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Arabic, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies

Director's Welcome

Although the historical homeland of Islam is the Arabian peninsula, Islamic civilization established itself over the centuries throughout the Middle East and much of the rest of the world.  Drawing on the resources of various departments at Santa Clara University, AIMES lets you explore the peoples, history, politics, cultures, and religious practices of a tradition that is global in its reach and significance.

AIMES offers you the opportunity to:

  • develop the background necessary for understanding the diverse peoples and faith communities of the Middle East and the Islamic world.
  • familiarize yourself with the artistic and literary legacy of Islamic civilization and discern the influence of this legacy on literature and the arts in 21st-century Muslim societies.
  • study the history of Islam’s encounters with other civilizations and faith traditions—Jewish and Christian (in the Middle East and Europe), Zoroastrian (in Iran), Hindu (in India), animist-Buddhist-Hindu (in Indonesia), etc.
  • develop a context for understanding current events and political trends in the Middle East and elsewhere in the Muslim world.
  • begin the study of Arabic, the lingua franca of much of the Middle East and a language that is honored throughout the Islamic world as the medium of Qur’anic scripture.

With the guidance of an AIMES faculty member, you have the option of creating a directed study project relating to local Islamic and Middle Eastern communities here in the San Francisco Bay area.  You may also choose to pursue Arabic language study in locations overseas.

I invite you to consider our AIMES minor.  Please contact me for further information.

Farid Senzai
Associate Professor of Political Science