Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

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.

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 the 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, 2022.