The Middle East concentration prepares students to use historical methodology to understand the socio-economic, political, cultural, religious, and intellectual forces that have shaped the region. Our history faculty members are committed to collaboration with departments and programs across the university, and we encourage interdisciplinary study that can include anthropology, literature, classics, art history, music, international and area studies, gender and sexuality studies, and religious studies.
Strong institutional and faculty relationships between the History Department and the Department for Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (JINELC) provide students with rich opportunities for in-depth, cross-disciplinary study of Muslim societies and traditions and Middle Eastern languages and literatures. We have the capacity to advise students in medieval/early Islamic history (600-1200) and modern Middle Eastern history (1800-present), with a focus on the Arab lands.
Our faculty have specific expertise in the following areas: the history of premodern intellectual history, historiography, political thought and practice, the caliphate, social and cultural history of the modern Middle East, urban history, political economy, Islam in world history, nationalism and decolonization, and environmental history. Supporting fields are offered in the histories of Africa, Europe, empire and colonialism, knowledge production, gender and women’s history, religious history, Jews in Islamic lands and Muslim Spain, and comparative study of Jewish and Islamic civilizations.