Arab Studies Courses

General Course Listings

Sub CRSE Title
ARB 101 Elementary Arabic I (Sections A & B)
Prerequisites & Notes

(Fall)

Instructor
Botros or Joubin

Elementary Arabic I, the fall semester of a year-long intensive course in first year Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), is designed for students with no previous exposure to the language. From the first semester of the course, there is a focus on gaining a strong foundation in the communicative skills of listening and speaking, as well as reading and writing. While the concentration is on Classical Arabic, there will be exposure to dialect through proverbs and music. Student participation and group activities encouraging conversation are vital to the course. Attendance at two AT (drill) sessions each week is required.

ARB 102 Elementary Arabic II (Sections A & B)
Prerequisites & Notes

ARB 101 at Davidson or passing placement exam. (Spring)

Instructor
Botros or Joubin

In Elementary Arabic II, a continuation of Elementary Arabic I, we continue to develop the communicative skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students are further introduced to authentic texts from the Arab world. Presentations and group activities encouraging conversation are essential to the course. The course is conducted entirely in Arabic. Attendance at two AT (drill) sessions each week is required.

ARB 201 Intermediate Arabic I
Prerequisites & Notes

ARB 102 or placement.  (Fall)

Instructor
Botros

Intermediate Arabic 201, the fall semester of a year-long intensive intermediate course in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), is designed for students who have had one year of Arabic at the college level. Authentic supplementary reading material is introduced, with a focus on popular stories filled with wise sayings known throughout the Arab world. Discussion and presentations are centered on this material, which exposes students to important cultural elements of the Arab world. The course is conducted entirely in Arabic. Attendance at two AT (drill) sessions each week is required.

ARB 202 Intermediate Arabic II
Prerequisites & Notes

ARB 201 or placement.  (Spring)

Instructor
Botros

Continuation of Intermediate Arabic I. 

ARB 240 Accelerated Persian for Arabic Speakers
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Joubin

Accelerated Persian for Arabic Speakers is a one semester course for students who have already completed ARB 101. Because the Persian and Arabic languages share the same alphabet, on the first day of class students will be introduced to the few additional letters present in Persian. By the next class period, we will begin to focus on sentence structure, verb conjugation, and vocabulary building. Elementary Persian books often state that one of the main challenges of Persian is vocabulary building. However, students of Arabic will not find this to be the case. Arabic and Persian share about sixty per cent similar vocabulary and thus our class will progress at a rapid speed due to the Arabic language background that all students will have. It is expected that both languages will complement the other.  Pre-requisite: Arabic 101 (Fall)

Satisfies a major requirement in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies' Arab Studies major

Satisfies a minor requirement in Arab Studies

Satisfies an interdisciplinary minor requirement in Middle Eastern Studies

Satisfies an advanced Arabic course requirement.

ARB 250 Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East
Prerequisites & Notes

(Spring)

Instructor

Joubin

The objective of the course is to attain an interdisciplinary approach to the study of gender and sexuality in the Middle East. During the past few decades Middle East Gender studies has expanded rapidly, and this course will introduce students to the milestone monographs that established the field. From a focus on women as a category of analysis, to gender and masculinity studies, the field has expanded rapidly. This course examines gender as a category of analysis and focuses on productions of knowledge of sexual difference in Middle East society. We will examine the implication of modernity on men and women in the Middle East, following scholarship that does not adhere to the tradition versus modernity dichotomy, and we will pay particular attention to studies that examine the ambiguity of modernity. The intersection of nationalist and gendered discourse is among the themes this course will focus on. This course is conducted in English.

Satisfies a major requirement in Center for Interdisciplinary Studies major in Arab Studies and in Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Satisfies a minor requirement in Arab Studies and in Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Satisfies a distribution requirement in Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric.
Satisfies an interdisciplinary minor requirement in International Studies and in Middle East Studies.

