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Undergraduate Program Description
The interdisciplinary major in Islamic Civilization and Societies encompasses faculty and courses from across the university. The program prepares students for careers in diplomacy, journalism, business, government, social service, as well as graduate academic or professional study. Students who complete the major will attain proficiency in Arabic or another language related to the region, along with valuable skills and broader horizons that only an interdisciplinary major can provide.
The major consists of ten required courses (30 credits) plus language proficiency (four semesters of a relevant language or native speaking ability).
Islamic Civilization and Societies Core: One Course
Team-taught, integrative, and multidisciplinary, this course is designed as an introduction to the field, taught by faculty drawn from a number of departments. The course is offered in the fall semester, is open to non-majors, and fulfills the Cultural Diversity Core requirement.
Disciplinary Base: Four Courses
Choose a Disciplinary Base in History, Political Science, Theology, Fine Arts, or Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures. Take all required departmental foundation courses and two additional courses in your primary department. Visit the department website at www.bc.edu/ics for the list of approved courses.
Departmental Foundation Courses: Two courses
- Political Science: PO 041/042 Fundamentals of Politics I and II
- Fine Arts: FA 101/102 Art from Prehistoric Times to High
- Middle Ages/Art: Renaissance to Modern Times
- History: Two courses from the HS 001-094 sequence: HS 059
Islam and Global Modernities preferred
- Theology: Any of the two-semester University Core requirements: Religious Quest preferred
- Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures: Any two of the following: SL 147 Language and Identity in the Middle East, SL 150 States and Minorities in the Middle East, SL 148 Modern Middle Eastern and Arabic Literature, SL 291 Near Eastern Civilization
Base Discipline Electives: Two Courses
- Political Science:
- PO 403 Rise and Rule of Islamic States
- PO 414 Politics and Society in Central Eurasia
- PO 450 France and the Muslim World
- PO 518 Liberalism, Nation Building, and American
- Foreign Policy:
- PO 638 Islamic Political Philosophy
- PO 806 Political Cultures of the Middle East
- PO 812 State-Church Relations in Modern Europe
- PO/IN 475 Kuwait: Politics and Oil in the Gulf
- HS 207 Islamic Civilization in the Middle East
- HS 208 Middle East in the Twentieth Century
- HS 315 Islam in South Asia
- HS 326 Modern Iran
- HS 339 Byzantium and Islam
- HS 343 Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire
- HS 353 Africa, Islam, and Europe
- HS/TH 315 Islam in South Asia
- HS 385 Modern South Asia
- HS 667 Jews and Islamic Civilization
- TH 325 Lebanon: Focal Point of a Crisis
- TH 351 Faith Elements in Conflict
- TH 352 Israelis and Palestinians
- TH 566 Mystical Poetry in the Islamic Humanities
- TH 544 Prophetic Tradition and Inspiration: Exploring the Hadith
- TH 576 Pathways to God: Islamic Theologies in Context
- TH 554 Encountering the Qur'an: Contexts and Approaches
- TH 557 Introduction to Islamic Philosophical Traditions
- TH/IC 225 Exploring the Religious Worlds of Istanbul and Anatolia
- Fine Arts:
- FA 174 Islamic Civilization
- FA 176 Jerusalem
- FA 203 Great Cities of the Islamic Lands
- FA 213 Introduction to Islamic Architecture
- FA 214 The Art of the Silk Road
- FA 234 Mosques, Minarets, and Madrasas
- FA 235 The Arts of Persia
- FA 276 Islamic Art
- FA 280 Masterpieces of Islamic Art
- FA 350 The Art of the Object/Islamic Art
- FA 409 The Art of the Islamic Book
- FA 410 Orientalism
- FM 314 Cinema of the Greater Middle East
- Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures:
- SL 037/038 Modern Hebrew I and II
- SL 091/TH 582 Biblical Hebrew
- SL 107 Turkish Language Workshop
- SL 232 Literature of the Other Europe in Translation
- SL 250 Conversion, Islam, and Politics in the Balkans
- SL 251/252 Advanced Arabic
- SL 398 Advanced Tutorial Arabic
- SL 272 War and Peace in Yugoslavia
- SL/SC 280 Society/National Identity in the Balkans
- SL 286/EN 252 Exile and Literature
- SL 249 Gender and War in Eastern Europe
- SL 291 Near Eastern Civilizations
- SL Old Persian and Avestan
- SL 359 The Structure of Biblical Hebrew
Electives: Three Courses
Majors choose three elective courses from an approved list found on our website at www.bc.edu/ics. Electives must be distributed among at least two other departments in addition to the disciplinary base.
