Middle Eastern and North Africa Studies

Middle Eastern and North Africa Studies

Middle East and North Africa studies (MENA) at Oberlin draws upon faculty and courses across the humanities and social sciences. We construe the region broadly, including Africa north of the Sahara, the Arabian Peninsula, Eastern Mediterranean, Iran, Turkey, and the Red Sea and Gulf littoral states.

Students can add a MENA minor to any other course of study. Completion of a MENA minor demonstrates a basic level of familiarity with this region; the range of courses permits students to develop their curriculum and to pursue deeper and broader studies beyond the minor requirements.

Because of the wide range of subject matters relevant to understanding the region, many courses from differing disciplinary orientations can count toward the minor. The only subject requirement is a beginning knowledge of at least one of the languages used in the region.

Read more about the Middle Eastern and North Africa Studies Concentration in the course catalog.


Requirements for the Minor

  • Acquire a MENA studies minor advisor
  • Demonstrate knowledge of first year Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi or Turkish
  • Complete at least five additional classes from the MENA class list from at least two departments or programs and including at least two above the introductory level

Courses Applying to the MENA Minor

(as of March 17, 2016)

  • ARBC 101-102 – Beginning Arabic I and II
  • ARBC 201-202 – Intermediate Arabic I and II
  • JWST 101-102 –Elementary Modern Hebrew I, II
  • FYSP 042 – The River Nile: Power, Capital and Revolt in Egypt
  • HIST 121, 122 – MENA History from the Rise of Islam to the present
  • HIST 132 – Introduction to Jewish Civilization, II (from 1492 on)
  • HIST/JWST 131, 132 – Jewish History I, II from Biblical Antiquity the Present
  • HIST 211 – State, Empire, and Revolution in MENA
  • HIST 335 – The Crusades: Contact and Conflict in the Mediterranean World
  • HIST 396 – US Foreign Policy in MENA
  • HIST 471 – Arab Spring: Revolution and State in MENA
  • HIST 486 – France and Algeria, 1830-1962
  • HIST 489 – Armies, Militias, and Jihad in MENA
  • JWST/RELG 208 – New Testament and Christian Origins
  • POLT 112 – Introduction to Middle East Politics
  • POLT 263 – Comparative Political Economy in the Middle East
  • POLT 264 – Urban Politics in Developing Cities
  • POLT 312 – Mastering Nature: The Politics of Science and Technology in the Middle East
  • RELG 108 – Introduction to Religion: Women and the Western Traditions
  • RELG 109 – Jerusalem: Negotiating Sacred Space
  • RELG 205 – Hebrew Bible in its Ancient Near Eastern Context
  • RELG 208 – New Testament and Christian Origins
  • RELG 272 – Introduction to the Qur’an
  • RELG 270 – Islam
  • RELG 275 - Religion and Politics in the Modern Muslim World
  • RELG 373 - Islamic Mystic Traditions, and Literature, Seminar
  • RELG 276 - The Ethics of Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking in Christianity and Islam
  • RELG 390 - Forgiveness in Muslim and Christian Traditions

MENA Committee Members, 2015-16

  • Leonard V. Smith, Chair (History)
  • Zeinab Abul-Magd (History)
  • Bonnie Cheng (Art)
  • Sarah El-Kazaz (Politics)
  • Amir Mahallati (Religion)
  • Abraham Socher (Jewish Studies and Religion)