Please visit the EagleApps Course Information and Schedule section in Agoral Portal for up-to-date course descriptions, faculty, meeting times, and room assignments.

Fine Arts

Course NumberCourse Title
ARTH 399901
ICSP 399901
Politics of Modern Middle Eastern Art
ARTH 2201Imperial Reflections: Art and Architecture of Early-Modern Islamic Dynasties
ARTH 2203Great Cities of Islam: Istanbul
ARTH 2213Intro to Islamic Art & Architecture
ARTH 3012After Genghis Khan: Art and Architecture in Iran and Central Asia
ARTH 4409Islamic Book
FILM 3314Cinema of the Greater Middle East
FILM 3386Conflict Resolution Films
FILM TBDFilm and Genocide


Course NumberCourse Title
COMM 2262Online Communication and Global Society
COMM4468Islam, Media and Popular Culture


Course NumberCourse Title
ECON 3316The Economics of Refugees and Economic Migrants


Course NumberCourse Title
HIST 171601Geographies of Imperialism: History of Colonization
HIST 2155Podcasting the Ottomans
HIST 2207Islamic Civilization in the Middle East
HIST 2840Mobile Muslims in Indian Ocean Empires
HIST 3120The Arabian Nights from Bagdad
HIST 3315Islam in South Asia
HIST 3334Islamic Spain/al-Andalus: Word, Monument, & Image
HIST 3353Africa, Islam, & Europe
HIST 4122Odysseys in Western & Islamic Traditions
HIST 4123Gender, Sex, and Power in the Ottoman and British Empires
HIST 4131Rise & Fall of the Ottoman Empire
HIST 4132Nationalism and the Middle East
HIST 4133Middle East Nationalisms Compared: Pan-Turkism, Pan-Arabism, and Zionism
HIST 4134Ottoman Empire, 1300-1924
HIST 4135History & Historiography of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
HIST 4140Middle East in the Twentieth Century
HIST 4497Terror & the American Century
HIST 5110The Islamic Mediterranean
HIST 6667Jews & Islamic Civilization
HIST 7315The Islamic Mediterranean

International Studies

Course NumberCourse Title
INTL 4941International Studies Senior Seminar ("Social Movements and Contentious Politics in the Middle East”)

Islamic Civilization and Societies

Course NumberCourse Title
ICSP 119901Islamic Civilization
ICSP 1224Turkey at the Crossroads: Politics, Religion and the State
ICSP 1610Middle Eastern Musical Lang, Choir, Ensemble - I
ICSP 1611Middle Eastern Musical Lang, Choir, Ensemble II
Edifying Books on the Arab-Israeli Conflict
ICSP 2225Exploring the Religious Worlds of Istanbul & Anatolia
ICSP 2226Inside the Kingdom: Conversations with Saudi Women
ICSP 2250Conversion, Islam, and Politics in the Balkans
ICSP 2309Music and Culture in the Middle East
ICSP 2382Linguistic Cultures of the Near East
ICSP 2475Kuwait: Politics & Oil in the Gulf
ICSP 261501
POLI 261501
Islam & Liberal Democracy
ICSP 2638
POLI 263801
Islamic Political Philosophy
ICSP 3310Women and Gender in Islam
ICSP 3315
Islam and Modernity: The Turkish Experience by Mustafa Akyol
ICSP 3999Politics of Modern Arab Art
ICSP 4335Politics, Culture, Society
ICSP 4336Introduction to Zoroastrianism
ICSP 433701Silk Roads: Religion & Culture
ICSP 4941ICS Senior Seminar
ICSP 4952ICS Senior Thesis
ICSP 7010Islam and History in the Middle East


Course NumberCourse Title
MUSA 2308Music in the Medieval Islamic World
MUSA 2309Music & Culture in the Middle East
MUSP 1660Middle Eastern Ensemble


Course NumberCourse Title
PHIL 4407Medieval Philosophy

Political Science

Course NumberCourse Title
POLI 2363Muslims in U.S. Society & Politics
POLI 2414Politics & Society in Central Eurasia
POLI 2475/INTL 2475Kuwait: Politics & Oil in the Gulf
POLI 2405Comparative Politics of the Middle East
POLI 2420Modern Iran
POLI 2426Modern Turkish Politics
POLI 2427International Migration and Refugees
POLI 2451France and the Muslim World
POLI 2502U.S-Iran Relations since World War II
POLI 2528International Relations of the Middle East
POLI 2615Islam & Liberal Democracy
POLI 2638Islamic Political Philosophy
POLI 3444Intellectuals & Politics in the Middle East
POLI 3527Terrorism & Political Violence
POLI 4394Muslims in American Society and Politics
POLI 4404Anatomy of Dictatorship
POLI 4449Domestic Politics in Postwar Europe
POLI 4450France & the Muslim World
POLI 459301International Relations of the Middle East
POLI 469001The Political Philosophy of Alfarabi
POLI 7700Muslims & American Institutions
POLI 7804Politics and Society in the Middle East
POLI 7806Political Cultures of the Middle East
POLI 7812State-Church Relations in Modern Europe
POLI 7813Islam in Europe
POLI 7814Religion in International Politics

