graduation

Senior Honors Guidelines and Evaluation Form

Senior Honors

Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies majors who have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher (students entering in Fall 2011 and beyond must have a GPA of 3.65) after 6 semesters are eligible to apply for candidacy for departmental senior honors. Once they receive departmental approval, candidates must satisfactorily complete a senior honors thesis in order to be recommended to the College for honors.

The senior honors thesis is a research project that is significantly larger than the usual term paper. It is usually around 50-60 pages long. In writing this thesis, candidates are expected to make use of both primary and secondary sources and to demonstrate critical and analytic skills. Candidates are also encouraged to make use of any foreign language skills they may possess for the research. Proper citation of sources and a clear and consistent stylistic format will be expected.

Candidates, in consultation with their advisors, should choose their area of interest and find an appropriate faculty member to serve as their thesis supervisor in the spring semester of their junior year. They then need to apply for the honors program in writing to the Director of Undergraduate Studies of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies by September 1. The written application should contain a tentative description of the project, the supervisor's endorsement of the candidacy, and the candidate's unofficial transcript with the latest GPA clearly indicated. This early planning allows candidates to use the summer months to conduct preliminary research. Candidates must enroll in Arabic 488 and 489, Hebrew 488 and 489, Persian 488 and 489 or JINES 499 and 4991, "Independent Work for Senior Honors,” in both the fall and spring semesters of their senior year (normally for a total of 6 credit hours).

The responsibilities of the thesis supervisor include: 

  • setting up regular meetings with the candidate
  • helping the candidate design a research and writing plan
  • monitoring the candidate's progress through meetings and periodic written drafts
  • offering feedback in a timely fashion

The responsibilities of the candidate include: 

  • setting up regular meetings with the thesis supervisor 
  • meet with a subject librarian who can assist the research project
  • adhering to the research and writing plan jointly developed by the candidate and the supervisor
  • seeking out the supervisor for help when needed; meeting agreed-upon deadlines
  • abiding by the guidelines outlined in the Statement of Student Academic Integrity

By October 15, the candidate must submit a three-page report about the progress made with the research as well as a bibliography (separate from the research report).

The candidate needs to write a substantial progress report (a 20-30 outline of the thesis or thesis chapter with a separate schedule of completion and a bibliography) by the last day of the fall semester or another day designated by the thesis supervisor. No candidate will be allowed to continue in the program unless this report is submitted on time and is accepted as satisfactory by the supervisor.

By February 15, the candidate and the thesis supervisor must submit the name of the second professor on the committee evaluating the thesis to the Director of Undergraduate Studies of Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures.

By the first week of March, candidates should submit a final draft of their thesis to their supervisor. The thesis will be evaluated by a committee of 2 faculty members, including the supervisor. It is extremely important that this draft is submitted on time: late submission will be sufficient cause for candidates to lose their chance to receive honors.

Committee members may suggest revisions to the thesis. They will also decide whether or not to forward their recommendation to the Director of Undergraduate Studies of Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures that the candidate be awarded Honors. The committee members will complete the Honors Thesis Evaluation Form and return it to the director of undergraduate studies by the date set in the third week in March by the director of undergraduate studies.  Copies of the Evaluation Form will be given to the student.

By or before April 15th, the candidate should submit the completed thesis, with revisions if necessary, to the Department office. The final draft should be typed (in 12 point font), double-spaced, with 1" margins all around. It should either be bound or placed in a notebook, so that it may be shelved in the department office along with other theses and dissertations. The title page of the thesis must include: the title of the honors thesis; the line “A Thesis Presented to the Department of Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures in Partial Fulfillment of the Degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honors”; the student’s name; the semester and year of the submission of the thesis; and the name of the thesis advisor. The supervisor will then submit the grade for the spring semester of the thesis course.

Please note that awards of A.B. cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude currently require cumulative grade point averages of 3.5, 3.65, and 3.8 respectively throughout eight semesters in the College of Arts & Sciences (class entering in fall 2011 who complete an honors thesis will be awarded the A.B. cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude according to the following proportions: the top 15 percent in overall grade point average of Latin honors candidates who complete the necessary requirements of their major departments will graduate summa cum laude; the next 35 percent magna cum laude; the next 50 percent cum laude).

the faculty bookshelf

The Making of Czech Jewry
Second-Generation Holocaust Literature
Ortacag Islam'inda Mesihci Inanclar ve Imparatorluk Siyaseti - Dokuzuncu Yüzyilin Baslarinda Abbasi Hilafeti
The Evolution of Arabic
Reorienting the East: Jewish Travelers to the Medieval Muslim World
More and More Equal
Exile from Exile
Messianic Beliefs & Imperial Politics in Medieval Islam
Languages of Community: The Jewish Experience in the Czech Lands
Language of Empire: Politics of Arabic and Persian in Abbasid World
Formování českého židovstva: Národnostní konflikt a židovská společnost v Čechách 1870–1918
A City Consumed: Urban Commerce, the Cairo Fire, and the Politics of Decolonization in Egypt

