Culture and Representation
The Culture and Representation track provides a coherent academic framework for exploring a range of overlapping fields of inquiry, partly related to the interdisciplinary field of cultural studies, including popular culture, media studies, visual culture, cultural policy, along with cultural anthropology and cultural geography. The track builds on the strengths of MEIS as a broadly multidisciplinary area studies department and expands them by offering training in critical theory (e.g., narrative theory, performance theory, political theory, postcolonial critique) and methodologies (e.g., textual analysis, discourse analysis, institutional analysis, interviews, ethnography, digital methods). Students in the Culture and Representation track will, in consultation with their advisor(s), craft a program of coursework and supervised training in a range of areas, as well as departments such as Art; Public Policy; Anthropology; Cinema Studies; Comparative Literature; Media, Culture and Communication; Performance Studies; and Social and Cultural Analysis.
The Islamic Studies track is designed to offer students an integrated program of training in the academic study of the religion of Islam, combining the philological study of texts with the methodological perspectives of religious studies. Students opting for this track can draw on faculty expertise in such areas as Qur’an and exegetical traditions, Islamic law, Islamic history and historiography, Sufism, material culture and lived religion, while also taking advantage of the comparative and methodological resources of NYU's Program in Religious Studies. Several other NYU programs, including the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World and Silsila: The Center for Material Histories, offer a plethora of public events and conferences on topics (including early Islam and Islamic material culture) of interest to students in Islamic Studies. The broader resources of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies department also facilitate the integration of analytical tools adapted from history, anthropology and cultural studies to topics relating to Islamic Studies. Courses within the department relevant to this track, taught by Professors Ismail Fajrie Alatas, Abigail Balbale, Ayşe Baltacıoğlu-Brammer, Marion Katz, and Philip Kennedy, include Problems and Methods in Islamic Studies (a core course required for students in the Islamic Studies track); Lived Islam; Islamic Space and Time; History of Islamic Law; Religion and Religious Movements in the Middle East; Sunni-Shia: Past and Present; and History, Fiction and Narrative in Arabic/Islamic Texts. In addition, students in the Islamic Studies track frequently take advantage of the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium and take classes at Columbia and Princeton.
The Literature track builds on the strengths of its area studies home department and expands them by offering theoretical training that enables both the study of a single given Middle East literature and comparatist projects. The track’s departmental base makes for sound linguistic competence that supports comparatism between the literatures of the Middle East, or between literatures of the region and those of other parts of the world. Projects that address Translation Studies or the theoretical and intellectual production of the Global South are particularly welcome. Ample resources are in place for interdisciplinary approaches to the study of literature, both modern and pre-modern. Students in the track will, in consultation with their advisor(s), craft a program of coursework and supervised training in a range of areas, as well as other departments. Students are particularly encouraged to take courses in the Department of Comparative Literature and—depending on their planned projects—consider enrolling either in its Advanced Certificate in Poetics and Theory or its Advanced Certificate Comparative Approaches to the Literatures of Africa, the Middle East, and the Global South (CALAMEGS).
Literature track primary faculty: Hala Halim, Philip Kennedy