Romance Languages and Literatures

Course NumberCourse Title
RLRL 2299Harmony & Dissonance: Christians, Jews, & Muslims in Medieval Spain
FREN 3360Literature & Culture Francophones
SPAN 6611Epocas I: Medieval Spain, Crossroads of the World

Slavic & Eastern Languages and Literatures

Course NumberCourse Title
NELC 112101Elementary Arabic I
NELC 1122Elementary Arabic II
NELC 1123Elementary Arabic Practicum
NELC 1124Elementary Arabic Pacticum II
NELC 1131Arabic for Scholars I
NELC 1132Arabic for Scholars II Department
NELC 1211Modern Hebrew I & II
NELC 1212Modern Hebrew II
NELC 1251NELC 125
NELC 1252Biblical Hebrew II
NELC 1331Persian for Scholars I
NELC 133201Persian for Scholars II
NELC 1431Turkish for Scholars I & II
NELC 1432Turkish for Scholars II
NELC 2061Language Memory and Identity in the Middle East
NELC 2062
SOCY 1150
States and Minorities in the Middle East
NELC 2063Near Eastern Civilizations
Edifying Books on the Arab-Israeli Conflict
NELC 2121Intermediate Arabic I
NELC 2122Intermediate Arabic II
NELC 212302Intermediate Arabic Practicum
NELC 2124Intermediate Arabic Practicum II
NELC 2161
RLRL 2292
ENGL 2348
Modern Middle Eastern and Arabic Literature
NELC 2211Continuing Modern Hebrew I
NELC 2331Advanced Readings in Persian Texts
NELC 2431Advanced Readings in Turkish Texts
NELC 316201Business Arabic
NELC 316301Newspaper & Media Arabic
NELC 4114Al-Lahja Ash-Shaamiyyah; Levantine Vernacular (by arrangement)
NELC 412102Advanced Arabic I
NELC 4122Advanced Arabic II
NELC 413001Advanced Arabic Reading Seminar
NELC 419001Advanced Tutorial Arabic
SLAV 2062
ENGL 2252
Exile & Literature
SLAV 2065Society/National Identity in the Balkans
SLAV 2066Conversion, Islam, & Politics in the Balkans
SLAV 2067Gender & War in Eastern Europe
SLAV 2069Literature of the Other Europe in Translation
SLAV 2071War & Peace in Yugoslavia
LING 3359The Structure of Biblical Hebrew


Course NumberCourse Title
SOCY 1150States & Minorities in the Middle East
SOCY 2280Society and National Identity in the Balkans
SOCY 3367Human Rights/Social Justice in Israel/Palestine


Course NumberCourse Title
THEO 1224Turkey at the Crossroads: Politics, Religion and the State
THEO 1225Exploring the Religious Worlds of Istanbul & Anatolia
THEO 143101Islam and Christianity in Dialogue
THEO 170301Building a Habitable Planet
(EQ course paired with EESC 170101 of same title with Ethan Baxter)
THEO 170701Geographies of Imperialism - Theology of Colonization
(EQ course paired with HIST 171601 History of Colonization with Elizabeth Shlala)
THEO 2370Mystical Poetry in the Islamic Humanities: Rumi, Attar and Hafiz
THEO 2371Introduction to the Hadith: Foundations of Islamic Religious Life
THEO 2953Intro to Islam
THEO 3116Medieval Religions & Thought
THEO 3325Lebanon: Focal Point of a Crisis
THEO 5010The Great Books of Islam
THEO 5351Faith Elements in Conflict
THEO 5352Israelis & Palestinians
THEO 5444The Quran and its Interpretations
THEO 550001
ICSP 331001
Women and Gender in Islam
THEO 5582Biblical Hebrew
THEO 5592Conflict Resolution Films
THEO TBDFilm and Genocide

Fine Arts

ARTH 2214  The Art of the Silk Road

Offered Periodically

The seminar is intended to introduce students to the transcontinental ideas that occurred between China and the Mediterranean from pre-historic to modern times. The course encompasses a vast subject, both chronologically and geographically, treating the arts produced over some four millenia and one-quarter of the globe.
Sheila Blair

