Skip to main content


While study abroad is not required for the MENA Studies major, we strongly encourage students who are able to study abroad to take advantage of the invaluable chance to learn about the region from the region. Please write the MENA Studies Director with any questions about how to integrate study abroad into your MENA studies experience. 

The Program in Middle East and North African Studies offers undergraduates the opportunity to pursue and develop their interests in the history, languages, literatures, politics and societies of this large and diverse region of the world. While there is room in the major in MENA studies for some specialization, the MENA Program is committed to cross-regional and interdisciplinary approaches in order to allow students to glimpse the multiplicity of ways that the particularities of the region may be approached.

To complete a major or a minor, undergraduates take a combination of courses offered by the MENA program and those that originate in other departments but taught by MENA faculty affiliates (these courses appear on a list of preapproved courses; see the Course Guide posted elsewhere on this site). Students pursuing the major may also petition the MENA Director of Undergraduate Studies to consider other courses not listed on the Course Guide if she or he can demonstrate their relevance to their course of study.

The centerpiece of the major is MENA 301, a three-course sequence that is the key, formative experience for students majoring in Middle East and North African studies. Each academic year, three faculty affiliated with MENA will teach 301 (one each quarter). Together, these faculty members will choose an overarching theme for the year (e.g., Revolution; Politics and Culture; the Middle East and the World). Each seminar will be tailored to the professor’s own strengths and disciplinary focus and will be an independent course with no prerequisite for enrollment, nor any expectation that students will have taken the other courses in the sequence. Thus students should feel free to take one, two, or all three courses in any given year.

MENA 301 differs from courses on the Middle East and North Africa in other departments by

  1. offering students a more intimate, focused, upper-level approach to the study of the MENA region;
  2. relating individual courses to a larger historical or social question, reaching across the annual theme;
  3. highlighting interdisciplinarity;
  4. offering students the opportunity to reflect on different disciplinary approaches to a similar historical, political, or social problem/question.

Click here to see detailed course descriptions.

Fall 2017: MENA 301-1: “Shady Business: Informal Economies in Contemporary Capitalism”
Instructor: Emrah Yildiz, Anthropology

Winter 2018: MENA 301-2: “Syria: History, Society, Culture"
Instructor: Shayna Silverstein, Performance Studies

Spring 2018: MENA 301-3: “Islamic Law”
Instructor: Brannon Ingram, Religious Studies

Whether or not you are able to complete a major or a minor, we encourage you to try out our courses, take a language class, or attend one of our events. Welcome!

Past 301 Courses: 

Click here to see detailed course descriptions.

Fall 2016: MENA 301-1: “National Cinema: Middle Eastern & North African Cinemas”
Instructor: Hamid Naficy, Radio, Television, Film

Winter 2017: MENA 301-2: “Middle East Revolutions"
Instructor: Jessica Winegar, Anthropology

Spring 2017: MENA 301-3: “The Arabian Nights”
Instructor: Rebecca Johnson, English

Click here for an archive of past courses.

Fall 2015: MENA 301-1: “Islamic Law”
Instructor: Brannon Ingram, Religious Studies

Winter 2016: MENA 301-2: “Ethnography of North Africa"
Instructor: Katherine Hoffman, Anthropology

Spring 2016: MENA 301-3: “Nations and Nation-States in the Middle East”
Instructor: Ipek Yosmaoglu, History

The theme for 2014-2015 was: "The Middle East and the World."
Click here for an archive of past courses.

Fall 2014: MENA 301-1: “Middle East, Modernity and Identity”
Instructor: Amina Tawasil, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in MENA Studies

Winter 2015: MENA 301-1: “What is Place? Art and the Visual Public Sphere in the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa"
Instructor: Hannah Feldman, Associate Professor of Art History

Spring 2015: MENA 301-3: “International Politics of the Middle East”
Instructor: Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Associate Professor of Political Science

The theme for 2013-2014 was: "Transformations of the Traditional."
Click here for an archive of past courses.

Fall 2013: MENA 301-1: “Reform, Revival, and Modern Islam”
Instructor: Brannon Ingram, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Winter 2014: MENA 301-2: “Gender in the Middle East: Accommodation, Challenge and the In-between”
Instructor: Amina Tawasil, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in MENA Studies

Spring 2014: MENA 301-3: “20/21 C Lit & Film from MENA: National Traditions, Global Influences”
Instructor: Brian Edwards, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies