Arab Crossroads Studies (BA)

Program Description

Arab Crossroads Studies takes advantage of Abu Dhabi’s geographical location in the Arabian Peninsula, at the crossroads of the three continents of the Eastern hemisphere: Africa, Asia, and Europe. It uses this location to think through the broader interactions of the Arab world with the surrounding regions, and as an invitation to investigate the historical and contemporary religious, cultural, and ethnic diversity of the Arabic-speaking world. In doing so, it provides a portal for the global NYU community to study and engage with the social, cultural and intellectual diversity of the Arab world and its neighbors.

The historical, sociopolitical, and cultural interactions among these regions have opened engaging domains of study in both the humanities and social sciences. One example of these interactions can be seen in the Gulf, where the flow of people, ideas, and commodities has resulted in cosmopolitan and culturally hybrid setting for many centuries. The historical archives testify to this richness, which can also be gleaned from the artistic, architectural and musical developments, the variety of spoken languages, and the diversity of people who now live in the Gulf region. Similar sites of intense interaction can be found in the Levant, Central Asia, West and East Africa, as well as South Asia, and ACS courses consider regions such as these particularly productive for studying the Arab world’s diversity. Yet ACS courses move beyond geographic descriptions to consider thematic approaches to the Arab world’s diversity that consider more specific religious, historical, political, anthropological, literary and artistic topics.

Arab Crossroads Studies majors are required to take a minimum of 14 courses: four required courses (Emergence of the Modern Middle East; Anthropology and the Arab World; Introduction to Modern Arabic Literature and Problems and Methods in Arab Crossroads Studies); a minimum of four elective courses; and a two-semester capstone project. Additionally, Arab Crossroads Studies majors are required to take a minimum of four semesters of college Arabic or their equivalent, or demonstrate proficiency at this level.

Language: To fulfill the requirements of the Arab Crossroads Studies major, students must demonstrate intermediate ability in Arabic. This means either:

  1. studying Arabic through at least the intermediate level (four semesters) at NYU Abu Dhabi or within the broader NYU global network,
  2. demonstrating the completion of comparable course work elsewhere, or
  3. demonstrating a corresponding level of proficiency through examination at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Electives: Students take a minimum of four elective courses, selected from any or all of the following areas: history and religion; society and politics; and arts and literature. The electives provide both breadth and depth to the study of the region; familiarize students with a variety of disciplinary concerns; and enable students to develop a specialization in one of three distributional areas in preparation for the capstone project. At least one of the electives must be grounded in the period before 1800.

History and Religion includes a broad and solid grounding in the pre-modern and modern social, cultural, religious and economic landscapes of the region. These courses focus on primary source documents to introduce students to the rich and varied history of the region as well as to the doctrinal and social aspects of the religious traditions that have shaped it.

Society and Politics includes a detailed and nuanced examination of the contemporary landscape of the region. These courses draw on anthropology, ethnography, political science, and sociology to elucidate the complex cultural, social, and political developments taking place today.

Arts and Literature includes a careful study of the literary, artistic and philosophical landscapes of the region. These courses explore the literatures, arts, and physical environments of the region within their broader historical and social contexts.

The study away pathway for the Arab Crossroads Studies major can be found on the NYUAD Student Portal at Students with questions should contact the Office of Global Education.

Only one elective can be taken during J-term and it is strongly recommended that not more than two non-language courses be taken while studying away.


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