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Middle East and Islamic Studies at San Francisco State University

MEIS is the result of a far-reaching university initiative, launched in 2002, to make SFSU a center of excellence in the fields of Middle East and Islamic Studies, comprising those regions of the world where Islam is one of the main forms of religious practice from the 7th century until the present.

About

Middle East and Islamic Studies (MEIS) is a multidisciplinary minor designed to provide a broad understanding of the cultures, history, politics, and economies of the Middle East and Islamic societies, very broadly defined. The emphasis of the minor is on the complexity and diversity of these societies as well as some of the connections between them. The program includes study of the Middle East from the founding of Islam in the seventh century to the present, as well as those cultures and areas in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere that are associated with the historical and current spread of Islam.

This minor was created in 2007 with the support of then-deans Joel Kassiola and Paul Sherwin. The goal of MEIS is to encourages student to evaluate common perceptions and misperceptions of the Middle East and Muslim societies, and to develop an appreciation for the complexity of the region, and its cultures, peoples, histories, and politics. As we keep reading about the Middle East in the news, the minor helps to shed light on what led us to these current events.

The MEIS minor is useful for students planning careers in politics and government, business, education, international organizations, journalism, and art, as well as for those who desire a better understanding of the Middle East, Islamic societies, and Muslim cultures.

Requirements

The Middle East and Islamic Studies Minor consists of a core curriculum of three courses that deal with the region as a whole from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, plus three more courses of upper division units taken upon advisement. Some of the core classes carry the MEIS prefix, while most courses in the minor are listed under the various departments that teach them. If a question arises if a specific course might count towards the minor, please see a faculty advisor.

Program Learning Objectives

After completing the inter-disciplinary minor program, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the diversity and complexity of the many communities that reside in the area called The Middle East and other regions where Islam is one of the dominant religions practiced.
  2. articulate and critically evaluate main debates in the scholarship of Middle East and Islamic Studies through written assignments and class presentations.
  3. identify, possibly integrate, and apply theoretical perspectives and research practices from a variety of academic disciplines in the arts, humanities, and social sciences to produce comprehensive and multi-faceted explanations on current and past MEIS issues and themes.

Core Requirements

Complete at least 9 units in the core, by taking one course from Section A, one course from Section B, and a third course from either section.

Section A: History and Politics

Course Title Units
HIST 604 Islamic World I: 500-1500 3
HIST 605 Islamic World II: 1500-Present 3
PLSI 410 Middle East Politics 4
IR 324 The Middle East and North Africa in International Relations 4
IR 335 Muslim Societies in Transnational Perspectives 4

Section B: Arts and Culture

Course Title Units
ART 417 The Art and Architecture of Islam 3
HUM 361 Cultural Expression in Islam 3
HUM 496 Islam and the Poetics of Space 3
MUS 530 Musics of the Middle East & India 3
PHIL 516 Islamic Philosophy 3

Courses Applicable to Section A or B

Course Title Units
MEIS 300 Foundations in Middle East and Islamic Studies 3
MEIS 301 Islam: Interpretation and Practice 3

Total Core Units: 9 to 11 units (3 courses)

Electives

In addition to the three core courses above, take a minimum of nine units as electives. At least one course must be from Part I, and at least one course from Part II. The third elective may be taken from either part. Courses that are used to satisfy core requirements may not be double counted as electives, but additional core classes above the 9 to 11-unit requirement may be counted as elective units.

Part I: History and Politics

Course Title Units
HIST 583 Hindus and Muslims 3
HIST 604 Islamic World I: 500-1500 3
HIST 605 Islamic World II: 1500-present 3
HIST 606 History of Iran and Afghanistan, 1500-present 3
HIST 607 Imperialism and Nationalism in the Recent Near East 3
IR 323 The Persian Gulf in International Relations 4
IR 324 Middle East and North Africa in International Relations 4
IR 326 South and Southeast Asia Foreign Relations 4
IR 335 Muslim Societies in Transnational Perspective 4
IR 433 Model Arab League 4
IR 604 Analysis of Global Issues (if topic related to MEIS) 4
JS/IR/PLSI 430 Israeli Democracy: Politics, Institutions, and Society 3
PHIL 436 Islamic Political Philosophy 3
PLSI 410 Middle East Politics 4
PLSI 420 State-Society Relations in the Middle East 4
PLSI 425 Imagining Power in the Middle East 4
PLSI/MEIS 431 Constructing Kurdistan 4
WGS 565 Muslim Feminisms 3

Part II: Arts and Culture

Course Title Units
ARAB 102 Second Semester Arabic 4
ARAB 103 Third Semester Arabic 4
ARAB 104 Fourth Semester Arabic 4
ARAB 206 Intermediate Conversation 3
ARAB 300 Reading Qur’anic Arabic 3
ARAB 400 Islam and Fiction in English 3
ARAB 401 Arab Culture and Identity in English 3
ARAB 450 Contemporary Arabic and Arab Amerian Literature 3
ARAB 600 Modern Arabic Literature and Film in English 3
ART 417 The Art and Architecture of Islam 3
ART 421 Global Perspectives in Art History (on Middle East) 3
CWL 420 Medieval Europe and Islam 3
CWL 430 Heroic Tales of the Mediterranean 3
HUM 361 Cultural Expression in Islam 3
HUM 375 Biography of a City: Istanbul (or other ME city) 3
HUM/JS 377 Jerusalem 3
HUM 496 Islam and the Poetics of Space 3
HEBR 102 Second Semester Modern Hebrew 3
HEBR 201 Third Semester Modern Hebrew 3
HEBR 202 Fourth Semester Modern Hebrew 3
JS/CINE 408 Israeli Cinema 3
JS/HUM/PHIL 501 Judaism, Christianity and Islam 3
MUS 530 Musics of the Middle East and India 3
PRSN 102 Second Semester Persian Language 5
PRSN 103 Third Semester Persian Language 5
PRSN 104 Fourth Semester Persian Language 5
PRSN 206 Basic Persian Conversation 3
PRSN 260 Persian Culture and Civilization in English 3
PRSN 290 Introduction to Persian Literature in English Translation 3
PRSN 411 Persian Media 3
PRSN 450 Religious Traditions in Iran 3
PRSN 550 Persian Culture through Film in English 3
PHIL 516 Islamic Philosophy 3
PHIL 517 Islamic Mysticism 3

Total Elective Units: 9 to 11 units

Total Units for MEIS Minor: 18-22 Units

Contact the Center

Address: 1600 Holloway Avenue, HUM Building, San Francisco, CA 94132

If you have questions about MEIS, contact: Prof. Lucia Volk

lvolk@sfsu.edu

HUM 576

Websitemeis.sfsu.edu

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