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April 9, 2024

The MELC department mourns Professor Emerita Guitty Azarpay, esteemed colleague and member of the department between 1964 and 1994 (continuing as active emerita for another decade), who passed away in early April 2024.

March 19, 2024

The summer 2024 courses offered by MELC are open for registration. Please click here to find out more.

December 15, 2023

The MELC department mourns Grace Martin Smith, longtime Lecturer of Turkish, who passed away in October at the age of 92.

November 3, 2023

MELC is excited to announce that Dr. Yonatan Binyam will join the MELC faculty as an assistant professor of Ancient Mediterranean & Ethiopic Studies starting in Fall 2024. This position is the first time that Berkeley will host a full-time faculty member with a specialization in Ethiopic Studies, and represents an anticipated and exciting expansion of MELC's coverage of the pre-modern world to also include antique to medieval eastern Africa and the Red Sea region.

August 17, 2023

Solmaz Sharif will give the 2023 Maziar Maghsoodnia Memorial Fund Reading on September 13, 2023 at 4pm in the David Brower Center, Tamalpais Room. Following, she will be in conversation with Lubna Safi.

August 10, 2023

The MELC department mourns Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, an esteemed colleague and long-time member of the Department, who passed away in July, aged 92.

July 1, 2023

MELC is delighted to announce that Nora Jacobsen Ben Hammed is joining the department as Assistant Professor of Islamic Thought beginning in Fall 2023.

May 9, 2023

The Department of  Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures's Commencement Ceremony will take place at The Women's Faculty Club at 4:00PM on May 12, 2023.All Graduates (B.A., M.A., C.Phil, Ph.D) who received or will receive degrees in Fall 2022 and Spring and Summer 2023 are invited to participate in the ceremony. Names of all students who received awards and honors will be also announced.

May 1, 2023

Francesca Rochberg, Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professor (emerita) of Near Eastern Studies, was awarded the California Institute of Technology’s prestigious Francis Bacon Award in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology for 2022.

March 18, 2023

On March 17 and 18, 2023, the Center of Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) with the support of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society (CSTMS), the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM), the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC), and the Italian Institute of Culture, San Francisco hosted the multidisciplinary and multi-media conference The Past into the Future: Af

March 5, 2023

On March 3-4, 2023, the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Berkeley hosted the first Berkeley Workshop on Middle Persian Documents & Sealings. This virtual workshop brought together scholars from around the world to discuss, analyze, and advance the study of the valuable, yet still under-appreciated, collections of Middle Persian texts and sealings stemming from late Sasanian and early Islamic Iran, the Levant, Central Asia, and Egypt.

January 19, 2023

Francesca Rochberg, Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professor Emerita of Near Eastern Studies in the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, has been named as one of the 2023 Martin Meyerson Faculty Research Lecturers at UC Berkeley. For more than a century, UC Berkeley’s academic senate has selected distinguished faculty members whose research has changed the trajectory of their disciplines and expanded the global understanding of a subject.

August 15, 2022

Lubna Safi, a graduate student in MELC focusing on Arabic literature, has just published her debut collection of poetry Your Blue and the Quiet Lament, with Texas Tech University Press. The book is described as follows:

May 10, 2022

The Department of  Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures's Commencement Ceremony took place at The Women's Faculty Club on campus at 2:00PM on May 13, 2023.

Dr. John Hayes, emeritus lecturer in MELC, delivered a commencement speech entitled What do I care about the gender of turtles, redux.

Congratulations to all the graduates!

March 4, 2022

The inaugural Maziar Maghsoodnia Persian Poetry Reading will be given by Dr. Dominic Parviz Brookshaw, Senior Research Fellow in Persian and Professor of Persian Literature at Wadham College, University of Oxford. The event will be titled An Earthly Paradise or a City Teeming with Rabble? Shiraz as depicted in the poetry of Hafez and his contemporaries.

August 16, 2021

Nathalie Khankan's poetry collection Quiet Orient Riot, published in 2020 with the University of Chicago Press, was awarded the 2021 California Book Award in Poetry. Many congratulations to Nathalie!

The book is described as follows:

May 1, 2020

A new start-up fund will allow the University of California, Berkeley to bring Assyrian studies into the curriculum by supporting visiting faculty, courses, digital projects, and conferences, the campus announced. The efforts, made possible by a $675,000 gift from Nora Betyousef Lacey, will include support for a visiting faculty member in the Department of Near Eastern Studies in the College of Letters and Science. At the discretion of the dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities, the fund may be shared jointly with the Department of History.