Summer Sessions | Courses | Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies

Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies

The Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies Department offers a dynamic range of Arabic language courses in the summer term. 

Check the Directory of Classes for the most up-to-date course information in Middle East.

Summer 2021 Session Information

  •     SESSION A courses are May 3–June 18, 2021
  •     SESSION B courses are June 28–August 16, 2021

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Courses
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CRITICAL THEORY: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
MDES1001W001 4 points.

The purpose of this foundational course is to introduce Columbia undergraduate students, in the context of their Global Core curriculum, to the seminal field of critical theory. The historical domain of this course is within the last century and its geographical spectrum is global. European critical thinkers are included in this course but not privileged. Thinkers from Asia, Africa, Europe, North, South, and Latin America, are examined here in chronological order and in equal democratic footing with each other. This course as a result is decidedly cross-cultural, one step forward towards de-alienating critical thinkers from around the globe and the issues they address without pigeonholing them as something “other” or “different.” The course is designed and offered in the true spirit of the “Global Core.” The purpose of the course is to reach for the common denominator of serious critical thinking about the fate of our humanity and the health of our social relations in an increasingly fragile world—where the false binaries of “the West” and “the Rest” no longer hold. The roster of critical thinkers we will examine is by no means exhaustive but representative. Any number of other critical thinkers can be added to this roster but none of those we will examine can be excluded from them. The course is divided into thirteen successive weeks and for each week a number of seminal, original, and groundbreaking texts are identified. Each week we will examine selected passages from these texts. The course is designed as a lecture course, and my lectures are based on the totality of these texts but students will be assigned specific shorter passages to read.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES1001W001 001/12637 Summer A Subterm Th 09:00 AM–12:00 PM
Tu 09:00 AM–12:00 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Hamid Dabashi
4 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
CRITICAL THEORY:G.P.-DISC
MDES1002W001 0 points.

Corequisites: MDES UN1001. Discussion sections (TWO) to accompany the course MDES UN1001, Critical Theory: A Global Perspective.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES1002W001 001/12692 Summer A Subterm Tu 01:10 PM–02:00 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Karim Malak
Hamid Dabashi
0 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
CRITICAL THEORY:G.P.-DISC
MDES1002W002 0 points.

Corequisites: MDES UN1001. Discussion sections (TWO) to accompany the course MDES UN1001, Critical Theory: A Global Perspective.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES1002W002 002/12693 Summer A Subterm We 12:10 PM–01:00 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Thaer AlSheikh Theeb
Hamid Dabashi
0 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
CRITICAL THEORY:G.P.-DISC
MDES1002W003 0 points.

Corequisites: MDES UN1001. Discussion sections (TWO) to accompany the course MDES UN1001, Critical Theory: A Global Perspective.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES1002W003 003/12694 Summer A Subterm Mo 12:10 PM–01:00 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Thaer AlSheikh Theeb
Hamid Dabashi
0 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
CRITICAL THEORY:G.P.-DISC
MDES1002W004 0 points.

Corequisites: MDES UN1001. Discussion sections (TWO) to accompany the course MDES UN1001, Critical Theory: A Global Perspective.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES1002W004 004/12695 Summer A Subterm Th 01:30 PM–02:20 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Karim Malak
Hamid Dabashi
0 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
FIRST YEAR ARABIC I
MDES1210W001 5 points.

An introduction to the language of classical and modern Arabic literature. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES1210W001 001/11199 Summer A Subterm Tu 02:10 PM–04:00 PM
Mo 02:10 PM–04:00 PM
We 02:10 PM–04:00 PM
Th 02:10 PM–04:00 PM
Fr 02:10 PM–04:00 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Ouijdane Absi
5 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
FIRST YEAR ARABIC I
MDES1210W002 5 points.

An introduction to the language of classical and modern Arabic literature. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES1210W002 002/13408 Summer A Subterm Mo 12:10 PM–02:00 PM
We 12:10 PM–02:00 PM
Tu 12:10 PM–02:00 PM
Fr 12:10 PM–02:00 PM
Th 12:10 PM–02:00 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Rym Bettaieb
5 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
FIRST YEAR ARABIC II
MDES1211W001 5 points.

Prerequisites: First Year Arabic I or instructor permission. An introduction to the language of classical and modern Arabic literature. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES1211W001 001/12150 Summer A Subterm Mo 10:10 AM–12:00 PM
Fr 10:10 AM–12:00 PM
We 10:10 AM–12:00 PM
Tu 10:10 AM–12:00 PM
Th 10:10 AM–12:00 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Rym Bettaieb
5 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
1ST YR MOD HEBREW:ELEM II
MDES1502W001 5 points.

