The major and minor in Middle East and Islamic Studies offer a broad course of interdisciplinary and theoretically informed study. It is designed to provide a broad understanding of the history, politics and culture of the Middle East and Muslim societies. The coursework introduces students to the complexity and diversity of the cultural and geographic regions that are represented in the Middle East and Islamic world with focuses on gender, history, religion, literature, popular discourses and politics.
MEIS faculty are drawn from the Departments of Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Hispanic Studies, History, Media and Cultural Studies, Religious Studies, Theatre, Political Science, and Women’s Studies. Their research and expertise canvass a vast and diverse area from Muslim Spain to Ottoman Greece, and North Africa, in the west, to Central Asia, Indonesia, and South Asia, in the east. Thematically, MEIS faculty examine such issues as social, economic, urban, gender and legal history; Arabic language and literature; identity politics; media in India; theatre and representation; literary studies; state, society and religion; gender and modernity; Islamic movements; human rights; transnationality; and pluralism.
MEIS also attends to these themes in relation to language proficiency, broad information literacy, critical analysis, theoretical questions, research and writing skills, which the study of “regions” or “cultural areas” requires. Do they have historical knowledge, analysis and reading skills (primary and secondary sources)? What are the terms through which, an understanding of a “region” or “area” are articulated? How are such domains defined and what are the histories and politics, which have occasioned their formation? How does critical attention to these questions give way to new pedagogical and research objects? And, finally, how do these new objects come to be newly and differently articulated through the experience and lives of our students and their writing? A good number of our survey and upper division courses allow students to participate in interactive learning by taking part in these debates through oral communication and classroom presentations.
MEIS promotes a comparative and critical study of this vast region over a long time period through coursework to gain language proficiency, information literacy, breath and depth coverage, critical reading skills and analysis, research and writing proficiency as well as oral skills. Students majoring and minoring in MEIS are required to take general survey courses (i.e. RLST 111/Islam, Hist 121/Middle East, 1200-1800) as well as more specialized upper division courses (i.e. Hist 126/Istanbul in History and Fiction) to fulfill these learning outcomes. Our capstone course, MEIS 199 (i.e. Hist 197 Urban Transformations in the ME), which can be taken with MEIS faculty for two quarters tests all the learning outcomes outlined above and in addition provides a capstone research and writing experience on a particular theme in their senior year.
The UC-Study abroad programs in the region also provide cultural immersion, an opportunity to enhance language proficiency as well as internships to gain country specific experience. Our best paper prize evaluates all the learning outcomes and rubrics by a committee composed of MEIS faculty every year.
Our majors have entered prestigious graduate programs such as Oxford University, Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown University.
Careers and employment opportunities: International organizations, The United Nations; Think Tanks; Education; Government; International Business; International Law; Public Health; Graduate School.
The MEIS major and minor could be combined with any field. We urge students to consider "study abroad" and doing an internship through UCDC or any other organization. Check our FB for upcoming opportunities.