The Making of Czech Jewry

Examining the post-emancipatory, post-industrial transformation of Czech-Jewish society, Hillel J. Kieval focuses on the Czech-Jewish movement and Prague Zionism, charting their development up to the start of the First Czechoslovak Republic. Though different in fundamental ways, the Czech-Jewish movement and Prague Zionism held remarkable similarities: both emerged from the second phase of modernization of Bohemian Jewry; both represented a turnabout in cultural and national loyalties; and both, ironically, saw themselves as the best vehicle for Jewish integration into a nationally charged, highly contentious, European environment. Emphasizing the multi-ethnic character of the region, the linguistic dexterity and cultural ambiguity of its Jewish population, and the decisive impact of national conflict on the creation of Jewish attitudes and behavior, the book offers a new picture--the first in English--of the social and cultural life of Central European Jewry at the turn of the century.

Second-Generation Holocaust Literature

Among historical events of the 20th century, the Holocaust is unrivaled as the subject of both scholarly and literary writing. Literary responses include not only thousands of autobiographical and fictional texts written by survivors, but also, more recently, works by writers who are not survivors but nevertheless feel compelled to write about the Holocaust. Writers from what is known as the second generation have produced texts that express their feeling of being powerfully marked by events of which they have had no direct experience. This book expands the commonly-used definition of second-generation literature, which refers to texts written from the perspective of the children of survivors, to include texts written from the point of view of the children of Nazi perpetrators. With its innovative focus on the literary legacy of both groups, it investigates how second-generation writers employ similar tropes of stigmatization to express their troubled relationships to their parents' histories. Through readings of nine American, German, and French literary texts, Erin McGlothlin demonstrates how an anxiety with signification is manifested in the very structure of second-generation literature, revealing the extent to which the literary texts themselves are marked by the continuing aftershocks of the Holocaust. 

Ortacag Islam'inda Mesihci Inanclar ve Imparatorluk Siyaseti - Dokuzuncu Yüzyilin Baslarinda Abbasi Hilafeti

Ortacag Islâm'inda Mesihci Inanclar ve Imparatorluk Siyaseti, Abbâsî hilafetinin ilk donemlerini ele almakta ve el-Me'mûn'un tahta gecmesiyle sonuclanan el-Emîn ile el-Me'mûn arasindaki ic savasin, siklikla gozden kacirilan bir yonunu, o donemde Muslumanlar ve Musluman olmayanlar arasinda dolasimda olan gelecege dair rivayetler baglaminda Me'mûn'un dikkat cekici siyasetini izah etmeye calismaktadir. 809-833 yillari arasindaki donemi daha yakindan incelemesine ragmen, Ortacag Islâm'inda Mesihci Inanclar'in temel amaci, halifelerin kendi dinî-siyasal gundemlerini bicimlendirdikleri, idame ettirdikleri ve mesrulastirdiklari baslica hâkim ideolojilerden birisi olarak mesihci ve âhir zamanci (apocalyptic) inanclarin Abbâsî siyasal davranisini sekillendirmesindeki rolune isik tutmaktir. "Hayrettin Yucesoy'un ozenle hazirlanan kitabi erken donem Ortacag Islâm'inda mesihci inanclar konusunda belirleyici kitap olacaktir. Detaylara yonelik kili kirk yaran dikkati ve dusunce dolu bulgulari, Islâm'in kurucu donemindeki entelektuel tarihe buyuk bir katki saglayacaktir" -Asma Afsaruddin- (Tanitim Bulteninden)

The Evolution of Arabic

Early in the seventh century, Aramaic was superseded by Arabic, which gained widespread prestige and legitimacy as the official language of Islam. The expansion of the Islamic empire spread the language as far as Central Asia and the Iberian Peninsula, today’s Spain, known then as Al-Andalus or Andalusia.

Reorienting the East: Jewish Travelers to the Medieval Muslim World

Reorienting the East explores the Islamic world as it was encountered, envisioned, and elaborated by Jewish travelers from the Middle Ages to the early modern period. The first comprehensive investigation of Jewish travel writing from this era, this study engages with questions raised by postcolonial studies and contributes to the debate over the nature and history of Orientalism as defined by Edward Said. Examining two dozen Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic travel accounts from the mid-twelfth to the early sixteenth centuries, Martin Jacobs asks whether Jewish travelers shared Western perceptions of the Islamic world with their Christian counterparts. 

