University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400781
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4781
(434) 982-2304 Fax: (434) 924-6977
Overview The Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies major is an interdisciplinary concentration featuring a core of language work and additional coursework in the Middle East or South Asia. Not all concentration courses must be from within MESA-LC. For instance, a course on Islam in Religious Studies would count towards a concentration in either the Middle East or South Asia regions. Current lists of possible concentration courses are on the MESA-LC website. Students are also encouraged to take MESA-LC and related courses outside their geographical region of concentration. The Middle Eastern languages taught in MESA-LC are Arabic, modern Hebrew (with Biblical Hebrew taught in Religious Studies), and Persian. The South Asian languages taught are Hindi, Sanskrit, and Urdu. Each of these languages carries a culture of world-wide importance and a literature of profound depth and beauty. In the twenty-first century knowledge and understanding of this part of the world, from Egypt to Bangladesh, will become increasingly important for people in any profession or field of endeavor.
The Department reserves the right to place any student in the course most appropriate to his or her skill level. Such placement is the responsibility of the coordinator for each language program, and should be made by the fifth class meeting.
Literature courses in MESA-LC are offered in all these languages. Most literature courses are offered in the language and many are offered in English, with readings in translation. In addition to courses in language and in literature, courses offered in many other departments and programs—Anthropology, Art History, History, Politics, and Religious Studies— are required for MESA-LC’s majors, giving MESA-LC students a multidisciplinary perspective.
The MESA-LC curriculum is designed to give students a high level of language competency and a deep understanding of the Middle East or South Asia. The Department offers a Studies Major, a Studies Minor, a Languages and Literatures Major, and a Distinguished Major for exceptional students in either the Studies or the Languages and Literatures Major. Some graduates find employment in their geographical region of study, while others go on to graduate or professional schools for further study. Whichever the case, study in MESA-LC is an intense, intimate and rewarding experience, and MESA-LC students as well prepared for the future.