literature in Translation 4
MDES 325 Modern Persian Literature in Translation 4
MDES 333** Colloquial Arabic: Regional Dialects 4
MDES 334** Media Arabic 4
MDES 461 Topics in Ancient Iranian Languages and Cultures 4
POSC 351 Middle East Politics 4
REL 315 Thought and Life of Islam 4
REL 317 The Bible in Its Ancient Context 4
REL 394 Archaeology of Egypt and the Near East 4

*Counts as an upper-division course

** Counts toward major only with departmental permission

Students majoring in Middle East studies are strongly encouraged to study in the Middle East in one of USC’s study abroad programs. With departmental approval, courses relevant to the major taken abroad may be counted toward the MDES major. USC currently has programs at the American University in Cairo, Boğazici University in Istanbul, Princess Sumaya University for Technology in Amman, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Honors Program

Candidates for the B.A. in Middle East Studies may receive a designation on their transcripts of departmental honors. Admission to the honors program is required.

Prerequisites: 3.33 overall GPA; 3.5 GPA or better in courses in the major; a minimum grade of B+ in MDES/HIST 180; completion of two upper-level MDES courses (400 level or Advanced Language) including one course requiring a seminar paper, at the time of admission; submission of an application form to the MDES undergraduate faculty adviser.

Required for departmental honors: The student must maintain the GPA requirements stated above and successfully complete the MDES 492 Honors Thesis. In semesters when MDES 492 is not offered, students may, with program approval, substitute MDES 490 (independent study) as constituting an honors seminar equivalent.

Minor in Iranian Studies

The Iranian Studies minor provides students with the foundation for an advanced understanding of Iran, its history, peoples and cultures, from antiquity to the present. Neighboring countries that participated in Persian culture are included, as well as non-Persian Iranian peoples. Students finishing this minor will also have at least an intermediate ability in Persian, the official language of Iran, widely used in neighboring countries as well.

Five courses (20 units) are required for the minor. All students must take HIST 180 and IRAN 250. For those students who do not already have IRAN 250-equivalent proficiency, IRAN 120, IRAN 150, and IRAN 220 or their equivalent (which do not count toward the minor) must be completed before enrolling in IRAN 250. For those with prior study of Persian, a placement exam is offered by the USC Language Center to determine language level. If student proficiency surpasses the third-semester college level, the USC Language Center should be consulted about a higher level proficiency exam.

At least one course (4 units) of the three additional courses (12 units) must be selected from the Upper-Division Iranian Studies Initiative Courses. The other two (8 units) may be chosen from the Upper-Division Iranian Studies Initiative Courses or the Upper-Division Middle East Studies courses listed below:

Required Courses Units
HIST 180 The Middle East 4
IRAN 250 Persian IV 4

Three courses (12 units) from the following:

UPPER-DIVISION IRANIAN STUDIES INITIATIVE COURSES Units
IRAN 320 Advanced Persian I 4
IRAN 350 Advanced Persian II 4
MDES 312 Shadow of God on Earth: Religion/Politics in Medieval Persia 4
MDES 313 Modern Iran: Fall of Monarchies and Rise of Islamic Republic 4
MDES 324 Classical Persian Literature in Translation 4
MDES 325 Modern Persian Literature in Translation 4
MDES 461 Topics in Ancient Iranian Languages and Cultures 4

UPPER-DIVISON MIDDLE EAST STUDIES COURSES Units
ANTH 327 Anthropology of the Middle East and Islam 4
ANTH 335 Comparative Muslim Societies 4
HIST 382 The Middle East, 500–1500 4
HIST 383 The Modern Middle East 4
IR 362 International Relations of the Contemporary Middle East 4
POSC 351 Middle East Politics 4
REL 315 Thought and Life of Islam 4
REL 316 Women and the Islamic Tradition 4
REL 317 The Bible in Its Ancient Context 4
REL 414 History of Islamic Law 4

Minor in Middle East Studies

Drawing on courses from nine different departments, this interdisciplinary minor offers students interested in exploring the richness and complexity of the Middle East, broadly defined as extending from Morocco through Iran, a framework for developing a basic but solid understanding of the region. Students may select courses that provide a broad introduction across disciplines, or they may choose courses that address a particular historical period or theme.

