Arabic and Hebrew Literature. Jewish and Islamic Studies. Persian Literature. Hebrew Bible. Ancient art and archaeology. Pyramids, ziggurats, mummies. Modern and ancient Middle Eastern languages and cultures. All this and more are studied and taught in UC Berkeley’s Department of Middle Eastern languages and Cultures (formerly Near Eastern Studies), one of the oldest and most distinguished such departments in the country.
Our mission, vital for a public university in today’s complex global world, is to investigate, teach and communicate the cultures and languages of the Middle East to promote knowledge of and understanding and respect for the world’s multicultural heritage.
Some of Our Important Achievements
The Department of Middle Eastern languages and Cultures is one of the leaders in the Digital Humanities movement on campus, including:
- 3D visualization project by Professor Rita Lucarelli (Egyptology)
- Digital Publication Project by Professor Niek Veldhuis (Assyriology)
- Berkeley Prosopography Services project by Dr. Laurie Pearce (Assyriology)
- Excavation in Egypt, El Hibeh Project, Professor Carol Redmount (Egyptian Archaeology)
- Excavation in Jordan, Professor Benjamin Porter
Professor Asad Ahmed chairs the Mellon Seminars called Graeco-Arabic Rationalism in Islamic Transmitted Sciences: The Post-Classical Period, held regularly at UCB.
Professor Chana Kronfeld is currently preparing for publication a monograph titled “The Full Severity of Compassion”: The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai” and a collection of essays in collaboration with graduate students titled Rewriting the Land as Woman.
Several Professors of the MELC department teach Big Ideas interdisciplinary courses (two or more outstanding professors, brought together from completely different fields, co-teaching the course):
- The Bible in Western Culture (Professor Ronald Hendel)
- The Humanities (Professor Daniel Boyarin)
- Magic, Religion, and Science (Professor Rita Lucarelli)
Your contribution helps support our students, our programs, and our teaching and research activities!