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NMC Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations

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The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations is concerned with the interdisciplinary study of the civilizations and cultures of the Near and Middle East from neolithic times until the present, including their languages and literatures Akkadian (Assyro-Babylonian), Arabic, Aramaic and its closely related dialect Syriac, ancient Egyptian, (biblical, rabbinic, mediaeval and modern) Hebrew, (Hellenistic) Greek, Persian and Turkish, archaeology, history, art and architecture. Near East is generally understood to refer to the region at the eastern end of the Mediterranean and beyond, from ancient times up to the advent of Islam in the seventh century C.E. Middle East refers to a much broader geographical area whose predominant Islamic culture in mediaeval and modern times has stretched to North Africa and Spain in the west and to Central Asia, India and South Asia in the east. The Departmentís programs are conceived in the broad tradition of the humanities and provide an opportunity to study non-western complex societies and civilizations, an understanding of which will reveal the ultimate roots, and help to appreciate the historical development, of western civilization.

As it happens, three world religions originated in this geographical region. The Department offers courses on the origins and earliest phases of Judaism and, as a contributor to the Jewish Studies Program, on mediaeval and modern Jewish history, culture and thought, even though such pursuits sometimes lead to Europe and other places beyond the Middle East. Although the Department deals with eastern (Syriac) Christianity, the study of Christianity as a religion falls within the purview of the Department for the Study of Religion. The study of Islam as a religion and the development of Islamic thought, and their role in the creation of Islamic civilization, are major concerns of the Department.

NMC101Y1 introduces students to the ancient Near East. NMC201Y1 presents an historical and thematic survey of the civilizations and cultures of the mediaeval and modern Middle East and provides background necessary for comprehending the complex issues facing that region today. Students particularly interested in the world and/or religion of Islam should start with NMC185Y1. The student with a special interest in Jewish studies should start with RLG202Y1.

Students wishing to follow a Specialist program should choose their courses with the advice of the Undergraduate Coordinator. Those intending to proceed to a graduate degree in a particular area will obviously want to concentrate their course choices in that area and would do well to acquire a reading knowledge of German and French as early as possible. Some knowledge of anthropology and a course or two in linguistics would be useful. The Department, however, welcomes students of all academic backgrounds who wish to learn about the Middle East, including those who do not intend to specialize or major. Many courses offered in the Department do not require any knowledge of the languages of the region. Students should consult the Departmentís website <www.utoronto.ca/nmc> for more detailed information about courses and programs.

Undergraduate Enquiries:

4 Bancroft Avenue, Room 200, (416-978-3306)

Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations Programs

Enrolment in NMC programs is open to anyone who has completed four courses; no minimum GPA required.

Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (Arts program)

Specialist Program:
(11 full courses or their equivalent, including at least four 300+ series courses, one of which must be a 400-series course. At least 9 must be NMC courses.)

First Year:
NMC101Y1/NMC185Y1/NMC201Y1. One of the four Language and Literature courses could also be taken in the First Year

Higher Years:
1. Four courses in Language and Literature
2. Three courses in History and/or Religion and Philosophy
3. Two courses in Archaeology and/or Art and Material Culture
4. One additional course

Major program:
(6 full courses or their equivalent, including at least two 300+ series courses. At least 5 must be NMC courses.)

First Year: Any NMC course

Higher Years: Five additional courses
N.B. Admission to a Graduate Program in NMC requires the applicant to have acquired a background in languages.

Minor program:
4 full courses or their equivalent, including at least one 300+ series course. All 4 must be NMC courses.

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