Middle East Studies CCCU

CCCU Off Campus Opporunity (16 credits)

Based in Cairo, Egypt, this center for Middle East Studies offers students a unique opportunity to explore and interact with the complex and strategic world of the modern Middle East. Students explore diverse religious, social, cultural and political traditions of Middle Eastern peoples through interdisciplinary seminars. Students also study the Arabic language and work as volunteers with various organizations in Cairo. Through travel in the region (typically Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Turkey), students are exposed to the diversity and dynamism of the region. At a time of tension and change in the Middle East, MESP encourages and equips students to relate to the Muslim world in an informed, constructive and Christ-centered manner. Students earn 16 semester hours of credit.

Course Descriptions

Conflict and Change in the Middle East


The purpose of this course is to help students understand the historical, political and religious transformations that have occurred in the last century. Included are discussions of economic development and the political and social implications for Middle Eastern peoples. The Arab-Israeli conflict will receive special emphasis with the goal of helping students understand the complexity of the issues surrounding the current attempts to establish a lasting peace. The course includes an extended travel component based in Jerusalem in order to gain firsthand Israeli and Palestinian perspectives and ideas regarding resolution of the conflict. In Cairo, students enjoy on site briefings from experts at the World Bank, the Arab League and the U.S. Embassy. Possible credit: political science/history.

Introduction to Arabic Language


This course, taught by Egyptian instructors affiliated with the American University in Cairo, aims to help students acquire basic skills in Egyptian Arabic, a dialect widely understood in the Arab world. The course emphasizes the practical use of the language, encouraging interaction with the locals through the use of the "Cairo Lab" assignments or during visits to service projects. Small classes four days a week offer a solid introduction to the colloquial grammar and a substantial vocabulary as students take more than 100 hours of instruction. Once completed, the course should bring students to the intermediate level of Egyptian colloquial Arabic. Possible credit: language/cross-cultural.

Islamic Thought and Practice


This course examines many dimensions of Islamic faith - historical, legal, doctrinal, popular and behavioral - from early times to the present. While emphasis is on the early period and its influence on events and people, the course also attempts to relate these early developments to contemporary issues in the Middle East, such as the impact of colonialism, gender equality, modernization, development and democracy. Students are encouraged to begin thinking about relevant similarities and differences between themselves and Muslim peoples around the world.

Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East


Using a Socio-anthropological approach, this course seeks to acquaint the students with the enormous varieties of peoples and cultures found in the Middle East. Literature, music, dance and food are integrated into the learning experience. The course examines the basic structure of historical and contemporary societies and cultures with special emphasis on those found in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey. The MESP travels to these countries during two weeks of this course, learning about the various ethnic groups firsthand. Students study such groups as Bedouins, Kurds, Jordanians, Turks, Yoruks, Syriac Syrians, Armenians and more. Historical sites include Damascus, Aleppo, Antioch, Cappadocia and Istanbul. Social organization, law, family, tribe, gender, rural-urban migration and social change are among the areas of inquiry in this course. Possible credit: sociology/anthropology.

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