ARB 251 Introduction to Arab Studies
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Joubin

The objective of this course is to attain an interdisciplinary approach to Arab Studies. Students will be introduced to key monographs in the field of Arab Studies, and study issues related to Orientalism as well as the more complicated narrative of the native informer. Various artistic forms from past and present will be studied to engage with this phenomenon. We will pay special attention to those works that overcome the troubling paradigm of native informer. By the end of the semester, students will be able to articulate the leading theories in Orientalism and postcolonial theory from an interdisciplinary perspective. (Course will be conducted in English)

Satisfies a major requirement for the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies major in Arab Studies

Satisfies a minor requirement in Arab Studies

Satisfies the Liberal Studies distribution requirement

Satisfies the Cultural Diversity requirement

ARB 295 Studies in Arabic Culture
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Joubin

Arabic 295, a one-semester course in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), is designed for students who have had two years of college level Arabic courses or the equivalent. The course, which is conducted entirely in Arabic, enhances the students' understanding of Arabic culture and grammar through video clips, film, proverbs, television serials, music, and literature. Discussion and presentations are centered on this material. Class meets for one hour, three times per week. Conducted in Arabic.

ARB 321 Contemporary Arabic Literature
Prerequisites & Notes

Arabic 202 or permission of instructor.

Instructor
Joubin

Advanced readings of novels by contemporary Arab authors such as: Ilyas Khouri, Naguib Mahfouz, Abdel Rahman al-Munif, Salwa Bakr, Ghassan Kanafani, Tawfiq Hakim, and Hanan al-Shaykh.  Discussion topics include: modernity, civil war in Lebanon, gender relations, changing relations between Middle East and West, social transformations after independence, and the plight of the Palestinians.  Presentations and compositions in Arabic are among the requirements. Conducted in Arabic.

Satisfies a minor requirement in Arabic.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Counts toward the Asian Studies Interdisciplinary Minor, the Middle East Studies interdisciplinary minor, the International Studies Interdisciplinary Minor (Middle East sections), and Communication Studies Interdisciplinary Minor.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirements.

ARB 322 Media in the Arab World
Prerequisites & Notes

Arabic 202 or permission of instructor. (Spring)

Instructor
Botros

This course focuses on various forms of news media in the Arab world such as newspapers, magazines, television commercials, video clips, television serials, and news broadcasts. Discussion includes themes such as gender issues, globalization, the Palestinian crisis, reconstruction in Iraq, the rise of Islam, and education, as well as evaluation of cartoons, advertisements, comic strips, television serials, and films. Students are taught to analyze, criticize, and evaluate media images consciously. Presentations and compositions are among the requirements. Conducted in Arabic.

Satisfies a minor requirement in Arabic.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Counts toward the Asian Studies Interdisciplinary Minor, the Middle East Studies interdisciplinary minor, the International Studies Interdisciplinary Minor (Middle East sections), and Communication Studies Interdisciplinary Minor.

ARB 325 Contemporary Syrian Television Drama
Prerequisites & Notes

ARB 202 or permission of instructor required.

Instructor
Joubin

In this course, we will examine contemporary Syrian television drama dealing with gender constructions, marriage metaphors, notions of honor and shame, and social discourse. We will study different trends in Syrian drama such as old Damascene tales, which seek a return to the past. We will also study progressive trends.  A large portion of this course will focus on reading newspaper and magazine articles written by critics in response to these serials. Students will also watch televised interviews of directors and writers of television drama. The purpose of this will be for students to grasp the nature of the impact of television drama on Syrian society. Presentations and compositions are among the requirements. Course is conducted entirely in Arabic.

Satisfies a minor requirement in Arabic.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Counts toward the Asian Studies Interdisciplinary Minor, the Middle East Studies interdisciplinary minor, the International Studies Interdisciplinary Minor (Middle East sections), and Communication Studies Interdisciplinary Minor.
Satisfies the Visual and Performing Arts distribution requirement.

ARB 326 Politically Critical Parodies in Syria: Past and Present
Prerequisites & Notes

ARB 202 or placement. (Fall)

Instructor
Joubin

By subtly deconstructing regime narratives, Syrian political parodies have played a vital role in undermining the Asad regime while operating within the framework of government co-optation. In this course, we will examine the televised theatrical productions of plays written by the late poet Muhammad al-Maghut - such as Day'at Tishrin (October Village) in 1974, al-Ghurba (Alienation) in 1975, and Kasak ya Watan (Cheers to the Homeland) in 1977 - which brought sarcastic theater to the focal point of Syrian entertainment. We will then examine the multi-sketch comedy Buq'at Daw', inaugurated in 2001, which openly discussed taboo topics such as state corruption, sectarianism, and the villainous secret police. Syrian citizens generally argue that the Asad regime uses politically critical programming as a safety valve to release frustrations, and scholars have drawn on this theory of tanfis. In this course, students will debate this concept. We will also discuss the role of political parodies during the uprising, and the role of the artist in general when it comes to revolution. This course is conducted entirely in Arabic.

