2022-2023 Undergraduate Bulletin

Middle East Studies Minor

Description. The interdisciplinary Middle East Studies minor allows students to explore the history, politics, religions, and cultures of the Middle East, broadly conceived. As the birthplace of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and the center of political and economic dynamics that have profoundly shaped the contemporary world, the Middle East is vital to understanding the global past and present. In this minor, students will examine themes that are central to understanding the region and its peoples, including gender, religion, kinship, ethnicity, and landscape, as well as key topics such as colonialism, nationalism, diaspora, and the nation state. Students will develop critical perspectives on the dominant narratives of the region, and will also have the opportunity to acquire language skills that will enable them to explore its rich literary heritage.

Learning Outcomes. Students will:

  • Identify and explain the significance of major events, trends, and themes in Middle East history, politics, and societies.
  • Identify, locate, contextualize, and evaluate the usefulness of different forms of evidence (primary sources).
  • Effectively read scholarship (secondary sources) by accurately identifying the thesis, source base, organizational structure, and conclusions of academic texts.
  • Construct an argument grounded in evidence from primary and secondary sources and be able to provide a coherent written defense of this argument.

This minor is a direct response to our students' deep interest in the Middle East, and it was developed through extensive consultation with the Muslim Students Association, Students for Justice in Palestine, and Hillel. In addition to building on students' curricular interests, it also directly serves John Jay’s mission of educating for justice by providing a nuanced and rigorous understanding of the region, its peoples, and its diasporas that is rooted in critical area studies. 

Credits required. 18

Minor coordinator / advisor. Professor James De Lorenzi, Department of History (Room 8.65.07 NB, 646-557-4653, jdelorenzi@jjay.cuny.edu).

Requirements. To earn a minor in Middle East Studies, student complete two required courses and choose four electives for a total of 18 credits. Students may apply a maximum of 9 transfer credits to the minor. A maximum of two courses can overlap with a student’s major, minors or programs.

Additional information. Students may petition the Minor Coordinator to have LIT 287 Selected Topics in Literature, LIT 346 Cultures in Conflict, SOC 206 Sociology of Conflict and Dispute Resolution, HIS 127 Microhistories, HIS 282 Selected Topics in History, HJS 310 Comparative Perspectives on Justice, HIS 352 History and Justice in Wider World, or any other course including experiential learning courses count toward the minor if the Middle East is a major focus of the course as taught that semester. 

No more than two language courses can count towards the elective requirement in the minor.  Students may count courses in any Middle East language, broadly defined (i.e., Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Syriac, Turkish, etc.), that they have taken at another institution and which is accepted by the College as transfer credit. See the Minor Coordinator for approval of these substitutions. Credits earned through foreign language exams or study abroad programs related to the Middle East will also count towards the minor.

Part One. Required Courses

HIS 228Critical Perspectives on the Middle East


POL 331Government and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa



Total Credit Hours: 6

Part Two. Electives

Select four

ARA 101Elementary Modern Standard Arabic I


ARA 102Elementary Modern Standard Arabic II


ARA 201Intemediate Arabic I


HIS 256History of Muslim Societies and Communities


HIS 281Imperialism in Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East


HIS 356/GEN 356Sexuality, Gender, and Culture in Muslim Societies


HIS 359History of Islamic Law


HIS 366Religions of the Ancient World


HIS 368Law and Society in the Ancient Near East


HIS 370Ancient Egypt


Total Credit Hours: 12

Total Credit Hours: 18