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Information on this website is posted for historical reference only. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for current requirements.

Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Chair: Steven J. Ericson

Professors S. Allan (AMEL), P. K. Crossley (History), D. F. Eickelman (Anthropology), K. M. Endicott (Anthropology), G. R. Garthwaite (History), L. H. Glinert (AMEL), M. J. Green (French), L. A. Higgins (French), M. Parsa (Sociology); Associate Professors E. Z. Benor (Religion), S. Blader (AMEL), A. Cohen (Art History), K. Dong (Music), J. Dorsey (AMEL), S. J. Ericson (History), D. E. Haynes (History), A. F. Hockley (Art History), D. C. Kang (Government), T. C. Levin (Music), H. Mowry (AMEL), A. K. Reinhart (Religion), D. J. Vandewalle (Government), D. Washburn (AMEL); Assistant Professors S.-Y. Kim (AMES and Theater), E. Lyon (Music), R. Ohnuma (Religion), G. Raz (Religion), J. K. Ruoff (Film and Television Studies), C. S. Sneddon (Geography); Instructors S. Antoon (AMEL), B. P. Giri (English); Senior Lecturers J. Diamond (AMES), M. Ishida (AMEL), I. Watanabe (AMEL), R. Welsch (Anthropology), C. L. Williams (AMEL); Lecturers D. Abouali, I. B. Ben-Moshe (AMEL), B. Didier (Religion), S. E. Kangas (Art History); Visiting Professors F. Chen (AMEL), D. G. Ehrlich (Film and Television Studies); Visiting Associate Professor Y. Li (AMEL).

Note: AMEL refers to the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures.


Study leading to a degree in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) is interdisciplinary, and is normally focused on one of the following areas: East Asia, the Middle East, South/Southeast Asia, or Global Studies. Each area is overseen by a faculty committee, and students majoring in AMES work in cooperation with their committee of specialization in the development of their course plan, off-campus studies, and independent work. Majors work with advisors (selected from the above list of program participants) to design a program of study to ensure coherence of language study, disciplinary training, and off-campus experience. Students should choose advisors appropriate to their own focus of study. Careful planning should begin in consultation with the advisor by early in the spring term of the sophomore year.

The major in AMES requires a minimum of ten courses. Courses already approved for the AMES major are listed here and on the Program web site. Students are strongly encouraged to include at least two years of a language offered by the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures; language courses above the first-year level may be counted toward the AMES degree. At least six courses counted toward the major, including the culminating experience, must be non-language courses. With the concurrence of the AMES Chair, students can petition the AMES Steering Committee to have other appropriate AMES courses count toward the AMES major. Students admitted to the Honors Program will complete a thesis as the culminating requirement for the degree. For other majors, AMES 91 will be the normal culminating requirement. Students with special concerns may petition the Steering Committee to substitute other work, often AMES 86, for AMES 91.

AMES also offers a minor, consisting of six courses, that is normally focused on one of the areas listed above. The minor should include an advanced research seminar or equivalent offered by a member of the AMES Program faculty, or AMES 91; and five non-language courses in the selected area. Like major programs, minors should be carefully planned in consultation with an advisor.

AMES cannot be modified with another major. However, students can modify another major with AMES.

All AMES majors are encouraged to pursue study abroad. In most cases, this will occur in the context of an off-campus program offered either by the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures or by AMES. Students can petition the AMES Steering Committee to recognize study in other Dartmouth off-campus programs, in foreign study programs offered by other American undergraduate institutions, or in foreign universities. They need to do so at the latest on the first day of the term preceding the actual exchange program. Retroactive credit for exchange programs or courses will not be granted.


Students with a College average of 3.0 and a Program average of 3.5 will be eligible to apply to the AMES Program Steering Committee for entry into the AMES Honors Program. The application should be developed in consultation with the member of the AMES faculty who has agreed to direct the thesis. The application should include a proposal describing the thesis project in detail and relating it to the overall design of the student’s AMES course plan. The deadline for the submission of proposals will be in the fifth week of spring term of the junior year. Students whose proposals are not accepted at that time may be given the opportunity to revise in response to recommendations of the Steering Committee and to resubmit by the first Monday of October in the senior year. In unusual circumstances, the Steering Committee may consider late applications by the first Monday of October in the senior year, but students submitting at this time will not have the opportunity to revise if the Steering Committee should find their proposals unacceptable. Honors students normally complete AMES 85 and AMES 87. Completion of the thesis is a requirement for, but not a guarantee of, Honors or High Honors in the AMES major. Honors theses for the 2004-2005 academic year will be due on May 17, 2005, and be presented and defended on May 24, 2005. Students are encouraged to consult the Honors Program brochure available in 102A Bartlett Hall.