Satisfies Visual and Performing Arts distribution requirement.

ARB 327 Mediating Conflict: Syrian Television Drama and Revolution
Prerequisites & Notes

(Fall)

Instructor
Joubin

Prior to the 2011 Revolution, by subtly deconstructing regime narratives, Syrian political parodies played a vital role in undermining the Asad regime while operating within a framework of government co-optation. Given the regime's clamp down on oppositional writing, one would expect that Syrian drama would not have survived after the uprising. Yet, the contrary has been true. As the regime has created grand narratives to discount the revolution, drama creators have created storylines that expose hypocrisy and presented various sides of the conflict. In this course we will study miniseries from the commencement of the 2011 uprising, paying special attention to symbols and metaphors that have emerged in drama to serve as socio-political critique.

Satisfies a major requirement for the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies major in Arab Studies

Satisfies a minor requirement in Arab Studies

Satisfies the Visual and Performing Arts distribution requirement

Satisfies the Cultural Diversity requirement

ARB 331 Arabic Media & Society
Prerequisites & Notes

ARB 202 or permission of instructor. (Spring)

Instructor
Botros

This course is intended to give students an idea of the central issues that the Arab media is interested in covering. As is well-known, a country's media is considered to be the window that overlooks society's concerns and thus it provides the people with the tools to raise awareness of these issues as well as provide alternatives and/or solutions. Examining the media enhances one's understanding of the country's culture, as well. Important issues will be examined related to women, youth, family, children, and portrayal of homosexuality in the media, as well as the impact of Turkish serials on the Arab media including Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia, Bahrain, etc. Presentations and compositions are among the requirements. The course is conducted entirely in Arabic. 

Satisfies a minor requirement in Arabic.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Counts toward the Asian Studies Interdisciplinary Minor, the Middle East Studies interdisciplinary minor, the International Studies Interdisciplinary Minor (Middle East sections), and Communication Studies Interdisciplinary Minor.

ARB 335 Contemporary Egyptian Society: Changes in Egyptian Society from 1950 to the Present
Prerequisites & Notes

ARB 202 or permission of instructor.

Instructor
Botros

Contemporary Egyptian Society is a one semester course, designed for students with the equivalent of two years study of Arabic. This course will explore the cultural history of modern Egypt. Through the study of politics, religion, art, language, and culture, the course will concentrate on societal changes that have occurred in Egypt during the last fifty years and the challenges that remain. The course is conducted entirely in Arabic. 

Satisfies a minor requirement in Arabic.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Counts toward the Asian Studies Interdisciplinary Minor, the Middle East Studies interdisciplinary minor, the International Studies Interdisciplinary Minor (Middle East sections), and Communication Studies Interdisciplinary Minor.
Satisfies a Liberal Studies distribution requirement.

ARB 340 Gender and Politics in Contemporary Syrian Literature
Prerequisites & Notes

Arabic 202 or permission of instructor.

Instructor
Joubin

This course will focus on the intersection of gender and politics in contemporary Syrian literature. Through an examination of the novels, short stories, autobiography, and poems of writers such as Hana Mina, Khayri al-Dhabhabi, Asima Darwish, Muhammad al-Maghut, and Khalid Khalifeh, students will be introduced to debates on the direction of society and politics in contemporary literature. Students will also be exposed to films and mini-series based on the literature and lives of several of the writers we will be studying. The goal of the course is for students to learn to comfortably read contemporary Syrian literature, and acquire the vocabulary necessary to discuss the key issues and themes relating to gender and politics. This course is taught entirely in Arabic.

Satisfies a minor requirement in Arabic.
Satisfies a major requirement in Gender Studies.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Counts toward the Asian Studies interdisciplinary minor, the Middle East Studies interdisciplinary minor, the International Studies interdisciplinary minor (Middle East sections), and Communication Studies interdisciplinary minor.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing and Rhetoric distribution requirements.
 

