Middle Eastern Literature, Culture, and Media

Middle Eastern Literary and Cultural studies in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies include the study of a broad range of classical and modern literary and cultural texts of the Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Urdu speaking worlds and their diasporas. Expertise in the department covers pre-Islamic and classical Arabic poetry, as well as modern and contemporary Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, and Urdu prose, poetry, film, and cultures. Emphasis is placed on the historical and political processes that have constituted Middle Eastern cultures, texts, and subjectivities, while also situating them within broader international, postcolonial, and transregional phenomena and trends.

The graduate program in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures and Media employs transdisciplinary approaches to the study of the literatures and cultures of the Middle East. Consideration of the historical and political contexts out of which texts emerge and into which they intervene is combined with formalist approaches that center cultural texts, broadly conceived, as objects of study. Moreover, a diverse array of theoretical and conceptual approaches to literary and cultural production are taken. These include but are not limited to:

  • Literary and cinematic aesthetics and politics
  • History and theory of poetics
  • Gender and sexuality in Middle Eastern literatures, cinema, and cultural production
  • Nation, nationalism, and national identity formation
  • Colonialism, empire, resistance, and postcoloniality
  • Modernity and modernization
  • World Literature, global modernism, transcultural contacts, and comparative approaches
  • Environmental humanities and ecocriticism
  • Violence and historical memory

Graduate students interested in situating the cultural production of the Middle East within a broader transregional scope benefit from AMCM’s extensive range of faculty expertise in South Asia, China, Korea, and Japan.


Visit the department's faculty page for information about current faculty members who specialize in Middle Eastern literature, culture, and media.

Resources and Activities