Arab Crossroads Studies (Minor)

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.

The goal of the Minor in Arab Crossroads Studies is to provide students with a strong foundation in the historical, social, and cultural realities of the region. Besides being personally and intellectually enriching, the Minor in Arab Crossroads Studies is a useful preparation for the many professions that benefit from a deeper knowledge of the Arab world and surrounding regions, including education, development, journalism, law, public service, diplomacy, politics, and business. Requirements for the Minor in Arab Crossroads Studies include four courses: Emergence of the Modern Middle East; Anthropology and the Arab World; Introduction to Modern Arabic Literature and Society; and one non-language elective which must be approved in advance by the student’s mentor.