Arabic Program Courses

Hassan II Mosque

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Course Descriptions

The list below includes descriptions of all undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Arabic Program.

Review specific course requirements for the Arabic Program. For up-to-date information on course offerings, schedules, room locations and registration, please visit the Student Information System (SIS).

Arabic Language Courses

ARB 1 Elementary Modern Standard Arabic. Introduction to Modern Standard Arabic. Pronunciation, script, basic grammar, and reading skills. No previous knowledge of Arabic language or script required.

ARB 2 Elementary Modern Standard Arabic. Continuation of Elementary Modern Standard Arabic I. Communicative approach through development of four language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Prerequisites: Arabic 1 or equivalent.

ARB 1/2 Intensive Elementary Arabic. Introduction to Modern Standard Arabic.  The elementary course sequence (ARB 1 and 2) offered in one semester on an intensive level. Students may not earn credit for ARB 01/2 if ARB 1or ARB 2 has already been taken.

ARB 3 Intermediate Standard Arabic. A continuation of Elementary Modern Standard Arabic. Arabic grammar, reading and discussion of selected texts. Prerequisites: Arabic 1, 2.

ARB 4 Intermediate Standard Arabic II. A continuation of Elementary Modern Standard Arabic. Arabic grammar, reading and discussion of selected texts. Prerequisites: Arabic 1, 2.

ARB 3/4 Intensive Intermediate Arabic. A continuation of Elementary Modern Standard Arabic.  The intermediate course sequence (ARB 3 and 4) offered in one semester on an intensive level. Requires the completion of ARB 1 and 2 or permission of instructor. Students may not earn credit for ARB 03/4 if ARB 3 or ARB 4 has already been taken.

ARB 5 Colloquial Arabic: Levantine. Comprehensive introduction to the colloquial Arabic dialect of Levant (Syria/Palestine and Lebanon). Vocabulary, listening comprehension skills, cultural and social communication. Prerequisite: ARB 2. May be taken concurrently with ARB 3.

ARB 6 Colloquial Arabic: Egyptian. Comprehensive introduction to the colloquial Arabic dialect of Egypt, specifically the Cairo dialect. Vocabulary, listening comprehension skills, cultural and social communication. Prerequisite: ARB 2. May be taken concurrently with ARB 4

ARB 7 Advanced Colloquial Arabic: Levantine. Advanced studies of the colloquial Arabic dialect of Levant (Syria/Palestine and Lebanon). Vocabulary, listening comprehension skills, cultural and social communication. Prerequisite: ARB 4 or ARB 5 or equivalent.

ARB 21 Arabic Reading, Composition & Conversation. Emphasis on active control of grammar and vocabulary. Intensive practice in reading, writing, speaking, and translating. Prerequisites: Arabic 4 or equivalent.

ARB 22 Arabic Reading, Composition & Conversation. Emphasis on active control of grammar and vocabulary. Intensive practice in reading, writing, speaking, and translating. Prerequisites: Arabic 4 or equivalent.

ARB 121 Advanced Modern Standard Arabic. Intensive practice in speaking, reading, writing and translating Modern Standard Arabic. Focus on contemporary Arab culture through Arabic media. Materials selected from newspapers, short fiction, films, TV programs and advanced textbooks. Written and oral presentations. Prerequisites: Arabic 22 or equivalent.

ARB 122 Advanced Modern Standard Arabic. Intensive practice in speaking, reading, writing and translating Modern Standard Arabic. Focus on contemporary Arab culture through Arabic media. Materials selected from newspapers, short fiction, films, TV programs and advanced textbooks. Written and oral presentations. Prerequisites: Arabic 121 or equivalent.

ARB 123, ARB 124 Advanced Readings in Arabic Culture. For students with a good command of Arabic. Fiction, poetry, film, newspaper articles, and journalistic essays. Course work includes careful preparation of texts, intensive review of grammar, oral and written reports. Prerequisite: ARB 122.

Courses Taught in English

ARB 51 Arabic Music Ensemble. Performance of both classical and folk Arabic music. The Maqam micro-tonal scale system as applied to both Western and Arabic instruments. Improvisation, form, style, rhythmic cycles, as well as Arabic vocal diction. Some Arabic Ouds (lutes) to be made available. Cross-listed as MUS 79.

ARB 55 Cultural History of the Modern Middle East. This lecture-based introductory survey course introduces students to the major trends and developments in cultural activities (music, cinema, literature and the fine arts) across the Arab world, Turkey, Iran and Israel from the nineteenth century to the present day. Following each of these fields of artistic expression, this course presents a broad overview of how artists, writers, musicians and others both influenced and reflected political and social changes in their societies. Students will not only learn about the major cultural figures of these societies, but also will come to understand the history of the region in a rich and multifaceted way. Themes examined will include: innovation and reform, political resistance, revolutionary ideologies, the rural-urban divide, transformations of gender roles, the rise of youth cultures, new religious movements, and reactions to consumerism and globalization. Cross-listed as ILVS 55. 

