Middle East and South Asia Studies Program (MESA)

  • Academic Division: The College
  • Course Offerings: Courses

The Middle East and South Asia (MESA) minor program is an interdisciplinary program of study focused on the Middle East (including Arabic-speaking North Africa) and South Asia (including Tibet, and mainland and insular Southeast Asia as far east as Vietnam and Indonesia). These regions, though wide in extent and culturally diverse, contain multiple cradles of civilization, and have been linked since antiquity by cultural, religious, and economic networks, both on land (the Silk Road) and sea (the Indian Ocean). Our broad course offering allows students to delve into the complex and subtle ways these areas have been and continue to be responsive to one another and to the rest of the world through art, religion, trade, economy, politics, and media. Within these vectors of investigation are other nested concerns related to gender, human rights, terrorism, civil war, cultural heritage and identity, among others.

Through dynamic interdisciplinary courses MESA students will:

  • Gain broad-based, historically grounded knowledge about the societies and cultures of the Middle East and South Asia, including their linkages and area-wide patterns
  • Formulate empirical questions on social, religious, political, or cultural processes or products;
  • Analyze and interpret specific historical data or cultural artifacts, using appropriate terminology and methods for MESA area studies;
  • Evaluate logically and/or empirically the arguments of other scholars based on logic and uses of evidence;
  • Write and revise analytical or interpretive studies of specific cultural artifacts and texts.

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