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

Course Sampling

  • ARBC 101-102 – Beginning Arabic I and II
  • ARBC 201-202 – Intermediate Arabic I and II
  • ARTS 309 – The Ancient Near East
  • FREN 429 – La Littérature du Maghreb
  • FYSP 101 – The Making of an Ayatollah
  • HIST 121, 122 – MENA History from the Rise of Islam to the present
  • HIST 217 – Women and Gender in Islamic Law and Arab Legal Codes
  • HIST 384 – Globalization and its Discontents in MENA History
  • JWST 101-102 –Elementary Modern Hebrew I, II
  • HIST/JWST 131, 132 – Jewish History I, II from Biblical Antiquity the Present
  • JWST/RELG 150, 151 – Introduction to Judaism and Modern Jewish Thought
  • JWST/RELG 208 – New Testament and Christian Origins
  • JWST 237 – Gender and Sexuality in Jewish Society, Antiquity to Modernity
  • POLT 111 – Narrative and Political Conflict in MENA
  • POLT 117 – Intro to Comp Politics of MENA
  • POLT 122 – Israel-Palestine Conflict
  • POLT 264 – Democratization in MENA
  • POLT 311 – Politics of Pluralism in MENA
  • RELG 109 – Introduction to Religion: Jerusalem— Negotiating Sacred Space
  • RELG 205 – Hebrew Bible in its Ancient Near Eastern Context
  • RELG 270 – Islam
  • RELG 272 – Introduction to the Qur’an
  • RELG 275 – Religion and Politics in the Modern Muslim World

MENA Committee Members

  • Zeinab Abul-Magd, assistant professor of history
  • David Kamitsuka, professor of religion
  • Susan Kane, professor of art/archaeology
  • Ben Schiff, professor of politics
  • Leonard Smith, professor of history
  • Ali Yedes, associate professor of French