Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at WashU
Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures is an academic department, unique in North America, in which Jewish Studies and Islamic Studies are integrated. It is an interdisciplinary department whose purpose is to explore the historical experience, literary, religious and cultural expression, and political and material life of the Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern civilizations. Whether you favor the study of language, literature, religion, history, or politics, you will find in our courses a way to deepen your appreciation of these complex and diverse societies and cultures. You will also be encouraged to explore the interaction of Jews and Muslims with neighboring societies and cultures in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and other parts of the world.
Our majors and minors have gone on to do many things after graduation. Many have entered professional schools in such fields as law, journalism, education, the rabbinate or ministry, government, and communal or social work. Others have gone on to do graduate work in either Jewish or Islamic studies or in related disciplines. Still others have combined their interest in Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures with careers in business, medicine, or scientific research. All have found the major to have been an intellectually and emotionally rewarding experience and an important component of their overall development.
We have two types of majors: JINES (Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Studies) and Language and Culture. The Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Studies major focuses on history, literature, politics, and religion. The language and culture majors focus on specific languages and cultures. All majors require language study.
For every student, our goal is to:
- Convey an appreciation for the complexities, depth, diversity, and cultural richness of Jewish and Islamic civilizations in their historical context from antiquity to the present.
- Explore the interaction of Jewish, Islamic, and other Near Eastern societies and cultures with neighboring peoples both within and outside the Middle East.
- Encourage mastery of the primary languages and literatures in which Jews and Muslims have expressed their cultures.
- Prepare students for graduate or professional studies in these or related fields.