Arabic Language and Literature, Academics | Earlham College Skip to Content

Arabic Language and Literature:
Explore and Discover

Overview   |   Opportunities   |   Meet An Earlhamite   |   Our Faculty   |   The Minor   |   Courses  


The Arabic language courses combine Modern Standard and Levantine colloquial Arabic. This model enables students to engage verbally with the local population in our off-campus study site in Jordan and with Arabic speakers on campus. In addition, it provides them with instruction in the written language common to the Arabic-speaking world. Upper-level Arabic courses are part of the GLCA Shared Languages Program which allows Earlham students to take courses with Arabic professors at other participating GLCA schools, significantly increasing the course offerings for students at the advanced level.

Because of Earlham’s connections in the Middle East, there are always a number of Arabic speaking students on campus. These native speakers provide a rich resource for the students who choose to study the language.

Earlham also has an interdisciplinary program in Middle East Studies.

Special Learning Opportunities

Our current off-campus program, based in Amman, Jordan, introduces students to the diversity, commonalities and trends that shape the modern Middle East. Through a focus on civil society, contemporary religion, conflict resolution and language, program participants grapple with the complexities of the region.

Currently, internships make up part of the Jordan off-campus study program. Students will be placed in an internship with a company or organization in Amman that matches their interests.

Meet An Earlhamite

Students who have taken Arabic at Earlham and participated in the Jordan semester abroad program have gone on to several different post-graduate opportunities. Among these are the Watson Fellowship, the Fulbright English Teaching Fellowship in Jordan, Quaker volunteer opportunities with the Ramallah Friends School in Palestine, Graduate school in the Social Sciences or the Humanities, or directly into work with groups serving displaced peoples who have migrated to the United States.

One of our students received a Watson Fellowship and followed that experience by working with a humanitarian aid group in the Levant. Another graduate is employed with a service organization working with recent migrants from the Middle East. A recent alumnus is in a Ph.D. program in Ethnomusicology.

Winona Hawker-Boehnke
Seek Truth(s) in the Middle East

In spring semester of her junior year Winona Hawker-Boehnke’14 went on an off-campus program to Jordan to learn more about the U.S. role in the Middle East. Earlham has about 20 off-campus programs located throughout the world, allowing students a remarkable opportunity to get more out of their education beyond just what they learn in a classroom.

Our Faculty

Chris Swafford
Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies

Kelly Tuttle
Assistant Professor of Arabic
The Minor

To earn a Minor in Arabic, a student must complete:

Two advanced Arabic language courses any combination of:

  • ARBC 301: Advanced Arabic I (reading)
  • ARBC 302: Advanced Arabic II (writing)
  • ARBC 303: Advanced Arabic III (listening comprehension)

Three upper-level Arabic courses of three or more credits:

  • ARBC 301/302/303: Advanced Arabic (not including the two required above)
  • ARBC 385 or ARBC 427: Topics in Comparative Literatures (may be retaken with new topics, but must be in Arabic)
  • ARBC 484: Collaborative Research Project or ARBC 485: Independent Study
  • A GLCA Shared Language Arabic Course
  • CLL 407: Translation
  • One of which may be substituted with a comparative linguistics course —
    CLL 345: Linguistics or CLL 348: Sociolinguistics, or an Arabic Topics in English course (such as ME Literature in English, or Literature of Andalusia).

An off-campus study program in Jordan (one semester or May Term), or an alternative approved Arabic-language off-campus program or internship. This can include participation in a GLCA Shared Language Arabic course, or taking an official Arabic class while on another study abroad program (in Germany, Spain, Japan, etc.).


* Key

Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:

  • (A-AP) = Arts - Applied
  • (A-TH) = Arts - Theoretical/Historical
  • (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
  • (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
  • (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
  • (D-I) = Diversity - International
  • (D-L) = Diversity - Language
  • (ES) = Earlham Seminar
  • (IE) = Immersive Experience
  • (RCH) = Research
  • (SI) = Scientific Inquiry
  • (W) = Wellness
  • (WI) = Writing Intensive
  • (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year

*ARBC 101 BASIC ARABIC I (5 credits)
An outcome-based, interactive approach to basic Modern Standard Arabic and the Levantine colloquial dialect that emphasizes the development of the linguistic and cultural competence needed to communicate with native speakers. Communication skills are developed gradually. Students will master the Arabic alphabet and sound system. Students will be able to talk about themselves, their education and their families, as well as ask basic questions and comprehend simple written texts. This course requires active participation in and outside of class. (D-L)

*ARBC 102 BASIC ARABIC II (5 credits)
A continuation of Arabic I. Prerequisite: ARBC 101, placement exam or consent of the instructor. (D-L)

An intermediate course in Modern Standard Arabic and the Levantine colloquial dialect. Students continue to develop skills in reading comprehension, speaking, listening, vocabulary and grammar. Materials include written Arabic, audiovisual instruments, planned and unplanned conversations, and activities that cover daily life situations, songs and cultural issues. Prerequisite: Arabic 102, placement exam or consent of the instructor. (D-L)

A continuation of Intermediate Arabic I. Prerequisite: ARBC 201, placement exam or consent of the instructor.

ARBC 301 ADVANCED ARABIC I (3 credits)
This is an advanced course in Arabic language and culture. Students continue to develop skills in reading, speaking, listening and writing. This course may be developed around a theme or a topic of a region of the Arabic-speaking world. Prerequisites: ARBC 202, placement exam or consent of the instructor.

A continuation of Advanced Arabic I. Prerequisite: ARBC 301, placement exam or consent of the instructor.

Studies several theoretical approaches and addresses a variety of issues. In addition to readings, discussion and research on particular aspects of translation, students design and carry out individual and group translation projects. Prerequisite: Advanced level reading skills or consent of the instructor. (AY)

Develops students’ appreciation of texts from various countries or regions. Students may be asked to read texts in translation or in the original language. This course may be taken more than one time for credit when the topics are different. Prerequisites: Vary according to theme.

Students must be selected as a Teaching Assistant for an Arabic course and consult with the instructor before registration.

Collaborative research with faculty funded by Ford/Knight Program.

ARBC 485 INDEPENDENT STUDY (1-3 credits)
Independent studies cover material not taught in our regularly offered courses. Intended for advanced students who have developed a special interest in Arabic, such as a linguistics project, a literature project, a cultural theme or some other independent research. Independent Study proposals must be approved by the Middle East Studies faculty.