ARTH 2280  Masterpices of Islamic Art

Offered Periodically

A detailed examination of a dozen masterpieces of Islamic art ranging from architecture to ceramics, the seventh century to the present, and Spain to India. Emphasis on placing the works in their historical, social, craft, and visual contexts.
Gregory Williams

ARTH 3999 Politics of Modern Arab Art

In this course, we shall survey the political underpinnings of Arab art in the twentieth century, and the socio-political conditions that shaped cultural production in the region. Whether it is under the Ba’athist regimes of Syria and Iraq or under Egypt’s Pan-Arabism championed by Gamal Abdel Nasser, painting and sculpture in addition to film and performance have been employed by various governments as a tool of soft power to propagate their policies to the public not only in their respective states but throughout the region and beyond. Despite this widespread government patronage of the arts, many artists have chosen to challenge their authorities through subversive movements and practices, which we will address at different moments in the semester. This course, through its focus on creative practices and strategic use of the arts, will attempt to shed light on an often neglected dimension of the modern history of the Arab World and other parts of the Middle East.
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi


HIST 2870  Mobile Muslims in Indian Ocean Empires

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, societies around the Indian Ocean were transformed as European empires claimed larger swathes of territorial control in Asia and Africa and new technologies of travel and trade reshaped the region. This course examines how the populations that ringed the Indian Ocean adapted to that rapidly changing environment and shaped the history of their regions in ways that often resisted and frustrated colonial attempts at control. These migrants, merchants, pilgrims, and sultans pursued ambitious agendas that transcended their areas of "traditional" or "native" authority. How were their efforts aided by a common identification as Muslims and an emerging notion of a more unified "Islamic world"? How did the colonial era influence the creation of more cosmopolitan societies and how were those societies impacted by post-colonial nationalism?
Jeffrey Dyer

HIST 3120 The Arabian Nights from Bagdad

The seminar will examine the history of the famous Arabic popular oral romance, A Thousand and One Nights (Arabic, alf layla wa layla), from its earliest Indian roots to its passage in Iran, to its incubation in medieval Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, to its "discovery" by Victorian gentlemen, to its consumption all the way from Hawaii to Japan, to its adaptation to music, dance, film, and painting, to its production as a play here at BC this semester! Underlying the movement of the "Arabian Nights" from a regional Arabic popular romance to world literature is the colonial project. Thus, the history of The Arabian Nights from Baghdad to Hollywood touches on a wide range of important issues, including oral and written cultures, literary transitions to modernity, gender and sexuality, Orientalism, the colonial encounter, and the post-colonial condition. Students will learn how to treat different media of representation as sources for history and to discover in these cultural products clues, myths, and testaments relating to politics, society, and economy.
Dana Sajdi

HIST 4122  Odysseys in the Western and Islamc Traditions

Offered Periodically

Fulfills Non-Western Requirement for History Majors

Bridging the traditional divide between "East" and "West," "Christendom" and "Islamdom" and viewing cultural production as rooted in the human experience, this course focuses upon similar literary and intellectual trajectories across Europe and the Middle East from antiquity to the late eighteenth century. We will examine a series of parallel texts that span the genres of epic, poetry, biography, autobiography and travel narrative. Students will be asked to read these texts in two ways: as an individual perspective (male or female) and as an odyssey - a literary repository of socio-cultural transformation and exchange.
Sarah Ross
Dana Sajdi

HIST 4123 Gender, Sex, and Power in the Ottoman and British Empires

In this course, we will utilize the concept of gender as an analytical tool within the history of empires. We will cover gender theory, the construction of gender identity (male and female), sexuality, power, politics and culture. To understand how gender functioned within empire, we will undertake a comparative analysis of two of the greatest empires in the world – the Ottoman Empire and the British Empire. We will investigate the ways that race, religion, and class shape
women’s and gender imperial history.
Elizabeth H. Shlala

HIST 4131  Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire

Satisfies Cultural Diversity Core requirement

The Ottoman Turks founded an empire spanning the three continents of the eastern hemisphere and enduring for nearly three-quarters of a millennium. Despite nomadic origins they established a stable political structure, which grafted the high traditions of Islamic culture onto an ethnically, linguistically, and religiously diverse society. This course explores the evolution of this remarkable enterprise from its origins on the frontiers of Byzantium and Islam through its heyday under Suleyman the Magnificent to its military decline and first steps toward reform.
Benjamin Braude

HIST 4133  Middle East Nationalisms Compaired: Pan-Turkism, Pan-Arabism and Zionism