Five courses (20 units) are required for the minor. All students must take HIST 180. To complete the minor a student must also take four upper-division courses from the list below from at least three departments. There is no language requirement for the minor.

Required Course units
HIST 180 The Middle East 4

Four of the following courses:
ANTH 327 Anthropology of the Middle East and Islam 4
ANTH 335 Comparative Muslim Societies 4
ARAB 252* Arabic IV 4
ARAB 322 Advanced Arabic I 4
ARAB 333** Colloquial Arabic: Regional Dialects 4
ARAB 334** Media Arabic 4
ARAB 352 Advanced Arabic II 4
ECON 322 Economic History and Modernization of the Middle East 4
ECON 342 Economic Development of the Middle East 4
HEBR 315* Biblical Hebrew Literature (Hebrew IV) 4
HIST 324 Islam in Russia and the Soviet Union 4
HIST 382 The Middle East, 500–1500 4
HIST 384 Popular Culture in the Middle East 4
HIST 480 Seminar in Middle East History 4, max 8
IR 362 The International Relations of the Contemporary Middle East 4
IR 363 Middle East Political Economy 4
IR 463 Islam and Arab Nationalism 4
IR 464 U.S. Policy Towards the Middle East: 1950 to the Present 4
IRAN 250* Persian IV 4
IRAN 320 Advanced Persian I 4
IRAN 350 Advanced Persian II 4
JS 361 Scripture and Polemic in Judaism, Christianity and Islam 4
MDES 312 Shadow of God on Earth: Religion/Politics in Medieval Persia 4
MDES 313 Modern Iran: Fall of Monarchies and Rise of Islamic Republic 4
MDES 324 Classical Persian Literature in Translation 4
MDES 325 Modern Persian Literature in Translation 4
MDES 461 Topics in Ancient Iranian Languages and Cultures 4
POSC 351 Middle East Politics 4
REL 315 Thought and Life of Islam 4
REL 317 The Bible in Its Ancient Context 4
REL 394 Archaeology of Egypt and the Near East 4
*Counts as an upper-division course

**Counts toward major only with departmental approval

Courses of Instruction

The terms indicated are expected but are not guaranteed. For the courses offered during any given term, consult the Schedule of Classes.

ARABIC (ARAB)

ARAB 122 Arabic I (4, FaSpSm) Introduction to Modern Standard Arabic: Development of speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in contemporary cultural contexts. (Duplicates credit in former MDES 122.)

ARAB 152 Arabic II (4, FaSp) Continuation of Arabic I. Prerequisite: ARAB 122. (Duplicates credit in former MDES 152.)

ARAB 222 Arabic III (4, FaSp) Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic. Continued development of speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Prerequisite: ARAB 152. (Duplicates credit in former MDES 222.)

ARAB 252 Arabic IV (4, FaSp) Continuation of Arabic III. Continued development of speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in Modern Standard Arabic. Prerequisite: ARAB 222. (Duplicates credit in former MDES 252.)

ARAB 322 Advanced Arabic I (4) Advanced expression in written and spoken Arabic, including reading of original texts, understanding different registers, and exposure to modern Arabic cultures. Prerequisite: ARAB 252. (Duplicates credit in former MDES 322.)

ARAB 333 Colloquial Arabic: Regional Dialects (4, max 16) Introduction to a regional Arabic dialect, focusing primarily on verbal skills. Prerequisite: ARAB 152; recommended preparation: ARAB 222, ARAB 252. (Duplicates credit in former MDES 333.)

ARAB 334 Media Arabic (4, FaSp) Introduction and development of language skills encountered in print and broadcast media Arabic. Prerequisite: ARAB 222. (Duplicates credit in former MDES 334.)

ARAB 352 Advanced Arabic II (4, FaSp) Continuation of Advanced Arabic I. Prerequisite: ARAB 322. (Duplicates credit in former MDES 352.)

MIDDLE EAST STUDIES (MDES)

The terms indicated are expected but are not guaranteed. For the courses offered during any given term, consult the Schedule of Classes.