ARB 57 Arab and Middle Eastern Cinemas. This course presents an overview of the social role of cinema the Arab world and the broader Middle East (Iran, Turkey, Israel, etc), by presenting a historical perspective on the development and expansion of cinema in these parts of the world, as well as by presenting several thematic windows through which the relationship of cinema to these societies is examined. Cross-listed as ILVS 87. (May be taken at 100-level.)

ARB 62 Modern Arabic Literature. The Modern Arabic Literature course offers an introductory survey of major Arabic literary works of the modern period: the short story, the novel and poetry (with a look at other experimental forms). The literature selected represents many of the major figures of Arabic writing, from across the Arab world, spanning from the nineteenth century through the present day. A variety of cultural and social themes will be highlighted, including the way by which colonialism, nationalism, gender, sexuality, and political resistance have been reflected in Arabic literature. Readings will be supplemented with secondary texts and lectures, so as to offer thematic frameworks through which the literary readings will be discussed. In English.

ARB 63 Arabian Nights.  A survey of the composition, structure, history, and importance of the Arabian Nights, the famous tales narrated by Shahrazad during 1001 nights, with selected reading of the most important tales. The dissemination of the tales and their transmission to other regions of the world including their impact on other cultures as reflected in writing, art, and film. Cross-listed as ILVS 63.

ARB 66 Border Crossings in Literature & Film. Explores themes of border crossing, exile, deterritorialization, smuggling, trespass, perilous boat journeys, the contact zone of the refugee camp. Focus on literary and filmic works that redefine the meanings of home, visibility and identity, as well as on narratives that revise the concept of the border through the lenses of gender (women’s and trans literature), discourses of dis/ability, stories of crossing the human/animal divide, as well as violating the border between human and machine. Cross-listed as ILVS 66.

ARB 68 Arab/Jewish Literature & Film. Literature and cinema by or about Mizrahi Jews, communities from Arab or Muslim lands produced both in Israel and in the Arab countries. Themes of exile, trauma, memory, haunting, estrangement, return, and hope. Cinema as a means of forging connections and retracing bonds between Mizrahim and non-Jewish Arabs, including links between Mizrahi and Palestinian histories, memories, and cinemas. Cross-listed as JS 68 and ILVS 68.

ARB 130 Monsters in Literature and Film. Monsters embody collective cultural anxieties and fears, mark and overstep the boundaries of social normativity, and offer narrative and metaphorical avenues of literary and filmic revolt. Mermaids, Frankenstein’s monsters, and Jinn as monsters that probe rapidly-shifting artistic, political, and social realities. The meaning of monstrosity engages the themes of modernity; war; dictatorship; revolution; decolonization; Islamic and secular feminisms; and questions of gender. The current resurgence of monsters in contemporary cultural production raises questions of queer body politics; literature of disability; and the meaning of citizenship in an age of global migration. Literature and film as parts of a transnational network, without sacrificing cultural specificity. Cross-listed ILVS 130.

ARB 131 The Fantastic in Arabic Literature and Film. Short stories, novels, and films that feature marvels, spells, magical occurrences, moments of bodily flight, body-soul exchanges, enchanted creatures, and fantastical transformations that disrupt the rules of scientific reality. Connections from the supernatural to political discourses such as the literary expression of marginalized identities, the reimagination of postcolonial ideologies, the construction of indigenous ecologies, and the emergence of post-nationalisms in their local contexts. Cross-listed as ILVS 131.

ARB 155 Visualizing Colonialism. An overview of the intersection between visual culture and the conditions of colonialism and postcoloniality. Readings and viewings on representations of the non-Western world in colonial-era painting and photography, leading to an examination of the history of colonial cinema, and to later postcolonial visualizations of the colonial period. The development of cinemas of anti colonial resistance, and persisting effects of colonialism and empire in contemporary global visual cultures, including contemporary arts and new media. Materials drawn from a variety of regional contexts, with special emphasis on the Arab world. Secondary readings drawn from anti-colonial theorists and postcolonial studies. In English. Cross-listed as CST 0010, ILVS 101 and FMS 175

ARB 157 War and Cultural Memory in Literature and Cinema of the Middle East. Formation of cultural memory and/or memorialization of socially traumatic experiences such as war, viewed through literature and cinema. May include focus on: the Algerian war of independence, the Lebanese civil war, the Iran-Iraq war, the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, among others. Primary texts from these conflicts along with secondary texts on theories of social trauma and cultural memory. In English. Cross-listed as FMS 178 and ILVS 157.

Special Topics and Directed Studies

ARB 91, ARB 92 Special Topics. Selected topics in Arabic literature and culture. Conducted in English.

ARB 93, ARB 94 Directed Study. Guided independent study of an approved topic.Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

ARB 191, ARB 192 Special Topics. Advanced special topics taught in Arabic. 

ARB 193, ARB 194 Advanced Directed Study. Guided independent study in Arabic literature and culture with readings in Arabic. 

ARB 196 Arabic Teaching Internship. Arabic Teaching Internship.  

ARB 198, ARB 199 Arabic Honors Thesis. See Thesis Honors Program for details.