Nationalisms in the Middle East developed in a distinctive way. In contrast to Europe, religion was more important than language. In contrast to Africa, they emerged prior to the rise of anti-colonialism. Although nationalisms in the Middle East have spawned conflicts within themselves and with each other, they have displayed remarkable similarities to each other. One consistent similarity is their fraught attempts to distinguish the so-called nation from the religious traditions out of which it emerged. This course will address these questions through comparing Arab, Jewish and Turkish nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Benjamin Braude

HIST 4135  History and Historiography of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

This course introduces students to the history of the Arab-Israeli conduct from the inception of the Zionist movement in the 19th century until the end of the 20th century. Given that history itself is a site of contention in this conflict, the course will focus equally on the various and conflicting historical narratives and will explore fundamental issues in the relationship between history writing and ideology, especially the use of history as a tool for the shaping of collective identities and for legitimizing and justifying nationalist claims.
Dana Sajdi

HIST 4140  Middle East in the Tewentieth Century

Satisfies Cultural Diversity Core requirement

Through the last eighty years the Middle East has been the site of many wars and conflicts. More recently it has become the most important source of the world's energy. This combination of strife and economic power has made it a vital and sensitive areas for the entire globe.
Benjamin Braude

HIST 4150  Modern Iran

Cross Listed with PO420

Satisfies Cultural Diversity Core requirement

The objective of this course is to analyze the trends and transformations in the political, social, and cultural history of Iran from the late nineteenth century to the present. Particular emphasis will be placed on the following topics: Iran's encounter with the West in the 19th century and its impact on the country's economy and society; social and religious movements in the 19th century; causes and consequences of the Constitutional revolution of 1905-1909; Iran's modernization and political development under the Pahlavis (1925-1979); the causes and consequences of the Iranian Revolution of 1979; Iran's post-revolutionary experience as an Islamic Republic.
Ali Banuazizi

HIST 4497  Terror and the American Century

The aim of this course is to show how terror and violence have affected the United States from the late 19th century up to 9/11 and through the current U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It aims to show that while differing in scope and human loss, the latter events, including the so-called Global War on Terror, have certain antecedents in the U.S. experience. The course will concentrate on the theme of terror, both domestic and foreign, and examine the government response to terror and subversive groups aiming to overthrow the government or inflict harm upon its citizens.
Charles Gallagher, S.J.

HIST 7315  The Islamic Mediterranean

This colloquium is an introduction to pre-modern Islamic history for advanced students with a focus on the areas surrounding the Mediterranean. The first month of the course will be devoted to reading and discussing Marshall Hodgson's classic The Venture of Islam, 3 vols. (Chicago, 1974), which covers the entirety of the Islamic world. The readings for the rest of course will be tailored according to the specific interests of the students with special attention to historiographical, methodological, and theoretical issues.
Dana Sajdi

International Studies

INTL 4941 International Studies Senior Seminar "Social Movements and Contentious Politics in the Middle East”

When we talk about contentious politics, we talk about momentous social phenomena such as social movements, revolutions, civil war, democratization, and nationalism. In all of these instances, people come together to collectively participate in a struggle to make claims on government, often using radical and extra-institutional means in the process. This course first introduces the major theories of social movements that explain the origins, dynamics, and consequences of contentious politics. We will then concentrate on several historic and recent episodes of contentious politics in the Middle East including the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the First and Second Palestinian Intifadas, and the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. We examine how social movement theory helps us to understand these major episodes of mass mobilization in the Middle East, as well as how these episodes prompt us to change our way of thinking about social movements and contentious politics more generally. As we delve into the cases over the course of the semester, we will investigate a wide range of social movement attributes such as movement emergence, member recruitment, leadership, organization, tactics (both violent and nonviolent), targets, and goals while also considering the factors contributing to movement success or failure.
M. Ali Kadivar

Islamic Civilization and Societies

ICSP 2382 Linguistic Cultures of the Near East

A typological review of the languages and language families of the Near or Middle East, both ancient and modern. Their scripts and alphabets, their sound systems and grammatical features, the sense of literary expression and the role of language in ethnic identity in the Near East.

ICSP 3315 Islam and Modernity: The Turkish Experience by Mustafa Akyol

Located on the Western edge of the Islamic civilization, the Ottoman empire and later Republican Turkey faced modernity early on. New ideas such as constitutionalism, equal citizenship for all (including women and non-Muslims), nationalism, secularism, and democracy had both deep impacts and complex reactions. This course will present an overview of this history beginning with the Tanzimat (Reform) era of the 19th century, to the secularist foundations of the Turkish Republic, to the post-secular New Turkey of today. Focus will be on Islamic ideas, which, throughout this turbulent history, took various forms: progressive or reactionary, moderate or militant, liberal or authoritarian.

