MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
Francesca Rochberg, Chair, Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures
Effective Fall 2021, the Near Eastern Studies Department will officially change its name to the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC).The change comes in tandem with a broadly restructured undergraduate major. We believe the new name gives us greater visibility within the Arts and Humanities, provides a consistent terminology for the study of the region, whether historically or in the modern era, and promotes greater unity for all Middle Eastern related fields covered in MELC and elsewhere on campus. Students interested in taking courses in the fall 2021 semester can find the department's course listings in the schedule of classes under the new department name MELC. Undergraduates can declare a new major or minor in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC) beginning fall 2021. Best Wishes, Francesca Rochberg Chair, NES/MELC Department
Dear NES Faculty, Lecturers, Staff and Students,
In lieu of a welcome party to start the 2021 academic year, I offer here my warmest greetings and an update.
We made it through the Spring though our heads were spinning, having to make do and adjust our lives, work, and teaching on the fly. Because of the tragic lack of improvement in our national situation we have spent the summer planning for how to deal with a second semester of this. Please know how impressed I have been at everyone’s pulling together and cooperating with less than optimal conditions. Thanks are due each and every one of you.
It is not the time for bromides, but there is legitimate good news to convey. These are some of the highlights:
First, I want to extend a heartfelt welcome to three new faculty colleagues, Adam Benkato, Daryabari Professor of Iranian Studies, Simon Brelaud, Avimalek Betyousef Visiting Assistant Professor, and Azza Ahmad, Adjunct Assistant Professor for Arabic language.
There is also wonderful news of job placement for our recent PhDs.
Amin Ehteshami was awarded a 6-year postdoc in Islamic Studies at Humboldt University, Berlin.
Eduardo Escobar was made Assistant Professor on Babylonian science at the University of Bologna for “AlchemEast,” an ERC project devoted to the study of alchemical theory and practice as it appeared and developed in the areas of Graeco-Roman Egypt, Byzantium, and the Near East, and covering the period from ancient Babylonia to the early Islamic Period (https://alchemeast.eu/). His dissertation is forthcoming with the University of Chicago Press under the title The Scribal Craft: Cuneiform Recipe Knowledge and the Language of Technology.
Aria Fani is Assistant Professor and Assistant to the Director of Persian and Iranian Studies Program in the Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Washington.
Linda Istanbulli is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Arabic Literature at Penn State University.
We are slowly moving through the process for the change in our departmental as well as major program name. The Office of Planning and Analysis (OPA) informs me that it we have made it to “stage four” of the process. The L&S Executive Committee and the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education (VCUE) have approved the change, and our proposal continues to make its way up through many other committees and offices, such as the Undergraduate Council. CAPRA and GC will be reviewing it in fall semester, and I believe the last step is DIVCO after that. Our effective date is Fall 2021.
Lastly, the project to remodel Barrows 8A and B, the Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew libraries is underway. Construction is due to begin after Thanksgiving. Our library committee, including many of our graduate students, has been working diligently to see this through, and, amazing under the circumstances, it is going to happen!
I wish everyone a very healthy and productive start to this AY!