Undergraduate Courses


ARAB 101/102 Readings in Arabic Heritage I and II A freshman level survey that traces the intellectual, literary, and cultural development of the Arabs from pre-Islamic times up to the age of Ibn Khaldun. Annually.

ARAB 200 Special Arabic 
A course designed for native speakers of Arabic who have limited pre-college formal study of the Arabic language in Lebanon or abroad. Open to students who are exempted from Arabic. Each semester.

ARAB 201 Issues in Contemporary Arab Culture 
This course aims to explore a number of themes related to contemporary Arab culture(s) and further develop students’ communication skills and academic writing in Arabic.Themes which will be examined include: Arab culture(s) and change in a globalized world, tradition and modernity, the self and the other, dynamics of religion and society, women and gender in a changing world, Arab youth and artistic expression. Every semester.

ARAB 202 Arabic Technical Writing 
The course provides guidance in the production of non-literary texts in modern written Arabic, with attention to structure, stylistics, and diction of letters, memos, emails, resumes, reports, proposals, descriptions, instructions, and various types of documentation. Emphasis is on the analysis and production of appropriate rhetorical styles in the various genres of technical communication used in the workplace. Each semester. 

ARAB 203/204 Beginners’ Arabic as a Foreign Language I and II 
A thorough course in basic literary Arabic with emphasis on the vocabulary of modern literature, the press, and current affairs. This course teaches grammar and structure to enable students to read, understand, and translate, from and into Arabic, within a tightly controlled syntactical milieu. Annually. 

ARAB 205/206 Intermediate Arabic as a Foreign Language III and IV  
A continuation of the carefully graded approach begun in ARAB 203 and ARAB 204, and culminating with the exposition of the derivation system. This course empowers students to use lexica, and to read, understand, and translate, unhampered by any loopholes in their knowledge of basic Arabic syntax and morphology. Prerequisites: ARAB 203 and ARAB 204, or equivalent. Annually. 

ARAB 207/208 Advanced Arabic as a Foreign Language I and II 
The main goal for this level is to reach a superior level of proficiency. Reading texts that contain opinions, hypotheses, and intellectual discussions, in addition to selections from classical Arabic literature. Grammar consists largely of details, such as the full conjugation of irregular verb classes and fine points of complex sentence structure. Instruction is totally in Arabic. Prerequisites: ARAB 205 and ARAB 206, or equivalent. Annually. 

ARAB 209 Advanced Arabic as a Foreign Language III  
The main goal for this level is to move from a superior level of proficiency towards fluency. The student who completes these two courses will be able to register for ARAB 201A or 201B. This level consists of a mixture of readings from a variety of literary and non-literary genres, writing long commentaries on select passages, discussions, presentations and questions on particular grammatical points specifically related to comprehension and composition skills. Instruction is totally in Arabic. Consent of instructor required. Prerequisites: ARAB 207/208 or placement based on a placement examination. Each semester. 

ARAB 210A Writing Prose 
A course designed for students who wish to identify and pursue their own creative interests in writing fiction and creative non-fiction. Through discussions, assigned readings, writing exercises and critiques of student writing in a workshop mode, students will examine critically the elements of literary creation. Each semester.

ARAB 210B Writing Poetry 
A course designed for students who wish to identify and pursue their own creative interests in writing poetry. Through discussions, assigned readings, writing exercises and critiques of student writing in a workshop mode, students will examine critically the elements of poetic genres. Annually.

ARAB 211/212 Survey of Arabic Grammar 
A year-long course on Arabic morphology and grammar. It is comprised of readings from a classical grammatical text and training in sentence structure through i’rab. Alternate years. 

ARAB 213/214 Introductory Biblical Hebrew 
A class that teaches Biblical Hebrew allowing students who have no background in the subject to read the Bible and discover one of the founding books of our society and a major source of inspiration to many authors throughout history. ARAB 213 or permission of instructor is prerequisite for ARAB 214.Annually​

ARAB 215 Introductory Syriac 
The course provides students with working knowledge of Syriac language and grammar. With the help of a lexicon, students will be expected to read and translate simple Syriac texts. Annually.

ARAB 216 Intermediate Syriac 
This course complements ARAB 215/MEST 330 ‘Introduction to Syriac Language’, focusing on the reading, translation, and analysis of Syriac texts from various authors, genres, and time periods. In addition, the course provides a review of Syriac grammar. It is intended for those students who had taken the introductory course ARAB 215/MEST 330 or who already have a basic knowledge of Syriac and wish to continue studying the Syriac language for a second semester. Prerequisite: ARAB 215 or permission of instructor. Annually.

