Earlham has a rich and long-standing connection to the Middle East, including the distinguished peacemaking efforts in the region by our former college president Landrum Bolling, our past study abroad program in Jerusalem and our continuing relationship with the Ramallah Friends School. With support from the Mellon Foundation and others, Earlham offers an interdisciplinary set of courses focused on the Middle East, both on and off campus.
Courses in Religion, Politics, History, Music, Arabic language, and more educate students to understand the modern Middle East in its historical, cultural and religious complexity and in practical terms, both broadly and through in-depth study of particular regions, themes and cultural practices. These course offerings form an interconnected web of learning opportunities about the region.
The Arabic language courses combine Modern Standard and Levantine colloquial Arabic. This model enables students to engage verbally with the local population in our 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.
Our current off-campus study 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.
Students wishing to pursue an academic focus in Middle East Studies may do so in a variety of ways:
- Arabic may serve as one of the focus languages for a Comparative Languages and Linguistics major.
- The Middle East may be one of the two required geographic areas for a History major.
- The Middle East may be the geographic focus region for an International Studies major.
- A student may complete a Politics, Religion, or Sociology/Anthropology major by including supportive interdisciplinary coursework with a Middle East focus.
- A student may also design an independent, self-designed major or minor in Middle East Studies.