The AMES Program offers an interdisciplinary Foreign Study Program in Fez, Morocco. Classes are taught at the American Language Institute in Fez, with faculty and guest lecturers drawn from the two universities in Fez and elsewhere in Morocco, as well as the Dartmouth faculty director. The Fez program stresses opportunities to integrate homestays and visits to shrines, schools, markets and workplaces with conventional classroom learning. For an application or further information, see the Off Campus Programs Office, 110 Wentworth. The application deadline and materials are due on October 1 of the fall term preceding the actual program offering in spring.

Prerequisite: Completion of at least one of the following courses with a grade of B or higher: Anthropology 27 and 15 (with Middle Eastern Studies faculty and topics), Government 46, History 5.2, History 71, Religion 8, or Religion 16. Students also qualify if they have taken the full sequence of Arabic 1, 2, and 3.


5. Thought and Change in the Middle East and Central Asia (Identical to Anthropology 27)

Not offered in the period from 04F through 06S

The region’s wars, revolutions, and political upheavals echo a turbulent past in which religious perceptions of the world are inextricably bound up with politics. World economic and political currents shape, and are shaped by, the history, culture, and traditions of the Middle East and Central Asia. The Middle East, birthplace of three universal faiths, continues to be the setting for major developments that frame the course of human history. Newly independent Central Asian republics are restoring the cultural and economic ties that earlier linked them to the Middle East. This course introduces the region’s religions, societies, and politics. It also suggests how interpreting thought and change in the Middle East and Central Asia contribute to rethinking anthropology, related social sciences, and issues in social thought. (ETHN) Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Eickelman.

11. Introduction to Korean Studies

05W, 06W: 10

This course introduces basic knowledge of Korean culture from the late Chosun Dynasty (1392-1910) to the present day. The assigned reading and viewing materials will explore various aspects of traditional and modern Korean culture, such as literature, art, religion, education, family life, gender, mass media, political and economic organization and identity, in conjunction with socio-historical transformations. Taught in English. No prior knowledge of Korea or Korean language is required. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Kang, Kim.

12. Introduction to Chinese Culture (Identical to Chinese 10)

05S, 06S: 12

The aim of this course is to provide students with the knowledge necessary to begin to understand Chinese culture. The course will examine the development of traditional Chinese culture from the earliest Chinese dynasties, dating back more than 3500 years, to the present day. Through readings of literary texts in translation students will be introduced to the topics in language, history, literature and art, philosophy and social and political institutions. Open to students of all classes. Dist: LIT; WCult: NW. Williams.

13. Introduction to Japanese Culture (Identical to Japanese 10)

05S, 06S: 11

Japanese cultural history through a broad survey of literature, art, social and political institutions, and popular culture. Modern conceptions of Japan and formations of Japanese identity have evolved under the pressures created by radical swings between periods of wholesale appropriation of foreign cultural forms and periods of extreme isolation. The course will trace the evolution of Japanese culture by examining the ways in which cultural types are distinguished in Japan. These types include: warrior, aristocrat, nurturing woman/ demonic woman, merchant, wanderer, peasant/laborer, and outcast. Taught in English. Open to all classes. Dist: LIT; WCult: NW. Washburn.

14. The Eye of the Beholder: Introduction to the Islamic world (Identical to History 5.2)

05W: 12 05F: 10

This course provides an introduction to the history of the Middle East from the 7th century to the present; examines particular topics; and explores different interpretations in historical analysis. The course first focuses on the Prophet Muhammad and the development of the Islamic Faith, then shifts to Ataturk, the 20th century founder of the Turkish Republic; surveys Islamic culture; and ends with a comparison of the medieval and contemporary worlds, including issues of change, power, and religion. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: TMV. WCult: NW. Garthwaite.

15. Music of Southeast Asia (Identical to Music 8)

Not offered in the period from 04F through 06S

This course will focus on the music and cultural context of the gong-chime ensemble of Southeast Asia, in particular, the melodic percussion orchestra from the Indonesian islands of Java and Bali, called gamelan. Themes of the course include the history and artistic development of gamelan, current trends in composition, dance and shadow puppet theater. Class activity will focus on learning to play a set of Javanese instruments. The direct, hands- on experience of gamelan music will provide a framework and a vocabulary for understanding similar musics from other Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. Musical experience will be enhanced by scholarly readings in cultural and performance studies, as well as versions of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Dist: ART; WCult: NW. Diamond.

16. Tribes, Kingdoms, and Nation-States: An Introduction to Southeast Asia (Identical to Anthropology 26)

06W: 2

The cultures of Southeast Asia are remarkably varied, ranging from elaborate Hinduized civilizations (Bali) and modern city-states (Singapore) to “hill tribes” (e.g., the Meo of Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam) and nomadic foraging bands (e.g., the Semang of Malaysia). This course is a survey of Southeast Asian societies focusing on the question of why their cultures take the form they do. This entails an examination of the modes of environmental adaptation of the various peoples, their integration into regional and worldwide systems, and the historical influences of the great civilizations of India, China, the Middle East, and Europe. The course looks at how Southeast Asians live and at the religions that give meaning to their lives. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Endicott.