ICSP 3328  Islam and the Iberian PeninsulaI

This course will examine the relationship between cultures in the Euro-Arab context from both historical and contemporary perspectives. It will begin with an examination of the historical influence of Islam and the Arabs in the Iberian Peninsula from the eighth to the fifteenth centuries. During that period, Spain presented an example of religious tolerance and the place where the followers of the three Abrahamic religions lived, arguably, in harmony with one another. Against this background, the course will explore the interactions and mutual influences between the Iberian and the Arab/Islamic cultures from the Middle Ages to the present through literature, the arts, and politics of the region. Two to three guest lecturers from participating departments will contribute their expertise in one-week seminars during the course.
Elizabeth T. Goizueta

ICSP 4334 Sogdian and the Silk Road: Linguistic Perspectives
Spring: 3

Cross listed with LING4334 & NELC3351

The language and culture of Sogdian, the East Iranian language which served for almost a millennium as the lingua franca of the Silk Road and served as the medium for the transmission of religious cultures, including Christianity, between the Near East and China.
Barakatullo Ashurov

ICSP 4335 Politics, Culture, Society
Fall & Summer: 3

The course explores the diversity and continuity of contemporary Tajik politics, culture and society, including historical roots. After exploring contemporary political context and institutions, the course will approach Tajik culture, social structures and everyday life from the historical caravan trade and pastoralism to compemporary collective farm and urbanism.
Barakatullo Ashurov

ICSP 4336 Introduction to Zoroastrianism
Spring: 3

The course is an introduction to the history of Zoroastrianism--one of the most significant religious traditions in Antiquity, from its origins to its decline as the principle religion in Sasanian Iran following the Arab conquest. The course covers the central concepts of Zoroastrianism and its place in the context of other ancient Iranian religions.

ICSP 7010  Islam and History in the Middle East

An in-depth study of the role of Islam in Middle Eastern history from the pre-Islamic era through the 18th century with emphasis on engagement with primary documents. We will introduce methods of historiography and the growth of the Arabic language historical tradition and will examine the role of Islamic thought and practice, Sunni, Shii, and Sufi alike, in the development of society and civilization across time and space. 
Natana Delong-Bas   


MUSA 2308  Music in the Medieval Islamic World

This course examines the nature of music in the medieval Islamic world and its relationships with cultural factors that shaped  the history of the Arabic, Persian, and Turkish speaking worlds after the rise of Islam. The course will cover a period of history from the rise of the Ummayad Caliphate (c. 660), through the Perso-Islamic  empires of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries. Some aspects of music under the Safavid and Moghul Empires during the sixteenth century will also be addressed. Topics covered in this course include: the place of music in the context of Islamic philosophy, the function of music within the Islamic Caliphate, the use of music in Islamic mysticism and musical changes that occurred in response to the changing nature of Islamic Empire.
Ann Lucas

MUSA 2309  Music and Culture in the Middle East

This course explores the relationship between different music traditions of the Middle East and their respective cultural contexts. It addresses issues of music's structure and content vis-a-vis its role in social, political and religious situations in the region; the ways that these forces influence musical aesthetics, while also addressing the role of music in the Middle East historically. The cultural areas covered in this class include the Arab World, Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan.
Ann Lucas

MUSP 1660  Middle Eastern Ensemble

This course is an ensemble dedicated to learning how to play music from cultures of the Middle East: the Arab World, Iran, Turkey, as well as parts of Central Asia. Repertoire covered includes rural and urban repertoires, popular music forms as well as art music genres. Permission of instructor required for enrollment.
Ann Lucas


PHIL 4407  Medieval Philosophy

Far from being repetitive, the Middle Ages were a period during which multiple solutions tried to make sense of the world by combining philosophic and scientific knowledge with religious views. The aim of the course is to provide an accurate image of this diversity of thoughts. We will study a wide range of Christian authors, from St. Augustine to Ockham, as well as Islamic and Jewish thinkers. The course will highlight the essential concepts that were formed in the Middle Ages and have been transmitted to modern philosophy in metaphysics and ontology, theory of knowledge and consciousness, ethics, etc.
Jean-Luc Solere

Political Science

POLI 2363  Muslims in U.S. Society and Politics

An examination of the demographic, social, cultural, religious, and political forces that are shaping the emergent American Muslim community. Inter-generational family dynamics, Muslim schools, mosque governance, civil religion in America, advocacy group politics, and voting patters will be examined. So will ethnic, linguistic, national-origin, and sectarian differences among immigrant-origin Muslims, particularly their political implications. African-American Muslims will also be considered, especially their relations with immigrant-origin Muslims. Attention will be paid both the impact of Muslims on American society and to the impact of American institutions and policies, especially post-9/11 initiatives such as the Patriot Act, on Muslims
Peter Skerry

