Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Civilization

Analyze ancient pasts and vibrant futures from multiple perspectives.

Engage in the interdisciplinary study of the Middle East and the broader Islamic world.

What does the Qur'an look like from different chronological, geographical, and gendered perspectives? What is the place of art and visual culture in the creation and sustenance of ancient Egypt?

Our concentration provides students with a basic familiarity of the culture, politics, religion, philosophy, literature, economy, and geography of both the Middle East and the wider Islamic world.

Why study the Middle East and Islamic Civilization at Macalester?

Because our students and faculty approach this study from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, our program permits students to complete this concentration in conjunction with a wide array of majors. The program promotes breadth by requiring students to complete courses (in several departments) dealing with both the Middle East and the wider Islamic world, and it promotes depth by requiring a capstone project focused on a relevant topic.

Through meaningful classroom experiences led by expert teachers from many disciplines, students:

  • Discover an appreciation for the region’s social, political, and cultural diversity and complexity;
  • Gain an understanding of some of the major theoretical and/or methodological approaches to this study;
  • Develop a sympathetic understanding of worldviews and perspectives different from their own;
  • Learn how to engage thoughtfully and constructively in potentially difficult dialogues affecting the region and civilization.

Students may also have the opportunity to both study abroad and facilitate knowledge of a spoken native language by people of the Middle East or Islamic world.

Life after Macalester

Join our community

  • Arabic House. Students who wish to extend their Arabic language learning can apply to live in the Arabic House, located just steps away from campus.
  • Omrit. Macalester frequently offers opportunities to practice archaeological excavation, reconstruction, and conservation in Israel, including at an ancient temple at Omrit, and elsewhere.