ARB 341 Gender Studies in the Arab World
Prerequisites & Notes

Arabic 202 or permission of instructor.

Instructor
Botros

The target of this course is to provide an overview of the key topics in the study of gender in the Arab world. This course provides a gendered understanding of prevailing ideologies, social practices, and trends for students interested in Arab politics and culture. Students will be presented with readings ranging from history, sociology, anthropology, political science, and media studies. The course is taught entirely in Arabic.

Satisfies a minor requirement in Arab Studies.
Satisfies a major requirement in Gender Studies.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Counts toward the Asian Studies interdisciplinary minor, the Middle East Studies interdisciplinary minor, the International Studies interdisciplinary minor (Middle East sections), and the Communication Studies interdisciplinary minor.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing and Rhetoric distribution requirements.
 

ARB 342 Postcolonial Syrian Film
Prerequisites & Notes

ARB 202 or permission of the instructor.

Instructor
Joubin
 

This course will trace the development of postcolonial Syrian film from the 1960s until the present. We will begin with the political critiques of Muhammad al-Maghout and Durayd Lahham in the 1960s and 70s and end with films produced after the uprising in 2011. Topics include gender and family dynamics, political critique, the question of Palestine, and government co-optation of intellectuals. The course is taught entirely in Arabic.

Satisfies a major requirement for Center for Interdisciplinary Studies Arab Studies major.
Satisfies a minor requirement for Arab Studies.
Satisfies the Liberal Arts distribution requirement.

ARB 395 Independent Study for Advanced Students
Prerequisites & Notes

Permission of the instructor. (Fall and Spring)

Instructor
Joubin

Advanced study under the direction of the faculty member, who approves the topic, determines meeting times, and decides the means of evaluating the students' work.

ARB 396 Independent Study for Advanced Students
Prerequisites & Notes

Permission of the instructor needed.

Instructor
Joubin

Advanced study under the direction of the faculty member, who approves the topic, determines meeting times, and decides the means of evaluating the students' work.

HIS 175 The Middle East, 610-1453: The Formation of Islam
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Berkey

Political, social, cultural and religious history of the Middle East from late antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages. Cultural identity and political legitimacy within Classical and medieval Islamic civilization. 

Satisfies Historical Thought distribution requirement.

Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.

Satisfies the Middle East Studies interdisciplinary minor.

HIS 176 The Middle East, 1453-Present: Islam in the Modern World
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Berkey

History of the Middle East from the end of the Middle Ages to the present day. Cultural aspects of contact and conflict between the Middle East and the West and of Islam's response to the challenge of modernity. 

Satisfies Historical Thought distribution requirement.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Middle East Studies interdisciplinary minor.

HIS 218 Jihad and Crusade
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor 
Berkey

A study of the history of religious violence.  Topics include the relationship between religion and violence in a number of different traditions, with a special focus on the history of violent conflict between the Islamic world and the West.

Satisfies Historical Thought distribution requirement.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Middle East Studies interdisciplinary minor.

POL 291 Politics of the Middle East
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Toska

Survey of contemporary political and economic issues facing the Middle East, including international relations of the Middle East.

Sub-field = International and Comparative
Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought distribution requirement.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Provides credit towards the Arab Studies minor.
Satisfies the Middle East Studies interdisciplinary minor.

REL 272 Classical Islam
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Mahony

Theological and cultural study of Islamic history and religious expressions. Topics include the life of Muhammad, teachings of the Qur'an, developments in Islamic sectarianism, religious law and ethics, contemplative and ritual practices, and aesthetic values and expressions. Emphasis is on Islam before the rise of European colonialism, yet considerable attention is also given to Islam in the contemporary world.

Satisfies the Philosophical and Religious Perspectives distribution requirement.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies Middle Eastern Studies requirement.
Satisfies South Asian Studies requirement.

REL 277 Islamic Mysticism
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Zamir

Islamic spirituality and its diverse varieites, doctrinal formulations, practices, history and contemporary significance.

Satisfies the Philosophical and Religious Perspectives distribution requirement.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies Middle Eastern Studies requirement.
Satisfies South Asian Studies requirement.