Cultural knowledge, along with the ability to use a foreign language, are essential components of a liberal arts education. In addition to language courses, the faculty of this department offers a wide variety of literature and culture courses both in English and in foreign languages. Students who already know the languages are able to take advanced courses to enrich their understanding of the humanities in these traditions; sequences of such courses can become important components of interdisciplinary concentrations, minors, or double-majors that complement a student’s primary field of study. “In-translation” courses give students an understanding of various modern Middle Eastern, North African and Mediterranean cultures.
These courses can serve as valuable supplements to work in other departments and fields where knowledge of Middle Eastern languages can be an important component; these include anthropology, art, economics, linguistics, political science, urban studies, and women’s studies. The department stresses the importance of critical thinking, research, and writing skills for all undergraduates; we work with students to develop interdisciplinary concentrations, minors, or double-majors linked to a diverse range of interests, fields of study, and professional orientations. In addition, we work closely with other departments and programs to sponsor visiting international writers and scholars in order to explore and emphasize a broad issues.