Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies at Hofstra University is an interdisciplinary program dealing with the peoples and cultures of the Middle East and Central Asia (MECA). By approaching the study of this part of the world from a range of disciplines and perspectives, students in this minor will form a more nuanced view of the area.
There are many reasons to consider a minor in MECA:
- As the birthplace of at least four major religions and many civilizations, the Middle East has for centuries been a center of knowledge and ideas, of techniques and commodities, and, at times, of military and economic power. Yet despite the historical and cultural significance of the Middle East, the general understanding of this area and its peoples is often fragmentary and distorted.
- The Middle East and the neighboring countries of Central Asia, through their resources, peoples and geographic location, contribute significantly to the material and cultural elements of our daily lives. The Middle East and Central Asia are diverse culture areas of major strategic importance to American foreign policy and will continue to be so in the near future.
- Finally, immigration to the United States from countries of the Middle East and Central Asia has increased greatly, particularly in the New York Metropolitan area and on Long Island. This has led to a greater interest in these regions by all Americans, and in particular, those of Middle Eastern descent.
Because Hofstra is committed to offering its students cross-cultural courses to gain insights into diverse cultures and modes of thought, the MECA minor complements existing studies programs at Hofstra such as African, Asian, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Introductory and advanced courses on Middle Eastern cultures are offered in the Departments of Anthropology, Art History, Comparative Literature and Languages, Economics, History, Political Science and Religion. Hofstra also offers language courses in Arabic and Hebrew.