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University adds minor in Middle East studies

Friday, October 17, 2014

LAWRENCE – A new minor in Middle East studies at the University of Kansas will enhance undergraduates’ ability to put current events in context with in-depth study of the region’s multifaceted history, cultures and influence.

Courses covering Middle East topics have become increasingly popular among undergraduates at KU. About 1,000 students have enrolled in recent years in courses that look at the Middle East from multiple perspectives, ranging from politics to religion to gender.

The minor complements student pursuits in a variety of fields, including political science, economics, global & international studies, business, journalism and religious studies. It was developed by the Center for Global & International Studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

“Students are eager to know more about this region that has become increasingly present in international affairs,” said John Kennedy, director of the Center for Global & International Studies. “Conflict and stability in countries such as Iraq, Syria and Israel affect the world in myriad ways. Through this minor, they will see more clearly how the developments in the Middle East do not occur in isolation.”

The requirements for the minor specify 18 hours of courses divided among social sciences and humanities. Sample classes include Politics of the Middle East, Modern Islamic Reform Movements and The Modern Middle East.

Students may enroll in the new minor starting this semester and are encouraged to visit the Middle East Studies Program website for information on requirements. Students wishing to declare the minor should contact Mike Wuthrich, CGIS assistant director and faculty adviser for the program, or Laura Leonard, undergraduate advising specialist. Jacquelene Brinton, assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies, is the academic director of the Middle East Studies Program.  

The Center for Global & International Studies is one of the more than 50 departments, programs and centers in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The College encourages learning without boundaries through interdisciplinary education, global awareness and experiential learning. The College is KU's broadest, most diverse academic unit.