Senior Seminar and Research Project/Honors Thesis: Two Courses
All majors will be required to enroll in a thesis seminar in the fall of their senior year. In the spring term of their senior year, students will complete a senior thesis under the supervision of a faculty member affiliated with the Program.
The Senior Seminar will allow ICS majors to integrate the knowledge, skills, and concepts of their diverse disciplinary bases and to share them in a genuinely cross-disciplinary manner. The course encourages students to make intellectual connections across disciplines and to engage in critical reflection. After exploring common themes, majors will develop a research design, select a methodology, engage in research, and begin writing the thesis.
Language Requirement: Four Courses
Students will be expected to attain proficiency (completion of intermediate level) in a relevant language such as Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Uzbek, Persian, or Urdu. In some cases, French, Russian, Chinese or other languages relevant to specific research concerns may be accepted for students specializing in the study of Muslims in Africa, Central Asia, China, Europe, or the Americas, subject to approval by the program's director.
Boston College currently offers four years of Arabic language instruction, from Elementary Intensive through Advanced Arabic. Students studying abroad can enroll in even more intensive language programs offered in Morocco, Kuwait, Yemen, Cairo, and at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London (SOAS) during the regular academic year and in the summer. Our students have also studied during the summer months at Middlebury, Harvard and Columbia to accelerate their language skills, and several have won U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarships and Flagship Fellowships to study Arabic in the summer.
Arabic and other relevant languages can be taken through the Boston Area Consortium. Our Consortium partners, B.U., Brandies, and Tufts in particular, offer additional languages such as Persian, Turkish and advanced levels of Hebrew if majors wish to study a language other than, or in addition to, Arabic.
Students seeking to earn an Islamic Civilization and Societies minor must submit a proposed plan of study to the Associate Director, listing the courses that will be taken to fulfill the requirements. In general, proposed plans of study for the minor should be submitted no later than the second semester of the sophomore year. The Associate Director will review the proposed plan of study, in consultation with the student and Program Director, and if accepted, the Committee will grant approval for the student.
Fill out and email the proposed plan of study form before scheduling an appointment with the Associate Director. Whenever possible, the Associate Director will arrange for each student to receive continuing academic advisement from a faculty member in the student's academic major who is affiliated with the Islamic Civilization and Societies Program. Students will be expected to consult with the Associate Director at each semester registration period to update their plan of study.
Requirements for the Islamic Civilization and Societies Minor
- Six courses from the approved course list
- Selected courses must be from three different academic departments
- Required multidisciplinary foundation course IC 199 (fall semester) Cross listed with HS 207 / FA 174 / TH 174
- Two courses in Arabic or an equivalent language, at the intermediate level or above
The Department of Slavic & Eastern Languages and Literatures has approved a minor in Arabic Studies, which covers areas of Modern Standard Arabic and Modern Hebrew, Modern Middle Eastern Literature and Cultural History, and Near Eastern Civilizations.
- Six approved one-semester courses
- Two in Modern Standard Arabic, above the intermediate level
- Four in Middle Eastern languages, cultures, literatures and civilizations. May include a language course in Modern (Israeli) Hebrew, courses taught in translation, and Near Eastern Civilizations
For additional information see Slavic & Eastern Languages and Literatures.