Jewish, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at WashU
Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies is an academic department, unique in North America, in which Jewish Studies and Islamic Studies are integrated. It is an interdisciplinary department whose purpose is to explore the historical experience, literary, religious and cultural expression, and political and material life of the Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern civilizations. Whether you favor the study of language, literature, religion, history, or politics, you will find in our courses a way to deepen your appreciation of these complex and diverse societies and cultures. You will also be encouraged to explore the interaction of Jews and Muslims with neighboring societies and cultures in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and other parts of the world.
Our majors and minors have gone on to do many things after graduation. Many have entered professional schools in such fields as law, journalism, education, the rabbinate or ministry, government, and communal or social work. Others have gone on to do graduate work in either Jewish or Islamic studies or in related disciplines. Still others have combined their interest in Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies with careers in business, medicine, or scientific research. All have found the major to have been an intellectually and emotionally rewarding experience and an important component of their overall development.
The department offers majors in the following areas: Comparative Jewish and Islamic Studies; Modern Middle Eastern Studies; Arabic; and Hebrew. The department also offers five minors: Comparative Jewish and Islamic Studies; Modern Middle Eastern Studies; Arabic; Hebrew; and South Asian Languages and Cultures (Hindi/Urdu).
For every student, our goal is to:
- Convey an appreciation for the complexities, depth, diversity, and cultural richness of Jewish and Islamic civilizations in their historical context from antiquity to the present.
- Explore the interaction of Jewish, Islamic, and other Near Eastern societies and cultures with neighboring peoples both within and outside the Middle East.
- Encourage mastery of the primary languages and literatures in which Jews and Muslims have expressed their cultures.
- Prepare students for graduate or professional studies in these or related fields.
- Open a gateway for students into the languages and diverse cultures and history of South Asia.