Course Offered: Spring 2017
This is a survey course designed to introduce students to the literatures of the region known as the Middle East, from ancient to modern times. The original languages of the texts we will read in translation are Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew and the countries covered - in their modern-day form - are Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Israel. The main literary genres we will cover are epic, scripture, romance, belles-lettres, chronicle, essay, the modern novel and short story, the ode and lyric poetry. Documentary films will also be shown during class. The course is roughly divided into two broad time frames: from antiquity to the late medieval period, and from the beginning of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st. The texts will be discussed in relation to their respective social and political contexts, and as coherent body of literature that shares a core group of themes and structures across languages and countries. Some of the main themes that we will cover include the social role of the poet/author, sacred and profane identity, and colonialism and the challenges of modernity.
This course fulfills one of the requirements for the AMESALL Major (Regional and Comparative Option) and the AMESALL Minor. This course also satisfies the SAS Core Curriculum Goals "Philosophical and Theoretical Issues" (AHo) and "Arts and Literatures" (AHp).