Indiana University Bloomington
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Welcome to the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (NELC). The department was founded half a century ago, making it one of the oldest such departments in the nation. Its founding father was Professor Wadie Elias Jwaideh, a native of Iraq and an expert on the modern history of the Kurds who joined the faculty of IU in 1960. He served as chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures with exemplary dedication for over two decades, building a department with strengths in Arabic language and linguistics, Hebrew and Jewish studies, and Middle Eastern and Islamic history, culture, and religions. We are thus justifiably proud of belonging to one of the oldest and most venerable departments of its kind in the nation.

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Professor Stephen Katz, Departmental Chair


Weekly Announements

Please check out our weekly announcements here!

Professor Walbridge welcomes retired General David Patraeus into the Classroom

NELC's Professor John Walbridge and Col. Richard Welch welcomed retired General David Patraeus on Monday to speak to Walbridge's COLL-C 104, War in the Middle East class. Please see the link below for the full article in the IDS.
Petraeus skypes in to visit and talk with IU students.

15th Annual Victor Danner Lecture

We would like to thank everyone who came out to our annual Victor Danner Lecture. The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures welcomed Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl (UCLA Law) as the 15th Annual Victor Danner Memorial Lecturer. The lecture was held on Friday April 14, 2017 at 7:30 PM in the President's Room in the IMU University Club.
Professor El Fadl's lecture, "Shari'ah Law: Reasoning with God and the Challenge of the Unreasonable," built upon his latest book, "Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari'ah in the Modern Age," and continues the exploration of the role of authority, reason and reasonableness, and Shari'ah." For images and the video of the lecture please visit our Facebook site
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15th Annual Wadie Jwaideh Memorial Lecture

We thank everyone who came out to our Annual Jwaideh Lecture!
The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures welcomed Professor Malika Zeghal (Harvard University) as the 15th Annual Wadie Jwaideh Memorial Lecturer. The lecture was held Thursday November 10, 2016 at 7:00 pm in the Federal Room in the IMU.

ProfessorZeghal's lecture, “The Absent Secularists: Islam in the 2014 Tunisian Constitution,” addressed a number of issues surrounding the drafting of the constitution between 2012 and 2014 including Tunisians' debates on how they could continue to have a state "whose religion is Islam" while shaping a democracy for the first time in their history. Malika Zeghal examined how they constitutionalized these two imperatives without introducing Sharia Law in the 2014 Constitution.

Professor Asma Afsaruddin's Newest Publication!

SGIS in the Media has published a piece on Professor Asma Afsaruddin and her new book, Contemporary Issues in Islam, published last fall. Click here to read more.

Amazing News: NELC Awarded Arabic Language Flagship!

In January 2016, the National Security Education Program (NSEP) at the U.S. Department of Defense awarded the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at IU its first Arabic-language flagship program. "It's a great honor for NELC and IU to get the Arabic flagship," states Professor Salman Al-Ani, one of the writers of the flagship proposal.

For further information, check out this article from the IUB Newsroom.

NELC Ph.D. Student Yasin Ramazan Awarded the Louise McNutt Dissertation Fellowship!

The Louise McNutt Fellowship was established through the estate of Louise McNutt to support graduate fellowships in the College of Arts and Sciences in the humanities.

On receiving the award, Ramazan states, "This scholarship shows me something: all those years of learning have been recognized by the academic community. In my case, as a philosophy of religion student, I needed to seek common themes and discussions among medieval Muslim, Jew, Christian philosophers as well as early modern ones to connect them to contemporary problems of philosophy of religion. When I was notified for the Award, I realized that my efforts for seeking an original contribution to the field have come to fruition."

We have moved! We are no longer in Goodbody Hall, our home of many years. Our office is in the east wing of the brand new Global and International Studies Building, office space 3050: take the elevator to the third floor, and we are on the right.

Our beautiful new home!

The NELC office is settled into our new spaces at the Global and International Studies Building. We are thankful to our faculty and students for providing the office with wonderful decorative pieces from all over the Middle East. Come vist us and say "Marhaba"!

Check out our classes for Spring 2017

You can look at our schedule of classes here.


NELC is excited to spotlight students Basem Al-Raba'a, Seyed Asghari, Michael Bevers, and Zhaoya Colley who have all accomplished a very great deal this semester. We wish them and all of our students a safe and happy summer, and a hearty congratulations to those who have graduated!

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Student Accomplishments

Undergraduate student Tyler Russell has been awarded the Kate Hevner Mueller Senior Recognition Award.

Graduate student Benjamin Priest has been awarded an FLAS from the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center to continue his Turkish studies.

Graduate student Jermaine Butler has been awarded a CLS to study Persian in Tajikistan for Summer 2016.

Congratulations to our very successful NELC students!

Upcoming Events

After a year full of wonderful events, the 2015-2016 year has been completed!

Read the 2016 NELC Newsletter

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