MDES 180g The Middle East (4, FaSpSm) (Enroll in HIST 180g)

MDES 312 Shadow of God on Earth: Religion/Politics in Medieval Persia (4, FaSp) Political and dynastic history of Iran from the Arab conquest in the 7th to the 18th century.

MDES 313 Modern Iran: Fall of Monarchies and Rise of Islamic Republic (4, FaSpSm) History and culture of modern Iran from the nineteenth century to present through historical and ethnographic approaches to Iran today, richly contextualizing events and people.

MDES 314 Political Thought in the Middle East (4, FaSp) Major strands of Islamic political thought from early Islam through the classical Islamic period to contemporary developments and transformations.

MDES 324 Classical Persian Literature in Translation (4, FaSp) Introduction to literary culture of pre-modern Persia, from about 800–1800 AD. Emphasis on poetry, the most extensive, prestigious, and influential medium of Persian literature.

MDES 325 Modern Persian Literature in Translation (4, FaSp) Modern Persian literature, covering the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, including the rise of disaporic literature in Persian. Includes poetry, but focused primarily on prose.

MDES 349g Ancient Empires (4, FaSpSm) (Enroll in CLAS 349g)

MDES 362 The International Relations of the Contemporary Middle East (4, Fa) (Enroll in IR 362)

MDES 363 Middle East Political Economy (4, Sp) (Enroll in IR 363)

MDES 378 Ptolemaic Egypt (4) (Enroll in CLAS 378)

MDES 382 The Middle East, 500–1500 (4) (Enroll in HIST 382)

MDES 383 The Modern Middle East (4, Sp) (Enroll in HIST 383)

MDES 384 Popular Culture in the Middle East (4, FaSpSm) (Enroll in HIST 384)

MDES 394 Archaeology of Egypt and the Near East (4) (Enroll in REL 394)

MDES 402 Cultural Heritage, Religion, and Politics in the Middle East (4, Fa) (Enroll in REL 402)

MDES 448m Islam in France (4, FaSp) (Enroll in FREN 448m)

MDES 454 Classical Arabic (4, max 20, FaSp) Introduction to reading and interpretation of pre-modern, classical Arabic, including literature from the 6th to 19th centuries. Prerequisite: MDES 252.

MDES 461 Topics in Ancient Iranian Languages and Cultures (4, max 20) Studies and readings in one or more pre-modern Iranian languages and their cultural and historical contexts. Specific topics vary; may be repeated for credit.

MDES 463 Islam and Arab Nationalism (4) (Enroll in IR 463)

MDES 464 U.S. Policy Towards the Middle East: 1950 to the Present (4) (Enroll in IR 464)

MDES 480 Seminar in Middle East History (4, max 8) (Enroll in HIST 480)

MDES 490x Directed Research (1–8, max 12, FaSpSm) Individual research and readings. Not for graduate credit.

MDES 492 Honors Thesis (4) Writing of the honors thesis; for students in the Middle East Studies Honors Program.

MDES 499 Special Topics (2–4, max 8, FaSpSm) Selected topics in Middle East studies.

Persian (IRAN)

IRAN 120 Persian I (4) Introduction to contemporary Persian (Farsi). Oral practice, listening and reading comprehension, grammar and vocabulary necessary for simple spoken and written expression. (Duplicates credit in former MDES 120.)

IRAN 150 Persian II (4) Continuation of Persian I. Prerequisite: IRAN 120.

IRAN 220 Persian III (4) Intermediate Persian (Farsi). Building conversational skills, listening and reading comprehension, grammar and vocabulary necessary for intermediate level spoken and written expression. Prerequisite: IRAN 150. (Duplicates credit in former MDES 220.)

IRAN 250 Persian IV (4) Continuing Intermediate Persian (Farsi). Building conversational skills, listening and reading comprehension, grammar and vocabulary necessary for intermediate level spoken and written expression. Prerequisite: IRAN 120. (Duplicates credit in former MDES 250.)

IRAN 320 Advanced Persian I (4, FaSp) Advanced verbal and written expression in Persian, including deeper understanding of Persian culture. Prerequisite: IRAN 250. (Duplicates credit in former MDES 320.)

IRAN 350 Advanced Persian II (4, FaSp) Continuation of Advanced Persian I. Prerequisite: IRAN 320. (Duplicates credit in former MDES 350.)