17. Introduction to Hebrew and Israeli Culture (Identical to Hebrew 10 and Jewish Studies 20)

05S, 06S: 10A

This course is interdisciplinary, exploring the interaction of Hebrew literature, film, music, religion and society. For millennia, Hebrew has had a unique spiritual hold on both the Jewish and Christian imagination. We will focus on the Bible as wisdom, law and poetry, the Talmud of the ancient Rabbis, Kabbalah and Hebrew alphabet mysticism, war and the Israeli cinema, Hebrew folk and rock culture, and a modern political mystery: How today’s Hebrew was raised from the dead.

No knowledge of Hebrew is assumed. Dist: LIT; WCult: NW. Glinert.

18. History and Culture of Indonesia

04F, 06S: 12

The history and contemporary issues of the island nation of Indonesia—home to the world’s fourth largest population—will be examined in religion, politics, literature and language, with particular attention to the independence movement and the development of a national identity. Course resources will include readings in fiction and non-fiction, workshops in performing arts, guest instructors, and multimedia materials both by and about Indonesians.WCult: NW. Diamond.

19. Writing Gender in Islamic Space (Identical to Women and Gender Studies 42)

04F: 2A

Belying Orientalist stereotypes of harems and veils, Islamic societies are engaged in a lively questioning of traditional masculine and feminine roles. We will follow this discussion in the work of writers and filmmakers in Egypt and the Maghreb, such as Nawal el Saadawi, Tahar ben Jelloun, Fatima Mernissi, Leila Ahmed, Rachid Boudjedra, Leila Abouzeid, Assia Djebar, Abdelhak Serhane, Ferid Boughedir, and Moufida Tlatli. Open to all students. Dist: LIT; WCult: NW. Green.

21. Topics in Korean Studies

06S: 10A

The aim of this course is to provide students with in-depth knowledge of North Korean society and culture from 1945 to the present day. The assigned reading and viewing materials will explore various aspects of North Korean society and culture, such as the origin of the North Korean state, leadership, collectivization of the society, propaganda, pop culture, sports, misconceptions about North Korea, and refugee and human rights problems. Taught in English. Previous knowledge of Korea highly desirable, but not required. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Kim.

33. Discovering an Islamic City

05S, 06S: D.F.S.P.

This course analyzes the historical and contemporary urban life of a traditional Islamic city as seen through the eyes of the town’s scholars, planners, educators, writers, and crafts people, as well as scholarly readings that have shaped discussions in anthropology, history, and the history of religions. Fez is the locus of classical discussions of urbanism, public space, and civic life in the Muslim world. Participating in the life of the city, students have an opportunity to experience first hand its educational, economic, religious, kinship, and political institutions. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Higgins.

54. Arabic as a Cultural System

05S, 06S: D.F.S.P.

Examines the historical and cultural factors and forces that have molded and continue to mold colloquial Moroccan Arabic. This course includes an appreciation of the nonverbal aspects—gestures and body language—of communication and identity in the Moroccan setting. It also offers a minimal functional mastery of practical communicative skills—the sound system, basic sentence patterns, and everyday vocabulary of colloquial Moroccan Arabic—as well as a knowledge of the Arabic script, a key element of Islamic civilization and identity. WCult: NW. Higgins.

85. Independent Research

All terms: Arrange

Independent research under the direction of members of the staff. Students should consult with a member of the staff in the term preceding the term in which the independent work is to be done.

86. Advanced Independent Research

All terms: Arrange

Advanced independent research under the direction of members of the staff. Proposals must be developed by the student in consultation with a faculty advisor and must be approved by the Steering Committee by the fifth week in the term preceding the term in which the independent study is to be taken. This course is a possible substitute for AMES 91.

87. Honors Thesis

All terms: Arrange

Open only to AMES majors who are participating in the Honors Program. See guidelines under “Honors Program,” page XXX.

91. Senior Seminar: Research Topics in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

05W: 12 06S: 10A

Open to AMES majors, this is the normal culminating course for majors. All participants will complete research projects related to their specialization within AMES. If space permits, non-AMES majors may enroll after obtaining permission of the instructor.

In 05W, Globalization and the Future of Asia (Identical to Government 85.15). Dist: INT or SOC; WCult: NW. Kang.

In 06S, Key Concepts of Confucian and Daoist Philosophical Thought (Identical to Chinese 83 in 06S, pending faculty approval). Dist: LIT; WCult: NW. Allan.