POLI 2414  Politics & Society in Central Eurasia

This course explores political systems and contemporary society in Central Eurasia and devotes special attention to ethnic relations among the various peoples of the region. Greater Central Asia constitutes the western part of Inner Asia, stretching from the Caspian Sea to Xinjiang Province in China and from Chechnya in the north to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the south. It belongs culturally to the Islamic world. The region has been impacted by the imperial policies of the Soviet Union and China, the rise of nationalism, and religious radicalism, terrorism, and war. Reform strategies and models will be discussed.
Kathleen Bailey

POLI 2426  Modern Turkish Politics

The aim of this course is to introduce the major historical developments, main actors and institutional framework of modern Turkey. It will enable students to understand the complexities of and developments in political life, institutions and processes; as well as socio-economic factors that influence the political system in Turkey. After providing a historical overview, starting from the westernization efforts during the late Ottoman Empire to the founding of modern republic, contemporary issues that have considerable impact on Turkish political life in the last decades will be discussed.
Cigdem Hajipouan Benam

POLI 2502  U.S.-Iran Relations Since World War II

This course examines the domestic, ideological, and strategic dimensions of the troubled relationships between the United States and Iran since the Second World War. After a brief overview of the relationships in the pre-war period, it will focus on the war-time occupation of Iran by the Allied powers and the subsequent onset of the Cold War; Iran's oil nationalization crisis and the 1953 CIA-sponsored coup; U.S.'s unstinting support for the Pahlavi monarch after the coup until his fall in 1979; and the state of mutual distrust, tension, and hostility between the two countries since the Islamic Revolution.
Ali Banuazizi

POLI 2638  Islamic Political Philosophy

What is the relationship between philosophy and Islam? Does the divine law (Shari'a) need to be supplemented with purely rational reflections on the nature and purpose of political life? What is the place of toleration and individual rights in the Islamic legal and philosophic tradition? We will explore these and similar questions by focusing on two particularly fertile periods of Islamic thought: the encounter of Islam with Greek philosophy in the classical period and its encounter with the modern secular west in late modernity.
David Di Pasquale

POLI 3444  Intellectuals and Politics in the Middle East

This course examines the role of intellectuals, both religious and secular, in several Middle Eastern countries in analyzing the key problems of their societies, articulating visions for change, supporting or challenging the political status quo, and at times acting directly as agents of social change. The main themes to be explored in the words of a number of prominent Middle Eastern intellectuals include: the conflict between tradition and modernity; the encounter with the West and the quest for authenticity; secularism, human rights, minority rights, and democracy; and reformist versus radical strategies for political, social, and cultural change.
Ali Banuazizi

POLI 7700  Muslims and American Institutions

Will Muslims integrate successfully into the American regime? How do we define success? What does such integration—or lack thereof—tell us about contemporary American political institutions? What challenges does Islam pose for our understanding of the place of religion in America, or in liberal democracies generally? Such questions will be addressed by examining the institutions Muslims in America are building for themselves—for instance, mosques, schools, political advocacy groups. To what extent are these shaped by values and ideas—religious or political? To what extent by overseas actors? To what extent by American social and cultural forces?
Peter Skerry

Slavic & Eastern Languages and Literatures

NELC 2063  Near Eeastern Civilizations

This course investigates the rise and development of civilization in the Middle East, from the beginning of settled life (ca. 10th millennium BC), and into the establishment of modern state-system in the early 20th century. The course themes examine the political, social, economic, religious, and intellectual underpinnings of the rise, growth, faltering, and downfall of the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, Canaan, Egypt, Israel, and Carthage, evaluate their contributions to the rise of classical civilization (Greece and Rome,) and their influence on Western Civilization, monotheistic traditions, and the modern Middle Eastern state-system.

NELC 3162  Business Arabic

This course is intended for students who have had at least five semesters (approximately 200 hours) of Arabic study or equivalent. Otherwise, the permission of the instructor is required. Students are introduced to the specialized structure and vocabulary of business Arabic, beginning with the analysis of headlines and telegraphic language and messaging, and continuing into video, radio, film, and web- based content. They will examine extensive and varied as well as authentic and recent media Arabic materials taken from different Arabic newspapers and media sources such as Al-Hayat, Al- Ahram and Al-Gazeera with a view to introducing them to a variety of stylistic features and terminologies pertaining to the conventional and specialized writing of Arabic business writing. The course is divided into a number of modules organized around topical issues. These will include, though not limited to, “diplomacy and the economy,” “elections and the economy,” “terrorism and the economy,” “sanctions and the economy,” and “violence and anarchy and the economy.” Although emphasis will be placed on reading comprehension, translation and writing, language in context and listening will be emphasized, as they are key to helping learners later navigate the universe of authentic Arabic talk shows and broadcast news.
Atef Ghobrial

NELC 4121  Advanced Arabic I

Prerequisite: SL 090 Intermediate Arabic II or equivalent

Satisfies Foreign Language Proficiency Core Requirement
Conducted in Arabic.