Prerequisites: MDES UN1501, or the equivalent, based on performance on the placement test. Continued introduction to Hebrew, with equal emphasis on all languages skills. (See MDES UN1501.) No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES1502W001 001/12864 Summer A Subterm We 09:30 AM–12:05 PM
Mo 09:30 AM–12:05 PM
Tu 09:30 AM–12:05 PM
Th 09:30 AM–12:05 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Danielle Katz-Shenhar
5 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
SECOND YEAR ARABIC I
MDES2201W001 5 points.

Prerequisites: MDES W1210-W1211 or the equivalent. A continuation of the study of the language of contemporary writing. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES2201W001 001/11202 Summer A Subterm Tu 04:10 PM–06:00 PM
Th 04:10 PM–06:00 PM
We 04:10 PM–06:00 PM
Mo 04:10 PM–06:00 PM
Fr 04:10 PM–06:00 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Ouijdane Absi
5 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
SECOND YEAR ARABIC II
MDES2202W001 5 points.

Prerequisites: MDES W1210-W1211 or the equivalent. A continuation of the study of the language of contemporary writing. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES2202W001 001/11203 Summer A Subterm Mo 12:10 PM–02:00 PM
Th 12:10 PM–02:00 PM
Tu 12:10 PM–02:00 PM
We 12:10 PM–02:00 PM
Fr 12:10 PM–02:00 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
May Ahmar
5 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN LITERATURE
MDES2399W001 4 points.

This colloquium is a course on many influential texts of literature from Ancient Near Eastern cultures, including Sumerian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Hittite, Canaanite, and others. The emphasis is on investigating the literary traditions of each culture – the subject matter, form, methods, and symbolism– that distinguish them from one another and from later traditions of the Middle East. The course is not
a “civilization” course, nor is it a history class, although elements of culture and history will be mentioned as necessary. The course is intended to provide a facility with, and an awareness of, the content and context of ancient works of literature in translation from the Ancient Middle East.


Students in this course will gain a familiarity with the major cultures of the Ancient Middle East, the best known and most remarked upon stories, and the legacy of those works on some later traditions. The course is organized thematically in order to facilitate comparison to the materials in similar courses at Barnard and Columbia. The approach will be immediately familiar to students who have previously taken Asian Humanities (AMEC) or Literature-Humanities (Core), but the course does not require any previous experience with literature or the Ancient Near East and is open to everyone.


All assigned readings for the course will be in English. The course meets once a week and sessions are two hours long.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES2399W001 001/00188 Summer A Subterm We 12:10 PM–02:00 PM
Mo 12:10 PM–02:00 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Nathanael Shelley
4 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
On-Line Only
2ND YR MODERN HEBREW II
MDES2502W001 5 points.

Prerequisites: Second Year Hebrew: Intermediate I or instructor permission. Equal emphasis is given to all language skills. Irregular categories of the Hebrew verb, prepositions and syntax are taught systematically. Vocabulary building. Daily homework includes grammar exercises, short answers, reading, or writing short compositions. Frequent vocabulary and grammar quizzes. (Students completing this course fulfill Columbia College and Barnard language requirement.) No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES2502W001 001/12865 Summer A Subterm Mo 12:30 PM–03:05 PM
Tu 12:30 PM–03:05 PM
We 12:30 PM–03:05 PM
Th 12:30 PM–03:05 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Danielle Katz-Shenhar
5 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
URBAN SPACE & CONFLICT IN MIDDLE EAST
MDES3331W001 3 points.

This course explores how civil war, revolution, militarization, mass violence, refugee crises, and terrorism impact urban spaces, and how city dwellers engage in urban resilience, negotiate and attempt to reclaim their right to the city. Through case studies of Beirut (1975-present), Baghdad (2003-present), Cairo (2011-present), Diyarbakir (1914-present), Aleppo (1914-present), and Jerusalem (1914-present), this course traces how urban life adjusted to destruction (and post-conflict reconstruction), violence, and anarchy; how neighborhoods were reshaped; and how local ethnic, religious, and political dynamics played out in these cities and metropolises. Relying on multi-disciplinary and post-disciplinary scholarship, and employing a wealth of audiovisual material, literary works, and interviews conducted by the instructor, the course scrutinizes how conflicts have impacted urban life in the Middle East, and how civilians react to, confront, and resist militarization in urban spaces.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES3331W001 001/12638 Summer A Subterm Tu 05:30 PM–08:30 PM
Th 05:30 PM–08:30 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Khatchig Mouradian
3 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
FOURTH YEAR MODERN ARABIC II
MDES4213W001 4 points.

