Message from the Director
Dear students, colleagues and Anteater community,
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After almost a decade of planning the School of Humanities in cooperation with the schools of Social Sciences and Social Ecology, is very proud to announce the launch of a truly innovative new program, the Program in Global Middle East Studies. This program, which consists of both a major and minor, is the result of in depth consultations among dozens of professors across the UCI campus as well as a global network of colleagues specializing in the Middle East and broader Muslim world. the GMES major is the first fully interdisciplinary, cross-school major that brings together methodologies, theories, concepts and--perhaps most important--professors, from a host of disciplines at UCI. Our courses include not just Humanities and Social Sciences, but place equal emphasis on integrating the hard sciences and the arts, in order to enable students to get the most well-rounded education possible, and in so doing graduate highly prepared for the challenges of the global workplace, graduate school in any number of disciplines, or careers from the arts to government.
The Middle East and the larger Muslim world with which it is so often (and problematically) equated is one of the most misunderstood regions on earth, precisely because its borders are impossible to define. While often imagined to be centered in the Islamic heartland of the Fertile Crescent, Arabian Peninsula, and Eastern Mediterranean, the many cultures who call these areas home have been intimately and inextricably tied to other cultures, societies, trade networks and strategic alliances stretching to every part of the globe. If the "sun never set on the British Empire," it never sets on the Global Middle East either, as Africa, the Mediterranean, South and Southeast Asia, China, Europe, and the Americas are all home to substantial numbers of people hailing from the core Middle East whose historical and ongoing connections make any definition or consideration of the region in isolation from these other regions empirically inaccurate.
If you choose to major or minor in our program you will receive a wide-ranging introduction to the many cultures associated of this global network of peoples and societies, obtaining a strong foundational knowledge in the histories, political economies, cultural production, religious, strategic dynamics, climactic and environmental challenges, scientific heritages and present-day dynamics that simultaneously united and divide them. You will also leave our program with a solid command of at least one language of the region (Arabic, Persian or Hebrew, and soon Turkish and Armenian as well), a commitment to and training in critical thinking, and at least one semester abroad spent studying there. With our student-focused pedagogy that involves close advisement by core faculty of majors and minors, we believe the GMES program will provide students with a wonderful set of knowledges and experiences with which to continue your studies in professional schools--Law, Business, Medical, Public Administration--as well as graduate school in the Arts and Sciences, or for joining a highly competitive globalized workplace where the ability to move smoothly across regions and approaches to learning about, discussing, and working in them are at a premium.
Please enjoy the website, which is still being constructed and regularly adding new content, and please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have.
We hope to hear from you soon!
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Mark LeVine, PhD