More and More Equal

More and More Equal examines the works of Sami Michael, the most significant Israeli writer who has made the transition from Arabic to Hebrew. Born in Baghdad, Michael fled in 1948 to Iran, and later to Israel, to escape imprisonment or execution due to his involvement with the Iraqi Communist Party. Early in his career Michael was deemed merely an "ethnic" writer, but his incredible popular success and indelible influence on his Israeli audience have forced critics to consider his writings anew. Nancy E. Berg sheds light on Michael's belated canonization and traces his development as a storyteller. Berg offers fresh readings of each of Michael's major novels.

Exile from Exile

The standard histories of Israeli literature limit the canon, virtually ignoring those who came to Israel from Jewish communities in the Middle East. By focusing on the work of Iraqi-born authors, this book offers a fundamental rethinking of the canon and of Israeli literary history. 

The story of these writers challenges common conceptions of exile and Zionist redemption. At the heart of this book lies the paradox that the dream of ingathering the exiles has made exiles of the ingathered. Upon arriving in Israel, these writers had to decide whether to continue writing in their native language, Arabic, or begin in a new language, Hebrew. The author reveals how Israeli works written in Arabic depict different memories of Iraq from those written in Hebrew.

Messianic Beliefs & Imperial Politics in Medieval Islam

Messianic Beliefs and Imperial Politics in Medieval Islam analyzes the role of Muslim messianic and apocalyptic beliefs in the development of the 'Abbasid Caliphate to highlight connections between charismatic authority and institutional developments in the early ninth century. Hayrettin Yücesoy studies the relationship between rulers and religion to advance understanding of the era's political actions and, more specifically, to illustrate how messianic beliefs influenced 'Abbasid imperial politics and contributed to the reshaping of the caliphate under al-Ma'mun (809-33) after a decade-long civil war.

Languages of Community: The Jewish Experience in the Czech Lands

With a keen eye for revealing details, Hillel J. Kieval examines the contours and distinctive features of Jewish experience in the lands of Bohemia and Moravia (the present-day Czech Republic), from the late eighteenth to the late twentieth century. In the Czech lands, Kieval writes, Jews have felt the need constantly to define and articulate the nature of group identity, cultural loyalty, memory, and social cohesiveness, and the period of "modernizing" absolutism, which began in 1780, brought changes of enormous significance. From that time forward, new relationships with Gentile society and with the culture of the state blurred the traditional outlines of community and individual identity. Kieval navigates skillfully among histories and myths as well as demography, biography, culture, and politics, illuminating the maze of allegiances and alliances that have molded the Jewish experience during these 200 years.

Language of Empire: Politics of Arabic and Persian in Abbasid World

This essay aims to contribute to current studies of language and empire by considering Arabic and Persian in the ninth and tenth centuries. Following the lead of Edward Said on colonial empires and translation, I focus on the political aspects of language and translation in "premodern" trans-Asian societies, which have not yet recieved the nuanced attention they deserve. Accentuating the act of adopting and supporting a language as political, I argue that the wax and wane of imperial languages were predicated on two usually simultaneous dynamics: intra-imperial interests and, to use Laura Doyle's term, inter-imperial competition.

Formování českého židovstva: Národnostní konflikt a židovská společnost v Čechách 1870–1918

Společnost a kultura v českých zemích procházely na přelomu 19. století proměnami, jež navždy změnily podobu českého židovstva. Vyostřený etnický nacionalismus a demografické tlaky vedly ke druhé židovské modernizaci a ke dvěma velkým experimentům - k "českožidovskému hnutí" a "pražskému sionismu". Tato dvě hnutí, ačkoliv podstatně protichůdná, si byla v některých ohledech pozoruhodně podobná. Autor sleduje jejich osudy a ukazuje, v čem předjímala chování Židů ve 20. století a židovskou kulturní adaptaci v prvních letech nové československé republiky. Kniha polemizuje s převládající představou o pražském a českém židovstvu jako baště německé kultury a politického liberalismu v nepřátelském slovanském světě. Formování českého židovstva patří k základním textům moderní historiografie židovstva.

A City Consumed: Urban Commerce, the Cairo Fire, and the Politics of Decolonization in Egypt

Though now remembered as an act of anti-colonial protest leading to the Egyptian military coup of 1952, the Cairo Fire that burned through downtown stores and businesses appeared to many at the time as an act of urban self-destruction and national suicide. The logic behind this latter view has now been largely lost. Offering a revised history, Nancy Reynolds looks to the decades leading up to the fire to show that the lines between foreign and native in city space and commercial merchandise were never so starkly drawn.