Middle East Studies (MES) is an interdisciplinary undergraduate concentration that draws upon courses offered in the departments of Anthropology, Classics, Comparative Literature, Egyptology, History, History of Art and Architecture, Judaic Studies, Old World Archaeology, Religious Studies and Political Science. It is housed in the Watson Institute for International Studies while most of its faculty are spread across the humanities and social sciences. During the academic year, the Institute sponsors many talks, conferences, and other events on a wide range of issues that relate to the study of the Middle East. MES concentrators are encouraged to become familiar with the Watson Institute and to participate in its many activities.
The MES curriculum begins with the understanding that the region is an ideal site for considering the diversity and complexity of human interactions, along with the continuities and disruptions that such interactions involve in the long course of history. To give some examples: the Middle East is the home of that first great transmutation in human lives called “the Agricultural Revolution” and is site of the world’s first urban cultures. The Middle East is cradle of the three major monotheistic religions of the world and also home to several political systems of impressive longevity. For centuries, it has been one of the most ethnically and religiously mixed corners of the world. The Middle East continues to be a region of not only strategic importance but also of complex tensions. MES concentrators are thus uniquely poised to make significant contributions to an understanding of a broad range of contemporary problems that affect our world.
New in 2012-13
Middle East Studies at Brown University is entering a phase of accelerated growth led by Beshara Doumani, who joined the Brown faculty this year as the Joukowsky Family Professor of Modern Middle East History. Three additional Middle East faculty positions were added this year in Comparative Literature and Modern Culture and Media. A search for another Middle East historian is currently underway. Two new staff positions have been added: an Associate Director and Academic Program Administrator. Visiting scholars opportunities include the Aga Khan Distinguished Professor in Islamic Humanities, three positions in Iranian studies, and a position in early modern Ottoman history. Undergraduate and graduate students also have access to four years of Arabic plus beginning Farsi and Turkish.
Middle East Studies is housed in new offices at the Watson Institute and enjoys endowment income through the Dean of Faculty office. Its mission is to build a cutting-edge research community, create innovative programming, and support pedagogical methods that go beyond the classroom. Unencumbered by the decades-old structure of Title VI Centers, Middle East Studies at Brown seeks to make knowledge production on the Middle East part of the DNA of Brown by focusing the interests and passions of its constituency, and by creating partnerships across areas and disciplines both within and beyond the university.
Middle East Studies
Watson Institute for International Studies
111 Thayer Street. Providence, RI 02912