Advanced-level work toward a thorough proficiency in all aspects of modern standard Arabic, with an emphasis on composition, syntax, style, and careful translation of advanced texts.
Atef Ghobrial

NELC 4122  Advanced Arabic II

This course is for students who have had prior formal exposure to modern standard Arabic. It is a continuation of Advanced Arabic ( SL25101). It continues the process of presenting grammatical structures, reinforces techniques for vocabulary building and extends reading skills, speaking and writing at the paragraph level and beyond. The course will emphasize intensive conversational practice and communication in context. Additional material prepared by the instructor will serve to supplement the textbook in such matters as conversations, grammar, vocabulary and listening skills/drills. Instruction will adopt a communication-based approach: emphasis is placed on the functional use of the language and on communication in context rather than on the conscious learning of grammatical rules. New vocabulary will be used and applied in class in various new authentic contexts such as by asking questions and engaging in various speech activities that necessitate the use of new vocabulary and structures. Some grammatical structures for further elucidation and/ or emphasis will be selected, whenever necessary or needed. However, the course emphasizes the acquisition of grammatical structures by application rather than explanation.
Atef Ghobrial

SLAV 2065  Society and National Identity in the Balkans

An overview of ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity among peoples of the Balkans (Albanians, Bosnians, Bulgarians, Croats, Greeks, Macedonians, Romanians, Serbs, Slovenes, Jews, Turks, and gypsies ). It is a study of what constitutes the various parameters of identity: linguistic typologies, religious diversity (Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Islam, and Judaism), culture, and social class. An analysis of the origins of nationalism, the emergence of nation-states, and contemporary nationalism as a source of instability and war in the Balkans will be considered.
Mariela Dakova

SLAV 2066  Conversion, Islam, & Politics in the Balkans

Through a study of fiction, works of scholarship, folklore, and movies, the course examines the conversion of Christians to Islam in Southeast Europe. It analyzes the most important cultural, social, and political implications of this change with the goal of identifying the various factors that promote cooperation or conflict among mixed Christian-Muslim communities.
Mariela Dakova

SLAV 2067  Gender and War in Eastern Europe

A study of the intersection of gender, ethnicity, and ideology in the Russian Revolution, the World Wars in Eastern Europe, and the recent Yugoslav wars. In World War I women confronted their duties to nation against the backdrop of an on-going struggle for equality. In World War II women in communist Eastern Europe were liberated by their nations’ ideology to fight, against tradition, on all fronts. More recently in former Yugoslavia, women, particularly Bosnian Muslim women, flouted tradition in a different way—by organizing and fighting for peace.
Cynthia Simmons

SLAV 2069  Literature of the Other Europe in Translation

Cultural Diversity Core Credit

A survey of outstanding and influential works of and about the political and social upheavals of the 20th century in Eastern/Central and Southeastern Europe. These works often share the themes of frontier, identity, exile, and apocalypse, issuing directly from the experience of the borderlands of four empires—Russian, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and at the other end of the 20th century, Soviet—and four religions—Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Yet, the authors' concerns often also resonate with what we can identify as "universal" issues of the twentieth century.
Cynthia Simmons

SLAV 2071  War and Peace in Yugoslavia

A study of the numerous differences—ethnic, religious, linguistic, and historical—that, along with economic disparities, characterized Yugoslavia as a country situated “at the crossroads” of East and West, and of their role (real and “constructed”) in the dissolution of the nation and subsequent war. A consideration also of the Yugoslav conflicts, and their resolutions, as successful (or unsuccessful) models for the response of the “international community” to strife among peoples of unstable nations and cultures.
Cynthia Simmons


SOCY 1150  States and Minorities in the Middle East

Cross Listed with SL150 and PS153

Offered Periodically

A broad-based overview of the role of language choice plays in the construction of national and cultural identity in the Middle East. We will examine the role of Modern Standard Arabid (or Fus-ha) in the elaboration of Arab Nationalism, and the role of local dialects in the conceptualization of competing national identities and territorial nationalisms. In particular, and in addition to Arab Nationalism and Zionism, we will examine the ideas of Greater Syria, the Egyptian Pharaonic idea, Lebanonism, Mesopotamianism, and the Canaanite movement in Israel.
Fanck Salameh

SOCY 3367  Human Rights and Social Justice in Israel and Palestine

A study/immersion trip over winter break is required of participants.