ARAB 217 Introduction to Syriac Literature 
The aim of this introductory course is to provide the student with an overview of Syriac literature
from its origins to the present day. Alternate years. Students who receive credits for ARAB 217
cannot receive credit for MEST331.

ARAB 219 Turkish 
A beginner to mid-level course in modern Turkish with initial emphasis on spoken Turkish and a gradual introduction to reading.​

ARAB 220 Introductory Persian
An elementary-level course designed to help students start learning Persian by introducing the Persian alphabet and building communicative skills. The emphasis is on speaking and using the language for communication but all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) as well as pronunciation and vocabulary will be emphasized. Every semester.

ARAB 221 Introductory Persian II 
An elementary-level course that helps students continue to expand upon what they have learned in Introductory Persian I. Like its prerequisite, this course also focuses on using the language for communication while teaching all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). Annually.

ARAB 222 Introduction to Semitic Studies 
This class places the Semitic languages of the Levant (Arabic, Hebrew, Phoenician, and Syriac)
in their historical perspective by introducing the discipline of Semitic studies, especially in
its comparative orientation. Especial emphasis is placed on Arabic dialectology, an oftenoverlooked aspect to Semitic studies. Every semester.

ARAB 223 Arabic for the Media 
This writing-intensive course seeks to familiarize students with Arabic journalism writing styles
over a comprehensive range of story styles and regional news outlet house styles. Special
attention is paid to the specialized vocabulary of news reporting. Every semester.

ARAB 224 Arabic Stylistics and Metrics 
A detailed study of stylistics balagha and metrics ‘arud. This course surveys the contribution of
the Arabs to stylistic studies and introduces their theory of versification. Annually.

ARAB 225/226 Translation 
A year-long course divided into a brief introduction and an extended segment in applied
translation. In the introduction, theoretical problems and issues of translation are discussed;
then the course is transformed into an extended workshop where students will be preoccupied
with their own translation exercises from and into both Arabic and English. Annually.

ARAB 227/228 Arabic Linguistics 
These two courses deal with various topics of Arabic linguistic sciences, mainly phonetics, semantics, and lexicology. Annually.

ARAB 229 Background to the Study of Classical Arabic Literature 
A course dealing with the impact of Greek culture on classical Arabic literature and thought, and
the rise and development of Arab intellectualism. Alternate years.

ARAB 230 Themes and Genres of Arabic Literature 
A broad overview of Arabic literature throughout the ages. This course primarily emphasizes the literary production embodied in the works that give Arabic literature its unique character in different periods, while concentrating on the major themes and genres around which this literature revolves. Alternate years.

ARAB 231 Arabic Poetry: The Heroic Age 
A course highlighting characteristic elements of Arabian life in its heroic age prior to Islam, while
considering its individual, tribal, and mythical codes. Main problems, sources, and strains of
the poetry of this age are surveyed. The substantial component of the course is comprised of
critical analysis of representative poems. Alternate years.

ARAB 232 Arabic Poetry: The Age of Conquest, Love, and Nostalgia 
A survey of new genres of poetry that blossomed when desert Arabs were deployed outside their
peninsula following the conquests. This is examined through a compact probe of the economic,
social, and political factors that affected Arabian life, from the advent of Islam to the end of the Arabian (Umayyad) era. The substantial component of the course is comprised of critical
analysis of representative poems. Alternate years.

ARAB 233/234 Abbasid Poetry 
A survey of Arabic poetry during the Abbasid period while considering the historical, political,
and social background. The first part of the course deals with the major poets of the early
Abbasid era, which ends during the reign of al-Mu’tasim; while the second part surveys the
poetry of the latter Abassid age up to the fall of Baghdad. Alternate years.

ARAB 235 Andalusian Literature 
An introduction to Arabic literature in Islamic Spain. Students read and analyze Andalusian
poetry and prose, with special emphasis on the new literary forms that appeared in al-Andalus.
Alternate years.

ARAB 236 Qur’anic Studies 
An introduction to major Qur’anic issues, such as the collection of the Qur’an, Qur’anic imagery,
and the various trends in Qur’anic exegesis. Alternate years.

ARAB 237/238 Modern Arabic Poetry 
A year-long course studying the factors that shaped modern Arabic poetry, tracing the phases of
its development, and analyzing in detail its various characteristics. Alternate years.

ARAB 239 Modern Arabic Novel 
A course on the development of the Arabic novel, along with a survey focusing on the main
factors that led to the rise of the novel. Students will thoroughly analyze a number of works by
prominent Arab novelists. Alternate years.

