About Our Department
The Department of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies (JIMES) is devoted to the study of the history and cultures of the Near East, and of the Jewish and Islamic civilizations, both individually and comparatively. Its integrated curriculum offers a focal point for crosscultural academic exchange that highlights the shared experiences and mutual influences of the two civilizations while paying close attention to the historical context of social change and cultural production. The members of the faculty conduct their research and teaching through a wide array of methodologies and disciplinary approaches and offer courses in language, literature, history, religion, politics, and culture.
One language is not enough.
Cultural literacy is necessary, no matter the career you pursue. Understanding other cultures is itself a form of translation, and being able to nimbly move across the linguistic borders gives insight into the physical borders that define our world. JIMES is a place where one language is simply not enough, where literacy in one culture is not enough.
Washington University is unique among North American universities in having a department that encompasses Jewish studies, Islamic studies, Arabic, Hebrew, and Hindi. No where else affords students the opportunity to explore these subjects in such a profoundly cross-disciplinary environment.