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Graduate Field in Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern Studies

The Department of Comparative Literature provides a variety of opportunities for studying the literatures and cultures of the broader Middle East/North Africa region at the graduate level.  For graduate students, we offer the chance to work with faculty specialists in Arabic and Turkish literatures, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary, transnational, and transhistorical approaches, including those informed by postcolonial theory, translation theory, trauma studies, human rights discourse, Islamic aesthetic theory, gender and sexuality studies, visual studies, ecocriticism, and questions of language reform and heteroglossia. Our graduate seminar in Comparative Arabic Literature and Criticism furnishes students with a comprehensive overview of modern Arabic literature, situating these texts within a comparative framework to highlight the manifold ways that this literature engages the major theoretical paradigms of global literary studies.

Graduate Field in History and Middle Eastern Studies

The Department of History at Pennsylvania State University is excited to announce a new graduate Ph.D. field in the history of the modern Middle East. With more than ten outstanding faculty researching, publishing, and teaching in the field of Middle Eastern history from the early Islamic period to the modern era and spanning the region from North Africa to Iran, we offer a robust program of unparalleled depth and breadth. Our program offers a critical examination of thematic questions including state and society, culture, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, nationalism, colonialism, and environment. We study these topics in broader transnational, transregional, and global contexts, relying on diverse methodologies. The field will benefit from cross-fertilization with other History Department graduate fields such as in early modern global history, as well as from the College of Liberal Arts’ interdisciplinary Middle East Studies program. 

We seek applicants who are passionate about the region, who are creative and curious intellectuals, and who are committed to training to become future scholars, educators, public historians, or regional experts.  Interested students with advanced language skills in at least one Middle Eastern language should consult with the relevant faculty members in the field. Penn State offers generous funding packages for successful applicants. For more information on the application process, see the History websiteApplication deadline is December 1, 2021.

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World War II and The Middle East, A Symposium Marking the 80th Anniversary of the Outbreak of WWII

On the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII, we would like to invite the Penn State community to think about the war from a non-Western perspective. WWII has been studied and discussed mostly through the prism of the European and Pacific theatres, however, its significance as a global event becomes more evident when we look at the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, regions where the legacy of the war molded many of the developments that shaped those societies until these days. 

Faculty, students, and members of the Penn State and State College community are invited to participate in this two-day symposium. Admission is free. 

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  • Assistant Professor in History and African Studies Christopher Tounsel is beginning his second year at Penn State. He earned his Ph.D in 2015 from...

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  • Faisal joins the History Department in Fall 2018. He is a specialist in Environmental History and Early Modern Ottoman...

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  • Middle Eastern Studies minor and History major Josie Krieger studied Turkish in Baku, Azerbaijan through the Critical Language Scholarship...

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  • Middle Eastern Studies minor and History major Stephanie Springer graduated with honors in May, 2018 and served as a class marshal in the...

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