Prerequisites: MDES W4212. Through reading articles and essays by Arab thinkers and intellectuals of the Twentieth century, starting from the period called Nahda (Renaissance), such as Taha Hussein, Qasim Amin, Abdallah Laroui, Abed Al-Jabiri, Tahar Haddad, Fatima Mernissi and others, students will be able to increase their fluency and accuracy in Arabic while working on reading text and being exposed to the main
themes in Arab thought. The course works with all four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing). Arabic is the language of instruction. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES4213W001 001/12943 Summer A Subterm Tu 08:55 AM–11:00 AM
Th 08:55 AM–11:00 AM
Mo 08:55 AM–11:00 AM
We 08:55 AM–11:00 AM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Taoufik Ben-Amor
4 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
ADVANCED ARABIC GRAMMAR REVIEW
MDES4216W001 3 points.

Through reading and writing, students will review Arabic Grammar concepts within the context of linguistic functions such as narration, description, comparison, etc. For example, within the function of narration, students will focus on verb tenses, word order, and adverbials. Based on error analysis in the past twelve years that the Arabic Program has been using Al-Kitaab, emphasis will be placed on common and frequent grammatical errors. Within these linguistic functions and based on error analysis, the course will review the following main concepts: Types of sentence and sentence/clause structure. The Verb system, pattern meanings and verb complementation. Quadriliteral verb patterns and derivations. Weak Verbs derivations, conjugation, tense frames and negation. Case endings. Types of noun and participle: Noun of time, place, instance, stance, instrument, active and passive participles. Types of construct phrase: al-iDafa. Types of Adverbials and verb complements: Hal, Tamyiz, Maf’ul mutlaq, Maf’ul li’ajlihi, adverbs of time, frequency, place and manner. The number system and countable nouns. Types of maa.Diptotes, al-mamnu’ min-aSSarf. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES4216W001 001/12639 Summer A Subterm We 11:10 AM–01:00 PM
Mo 11:10 AM–01:00 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Taoufik Ben-Amor
3 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
SPOKEN ARABIC II
MDES4219W001 4 points.

Prerequisites: MDES UN2202 This is an introductory course to Levantine Arabic for students who have completed two years of Standard Arabic studies, at the Intermediate level. The course is designed to further develop fluency in oral communication, through building students’ familiarity with a less formal register of Arabic, namely the Levantine dialect. The course will convert and recycle some of the previous Standard Arabic knowledge to the dialect, by comparing their prior knowledge to its dialectal counterpart; while at the same time developing students’ new communicative skills in a diverse range of contexts that are essential in any conversational interaction. The course will build students abilities to interact effectively in various areas where Levantine Arabic is spoken. In addition to varied thematic topics, the course exposes students to cultural aspects specific to the region. Additionally, the course will work on both constructing students’ knowledge of dialectal diction as well as other grammatical features of the dialects. Even though the course is designed for communication in the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking), the emphasis will be mostly on speaking and listening. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES4219W001 001/12944 Summer A Subterm Th 02:10 PM–04:15 PM
Tu 02:10 PM–04:15 PM
Mo 02:10 PM–04:15 PM
We 02:10 PM–04:15 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
May Ahmar
4 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
Literature of the Great War in the Middle East
MDES4399W001 3 points.

Some of the best-known literary texts of the previous century harken back to the Great War. And while works of fiction and non-fiction such as Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, and Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway have become twentieth-century classics; and the poetry of Brooke, Graves, Gurney, Owen, and Sassoon widely celebrated; the Middle East’s contribution to the literature of the Great War is little explored. This course takes us on a literary journey from the trenches of Gallipoli and Mesopotamia, to famine-struck towns of Mount Lebanon, to orphanages in Syria. We will examine poetry (including zajal—colloquial poetry), and memoirs and diaries by the women and men who withstood the ravages of war and helped shape the modern Middle East. Through close reading and content analysis of a diverse constellation of published and unpublished texts, and using secondary sources as guideposts, we will explore “post-Ottoman memoirs” and verse, including translations from the Arabic and Armenian by the instructor.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
MDES4399W001 001/12945 Summer A Subterm Mo 05:30 PM–08:30 PM
We 05:30 PM–08:30 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Khatchig Mouradian
3 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only