The AMES web site lists all departmental courses which have been approved for credit toward the AMES major. All courses taken at Dartmouth College for the AMES major appear on this site:

The following is a partial list of approved courses found in other departments that may be included in an AMES major.


12 Islam in South and Southeast Asia

15  Political Anthropology (when taught by an AMES faculty member and written work is focused upon Asian or Middle Eastern topics)

23 Ancient Near East

24 The Civilization of Ancient Egypt

26 Tribes, Kingdoms, and Nation-States: An Introduction to Southeast Asia (cross-listed with AMES 16)

27 Thought and Change in the Middle East and Central Asia (cross-listed with AMES 5)

38 Peoples of Oceania (previously 47)

Art History

3 Monuments of Asian Art

16Japanese Painting Tradition

17Sacred Art and Architecture of Japan

17The Japanese Print Tradition

17 20th Century Asian Art

20 The Art of Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Near East

60 The Arts of China

61 The Arts of Japan

80 Japanese Prints

Asian and Middle Eastern Languages

All language offerings beyond the first-year level and all literature offerings in Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew or Japanese (see Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Language and Literatures) may be applied to the AMES major.AMEL faculty may offer independent study opportunities to AMES majors under AMES 85 or 86.

College Courses

6 Hindu Epics in Text and Performance

Comparative Literature

55 Asian Literatures


58 Postcolonial Literature


41 The Pacific Rim (previously 31)

42 Water, Territory and Political Identity in the Middle East and Asia (formerly offered and crosslisted with AMES 56)

44Environment and Politics in Southeast Asia


23Politics of Asian Development

25Problems of Political Development:India, South Africa and China

40Chinese Politics: The Reform Period

43Politics in the People’s Republic of China

45Japanese Politics

46State Formation and Political Regimes in the Middle East

48Politics of the Korean Peninsula

50International Relations of East Asia

81.7 Politics of Science (I): Techno-Science, Space, and Identity Politics (formerly offered and crosslisted with AMES 57)

81.3Economic Growth and Reform in the Middle East

85.15 Globalization and the Future of Asia (cross-listed with AMES 91)

85.3International Relations of Asia

85.5American Foreign Policy Toward Asia


5.2 The Eye of the Beholder: Introduction to the Islamic World (cross-listed with AMES 14)

5.3The History of China Since 1800

5.4Modern Southeast Asia

5.5The Emergence of Modern Japan

70Topics in Middle East history, 622 to 1258

70History of the Middle East, 1258 to 1914

71Social History of the Contemporary Middle East

72Imperial China in a Global Context

73The History of China Since 1800

74Intellectual History of East Asia

75The Environmental History of South and Southeast Asia

76The History of Modern India

77Imperialism in Modern East Asia

79Postwar Japan: From Occupied Nation to Economic Superpower

96Topics in Modern Japanese History

96The Arab-Israeli Conflict

Jewish Studies

10History and Culture of the Jews : the Classical Period

15 Mystical Dimensions in Judaism and Islam (formerly offered and crosslisted with AMES 55)

15Cities of the Biblical World: An Archaeological Approach

50Archaeology of Israel


8Music of Southeast Asia (cross-listed with AMES 15)


4The Religion of Israel: The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)

8Topics in the Study of Islam

9Introduction to Hinduism

10The Religions of China

16Modern Islam

18Indian Buddhism

23Theoretical approaches to the Study of Myth: Interpreting Ancient Near Eastern Mythology (updated course, previously 55)

40Advanced Topics in Indian Religions

41Indian Buddhist Narratives

46Taoism (no longer offered)

46Daoism: Transformations of Traditions

47Buddhism in China

48Chinese Folk Religions (no longer offered)

48Body and Sex in Chinese Religions

49Advanced Topics in Chinese Religions

60Classical and Medieval Judaism

61Modern Judaism

62Jewish Mysticism

70Islamic Mysticism (Sufism)

72The Qur’an and the Prophet

80Religion, Magic and Science in Traditional China


See paragraph below.


24Engendering Asian Performance

The following courses can be applied to the AMES major upon petition to the AMES Steering Committee. This petition must be submitted before the course begins. The Committee expects written work done in these courses to be focused upon Asian or Middle Eastern topics. Students wishing to take such a course in their last term at Dartmouth must submit their petition no later than the fifth week of their penultimate term. When the course is complete, students must submit all written work to the Steering Committee for final approval of the course toward the degree. The courses are: Anthropology 57: Hunters and Gatherers; History 96: The Colonizer and the Colonized: European Imperialism in Asia and Africa; History 96: Introduction to Global History; Sociology 39: Democracy and Democratization in Developing Countries; Sociology 65 (formerly 46): Social Conflict in Comparative Perspective; and Sociology 66:The Sociology of International Development.