This seminar, using a human rights framework, is designed to prepare students to better understand the Israeli/Palestinian conflict by comparing historical narratives, evaluating the most discussed political solutions (the one vs. two state debate), assessing the possibilities of an "economic peace" absent a political solution, and evaluating the role of religious ethics in conflict resolution.
Eve Spangler


THEO 3116  Medieval Religions and Thought

The medieval world of philosophy and theology was a multicultural world: Arabian, Jewish and Christian thinkers from the three great religious traditions adopted, adapted and shared the philosophical riches of the classical world and the religious resources of the biblical heritage. This course introduces students to the great Arabian thinkers: Alfarabi, Avicenna, Algazel and Averroes, the respected Jewish authors: Saadiah Gaon, Moses Maimonides and Gersonides, and the famous Christian writers: Anselm, Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas and the intellectual challenges from the Greek intellectual world that they met and faced in the Middle Ages.
Stephen F. Brown

THEO 5351  Faith Elements in Conflict

Religious differences appear often to figure in the dehumanization of enemies and rationalization of violence. This course will look at the way key concepts such as revelation, election, and universality in various religions, especially in sectarian guise, affect the origins and progress of violent conflicts, and will ask to what extent such employment of these concepts betrays the religions themselves. It will also examine how far the institutional interests of religious bodies make them vulnerable to manipulation by other parties engaged in any given conflict, and how the religious elements and loyalties relate to other interests that figure in such conflicts.
Raymond Helmick, S.J.

THEO 5352  Israelis and Palestinians

The parties in the Middle Eastern Conflict came, in 1993, to a watershed agreement, which had eluded them earlier, to recognize one another's legitimacy as peoples. The agreement has been difficult to maintain and to withdraw, and has figured massively in the turbulent events in the region since that time. This course examines how, in the whole history of the conflict, the elements of ethnicity and faith have contributed to the hatreds and resentments of these peoples, and the extent to which mutual acceptance and respect at these levels of faith and ethnicity can contribute to healing the conflict.
Raymond Helmick, S.J.

Summer Abroad Courses

Kuwait: Politics & Oil in the Gulf

POLI2475 / ICSP2475 / INTL2475

The Kuwait Program exposes students to a unique and unfamiliar environment, where they will explore a wide range of issues relevant to the GCC countries of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Seminar style classes are enhanced and complemented by local guest speakers and a wide variety of enticing site tours, including the tallest building in the world and the largest mosque ever built. Students interact with local citizens every day in Kuwaiti homes, restaurants, diwaniyyas, at desert encampments and at beach chalets.  
Kathleen Bailey

More information, including how to apply.

Economic Policy Analysis in Turblent Times: Europe and Turkey

ECON3368 / INTL3368

This summer program takes an interdisciplinary approach to issues of economic policymaking as it is faced in two quite different economies: Turkey and Germany. Presentations by guest speakers from research institutes, central banks, and government help students understand the challenges of policymaking, incorporating political, sociological and cultural constraints, and acquire a solid understanding of the Eurozone, European Union, and newly developed economies' policy prescriptions. Students will develop a real-world perspective on careers in economics, as well as ample opportunities for cultural enrichment, sightseeing, and living in these two vibrant cultures. This unique experience will provide ample material to support the theory and material covered in class at Boston College. Access to prominent guest speakers, company and site visits, and numerous cultural activities will constitute an exclusive, rich, educational, fun and memorable four-week program.
Can Erbil, Christopher Baum

More information about this program, including how to apply

Turkey at the Crossroads: Politics, Religion and the State

THEO1224 / ICSP1224 / INTL1224

Turkey is a nation at the crossroads. Its geographic location astride Europe and Asia makes it a bridge between the civilizations of “the West” and the broader Middle East, and an historical site of contest and exchange between Islam and Christianity. It is a key player in the geopolitics of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as it vies with Iran, Egypt and the Gulf States for leadership of the region’s many Islamic states. But Turkey is also at a crossroads in its own cultural and political history, as the strict secularism embraced by its elites for many generations gives way to a new openness to Islam in public life that has worried many religious minorities and nonreligious Turks.

Join us in summer 2015 for an in-depth examination of religion and public life in this fascinating country. Based in Istanbul, one the world's great cities, we will also travel to the nation's capital in Ankara and visit the shrine and burial place of the great 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi (known in Turkey as Mevlâna) in Konya. Course readings and discussion will complement guest lectures and meetings with politicians, civic and religious leaders, activists and academics.
Erik Owens

More information about the Turkey program, including how to apply.

Please consult with Kathleen Bailey, Director, for courses that can be taken for credit.

Schools offering consortium courses: