Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

Brief Description of Concentration

NELCThe Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations introduces students to the ancient and modern peoples, languages, cultures, and societies of the Near/Middle East. Loosely defined as stretching from Morocco in the west to Iran and Afghanistan in the east, the region is home some of the world’s great religions and civilizations. Historically, the influence of its languages, literatures and cultures has extended to Central, East and Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and North America. Thus, the study of the Near and Middle East is an important area of academic inquiry on account of its political, economic and cultural significance on the international stage.

Learning Objectives

The concentration offers students a multi-faceted and inter-disciplinary perspective on Near Middle Eastern cultures and languages that have been so influential throughout the world. Undergraduate concentrators develop skills in one or more of the languages of the region on their way to choosing from a wide variety of directions of study. The Department offers instruction in a range of ancient and modern languages including Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Egyptian, Hebrew, Iranian, Persian, Sumerian, Turkish (Ottoman and Modern), and Yiddish. The concentration provides a solid grounding in the student’s area of focus and offers an in-depth look at how scholars explore these languages and their associated cultures that have been so influential throughout the world. 

Gateway Courses

  • ANE 106 Ancient Mesopotamian Literature: 2000 Years of Early Storytelling (Hawkins) S22 
  • ANE 197 Bible and Empire (Rhyder) F21 
  • ANE 170 Ancient Diets (Rhyder) F21 
  • GENED 1090 What Is a Book? From the Oral Epic to the Kindle (Stern) S22 
  • GENED 1099 Pyramid Schemes: What Can Ancient Egyptian Civilization Teach Us? (Manuelian) S22 
  • ISLAMCIV 145a Introduction to Islamic Philosophy and Theology (El-Rouayheb) F21 
  • ISLAMICCIV 163 Introduction to Islamic Mystical Traditions (Asani) F21  
  • MODMDEST 100 The Modern Middle East, Real and Imagined (Zeghal) F21 
  • NEC 101 Historical Background to the Contemporary Middle East (Barjamovic) S22 
  • PERSIAN 152 Literary and Visual Narrative in the Persian Epic Tradition (Landau) F21 
  • YIDDISH 107 The Politics of Yiddish (Zaritt) F21 

For a more complete listing, visit: nelc.fas.harvard.edu/gateway-courses 

Alumni

https://nelc.fas.harvard.edu/alumni-voices