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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) D. Washburn (AMEL); Associate Professors E. Z. Benor (Religion), S. Blader (AMEL), 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), R. Ohnuma (Religion), A. K. Reinhart (Religion), J. K. Ruoff (Film and Television Studies), C. S. Sneddon (Geography), D. J. Vandewalle (Government); Assistant Professors D. Abouali (AMEL), S. R. Craig (Anthropology), M. K. Dimitrov (Government), J. L. Fluri (Women's and Gender Studies and Geography), B. P. Giri (English), J. J. Kim (History), E. G. Miller (History), D. A. Peterson (Linguistics), G. Raz (Religion); Instructor J. Smolin (AMEL); Senior Lecturers J. Diamond (Music), M. Ishida (AMEL), A. Li (AMEL), J. B. Rudelson (AMEL), I. Watanabe (AMEL), R. Welsch (Anthropology); Lecturers I. B. Ben-Moshe (AMEL), L. Kasbari (AMEL); Visiting Professors W.-P. Chin (English), D. G. Ehrlich (Film and Television Studies); Visiting Associate Professors Y. Li (AMEL), Y. Lu (AMEL); Visiting Instructor M. Son (AMES); Visiting Lecturer F. J. Kam (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 in their respective areas of concentration. Careful planning should begin in consultation with the advisor by early in the spring term of the sophomore year. Each program of study also requires review and approval by the AMES Chair.

The major in AMES requires a minimum of ten courses. Normally all ten courses will be in the student's area of concentration. A student who wishes to combine courses from more than one area must provide a written rationale for approval by the advisor and the AMES Chair. For each concentration, consult the Program web site for a list of already-approved courses as well as specific requirements. Students are strongly encouraged to include at least two years of a language offered by the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages; DAMELL 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 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 submit a proposal to the Steering Committee to substitute AMES 86 for AMES 91 or petition the AMES Chair to substitute an advanced seminar from another department or program.

AMES also offers a minor, consisting of six courses, that is normally focused on one of the areas listed above. The minor should include AMES 91 or a substitute as described above (another advanced research seminar or AMES 86); and five non-language courses in the selected area. Like major programs, minors should be carefully planned in consultation with an advisor.

AMES can be modified with another major; students can also modify another major with AMES. Students wishing to pursue a modified major must consult the AMES Chair.

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 tenth class day of the term preceding the actual transfer term. Retroactive credit for transfer terms 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 for thesis work in the fall and winter will be in the fifth week of spring term of the junior year, and for thesis work in the winter and spring, the first Monday of October in the senior year. 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 2006-2007 academic year will be presented and defended on May 23, 2007, and will be due on May 25, 2007. 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, 44 North College St.

Prerequisite: Completion of at least one of the following courses with a grade of B or higher: Anthropology 15 (with Middle Eastern Studies faculty and topics), Anthropology 19, Anthropology 27, 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)

07F: 10A

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.

6. Islam: An Anthropological Approach (Identical to Anthropology 19)

06F: 10A

This course challenges conventional approaches to the study of Islam. The anthropological approach values the study of sacred texts, critical historical moments, and influential activists, it focuses on Islam in practice, as it is lived by Muslims whose voices are seldom heard, who have little prominence in intellectual or political circles, and gives equal weight to the Muslim experience in the Middle East and to the majority of Muslims who live elsewhere and who have contributed to the vitality of the Islamic tradition. Ethnographic fieldwork and social history serve as our window onto the world of modern Islamic diversity and contested meanings and practices. Viewing religion “from the bottom up” thus contributes to re-thinking popular assumptions concerning what “authentic” Islam entails and who speaks for Islam. Dist: SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NW. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI. Eickelman.

8. Introduction to Islam (Identical to Religion 8)

07W: 10

A survey of important topics in the study of Islam, including the Qur'an and the Prophet, Orientalism and the Western study of Islam, the role of Islamic mysticism, Islam and the state, Islamic law, and Islamic theories of family and person.

Open to all classes. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: NW. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: TMV; WCult: NW. Reinhart.

9. Hinduism (Identical to Religion 9)

08W: 2

An introductory survey of the Hindu religious tradition of South Asia from 1500 B.C.E. down to the present day. Emphasis will be given to the historical development of elite, Sanskritic Hinduism and its constant interaction with popular and local traditions.

Open to all classes. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: NW. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: TMV; WCult: NW. Ohnuma.

10. The Religions of China (Identical to Religion 10)

07W: 12 08S: 10

An introduction to China's three major religions-Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism-through the reading of classic texts. Also, a look at important elements in Chinese folk religion-ancestor worship, temples, heavens and hells, and forms of divination. Special attention will be paid to the importance of government in Chinese religious thought and to continuity and change in the history of Chinese religion.

Open to all classes. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: NW. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: TMV; WCult: NW. Raz.

11. Introduction to Korean Studies

07S: 2 08W: 10

The course introduces the basic knowledge necessary to study Korean history and culture. All readings are in English. No prior knowledge of Korea or Korean language assumed. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Son.

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

07W, 08W: 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. Blader.

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

07S, 08S: 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. Dorsey, Washburn.

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

07W, 08W: 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. Modern Islam (Identical to Religion 16)

07X: 10

An introduction to developments in religious thought and practice since 1800, with special emphasis on topics of current controversy, including the status of women, the nature of government, and the place of Islamic law.

Open to all classes. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: NW. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: TMV; WCult: NW. Reinhart.

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

08W: 12

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 world-wide 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 16)

07S, 08S: 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

07S, 08S: 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 multi-media materials both by and about Indonesians. WCult: NW. Diamond.

19. Writing Gender in Islamic Space (Identical to Women's and Gender Studies 49)

Not offered in the period from 06F through 08S

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

07S: 2A 08W: 10A

Selected subjects at the discretion of the instructor. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Son.


26. Anthropology of Tibet and the Himalayas (Identical to Anthropology 32)

07S: 10 08S: 12

This course introduces students to the peoples and cultures of Tibet and the greater Himalayan region (Nepal, northern India, Bhutan). We examine the cultural, ecological, political, religious, and economic interfaces that define life on the northern and southern slopes of Earth's greatest mountain range. In addition to learning about Himalayan and Tibetan lifeways, we will also learn about how these mountainous parts of Asia have figured into occidental imaginings, from the earliest adventurers to contemporary travelers. Dist: SOC, WCult: NW. Craig.

33. Discovering an Islamic City

07S, 08S: 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. Green, Eickelman.

54. Arabic as a Cultural System

07S, 08S: 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. Green, Eickelman.

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 “AMES Honors Program,” page XXX.

91. Senior Seminar: Research Topics in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Identical to Government 81.14 in 07W)

07W, 08S: 3A

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 07W, The Political Economy of Development in Asia and Southeast Asia (Identical to Government 81.14). WCult: NW. Vandewalle.

In 08S, Nationalism in Asia and the Middle East. WCult: NW. Rudelson.


All departmental and program courses that have been approved for credit toward the AMES major are listed by area of concentration on the AMES web site:, or on the planning sheets available in the AMES office in Bartlett Hall or downloadable from the web site.