The Department of Near Eastern Studies (NES) teaches the diverse histories, religions, languages and literatures that originated in a vast region of the world extending from the Nile to the Oxus Rivers, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean. Faculty provide students majoring in Near Eastern Studies with an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to societies, beginning with the emergence of cities and writing in Sumer and Ancient Egypt, to the rise of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and onwards to the Modern Middle East, extending to its transnational and diasporic communities. The course offerings in the major are designed to provide an understanding of the dynamics that have shaped the literary, linguistic, visual, social and political histories of Middle Eastern societies past and present.
The major in Near Eastern Studies ensures that students form a linguistic and cultural foundation while also encountering higher-level concepts and theories. Coursework in Near Eastern Studies ranges from the origins of human civilization to the development of foreign language skills. Many courses also cover a range of disciplines, including history, linguistics, literature, visual culture, gender studies, and more!