ARAB 240 Modern Arabic Drama 
A survey of the rise and development of the dramatic literary genre in modern Arabic, with
a focus on the main factors that led to the rise of drama. Students will thoroughly analyze a
number of selected works by prominent Arab playwrights. Alternate years.

ARAB 241 Literary Theory and Criticism 
A course on the development of Arab literary theory and criticism from the classical period to
the present. This course is structured according to the main themes that concerned Arab critics
throughout the ages, as well as the major critical trends and their prominent representatives.
Alternate years.

ARAB 243 Classical Arabic Prose 
A course in which students read and analyze extracts from the works of major prose writers
representing the main trends in classical Arabic prose, beginning with pre-Islamic times up to
the age of al-Ma’arri. Alternate years.

ARAB 244 Muslim Schools of Theology 
A survey of the main doctrines, terms, and modes of expression that are peculiar to the major
Muslim sects (firaq) in the medieval age, and the impact they had on literature. Mu’tazila,
Ash’ariyya, and Imamiyya, constitute the focal point of the course, which includes readings in
selected representative texts. Alternate years.

ARAB 245/246 Background to the Study of Modern Arabic Literature 
A two-semester course dealing with the Arab cultural renaissance of 1800–1940. Special
emphasis is placed on the impact of the West on the making of the modern Arab literary culture.
Annually.

ARAB 247 Arabic Classical Folk Literature 
A course covering the following topics: folktales, the novella in The Arabian Nights, and the
hero sagas such as Sirat Bani Hilal. This course aims at studying the textual history of this
special genre, its language, motives, and structures. Students are also exposed to various
methodological approaches to folk literature. Alternate years.

ARAB 248 Christian-Muslim Encounters 
A collaborative investigation of select topics in Arab and Middle Eastern History viewed
from multiple perspectives. Periodic progress reports and the incorporation of findings in an
interpretive term paper are required. Senior status and permission of instructor are required.
Students who receive credit for ARAB 248 cannot receive credit for ISLM 341.

ARAB 249 Sufi Literature 
A course aiming to acquaint the student with Sufi literature as one of the major aspects in Arabic
literature. Alternate years.

ARAB 251/252 Special Topics in Arabic Language and Literature 
A course that varies in content and focuses on selected topics in language and literature. May
be repeated for credit. Occasionally.

ARAB 253 Contemporary Literature in Times of Change 
A course on 21st century prose and poetry. As it retraces the manifestation of canonical tropes in contemporary literature, the course focuses on the topics, writers, and genres that emerge in times of change and upheavals. Annually.

ARAB 254 The City in Arabic Literature 
A course on how modern and/or classical writers imagined cities in poetry and prose. Special attention will be given to the concepts of loss, exile, and collective memory in the representation of urban spaces in prose and poetry. Annually.

ARAB 256 JudeoArabic and the Arabic Writings of Maimonides (Ibn Maymum) 
An introduction to Judeo-Arabic (Middle Arabic) focusing on Ibn Maymun and his writings. The
class emphasizes the influence of Arabic on medieval Hebrew. Through the reading of his texts,
students will discover the Andalusian physician and philosopher from his childhood in Cordova
to his position as the personal doctor of Salaheddine and the head of the Jewish community in
Cairo. Prerequisites None. Annually.

ARAB 257 The Maqamat 
The course is devoted to the two major representatives of the maqamat genre, its inventor alHamadhani (d. 1008) and his more famous emulator al-Hariri (d. 1122). The course will include
both close reading of selected passages and discussion of the entire texts of the maqamat.
The readings are supplemented by additional texts from other genres in Arabic literature which
shared sources, literary features, or common discourse with the maqamat, such as faraj ba’d
al-shidda stories, anecdotes, popular tales, letters, treatises, and ornate prose. Annually.

ARAB 258 Arabic Language & Identity 
A course that examines the interplay between language and identity in the contemporary Arb world. The course explores the definitions of “identity” and the various factors that shape it within individuals and communities. Special focus is placed on analyzing language and identity debates in Lebanon, the Maghreb, Iraq, and the Gulf region and framing them within their relevant historical, ethnic, and socio-economic contexts. Annually.

ARAB 290 Undergraduate Seminar on al-Mutanabbi 
A seminar on the times, life, and poetry of this major Arab poet. It combines the historical
and the literary analytical-critical methodologies. Its substantial component comprises close
textual analysis of poetry from the different phases of the poet’s intertwined private and public
life. Alternate years.