Middle East & Africa

The Middle East and Africa have long been at the center of human history—from some of the world’s first civilizations to today’s news. This specialist field allows students to examine the history of these vital regions in all of their complexity, political richness, and cultural vitality. The regions’ history moves from some of the world’s first societies to modern countries now at the heart of global events. The first human came from Africa, the first cities were in the Middle East, and most of the world’s oil is in the region. Courses in the field examine the birth of world religions, the slave trade, the rise and fall of great empires, the intellectual production of antiquity, commodities that affect all our lives, the rise of global political movements and much more. Some students choose to concentrate on Africa, others on the Middle East, and still others on the interactions between the two. Language study is not required to specialize in the region, but many students study Arabic or other regional languages in order to enhance both their intellectual engagement with their studies and their ability to conduct first-hand research in Yale’s rich collections of primary-source materials.
 
Faculty advisers: Abbas Amanat, Rosie Bsheer, Robert Harms, Daniel Magaziner, Alan Mikhail
 
Specialist Track requirements: Students specializing in this region must complete at least five of the courses listed below. For additional requirements of the major, see Requirements of the Major.
 
Students may petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies to include other HIST courses within a region if their written work for the course is directly relevant to that region.
 
Course numbers: Courses beginning with “0” (i.e. HIST 012) are freshman seminars; courses with a three-digit number (i.e. HIST 113) are lectures, open to all students; courses with a “J” suffix (i.e. HIST 136J) are departmental seminars. Courses designated “PI” meet the Pre-Industrial requirement within the History major.