Macalester students in a Cairo mosque
The Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Civilization concentration provides students with an opportunity to engage in the interdisciplinary study of the Middle East and the broader Islamic world. Students are provided with a basic familiarity of the culture, politics, religion, philosophy, literature, economy, and geography of both the Middle East and the wider Islamic world; an understanding of some of the major theoretical and/or methodological approaches to this study; an appreciation of the social, political, and cultural diversity/ complexity of the region; a sympathetic understanding of a relevant worldview or cultural perspective different from his/her own; an ability to engage thoughtfully and constructively in potentially difficult dialogues affecting the region/civilization; and if possible, facilitate knowledge of a spoken native language by people of the Middle East or Islamic world.
Given that students and faculty approach this study from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, the 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.