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Arts and Sciences Learning Objectives

ILCS (International Literary and Cultural Studies)

Arabic Program

Program overview:

Arabic is the fifth most widely spoken language in the world and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. The Arabic major is structured around an assortment of language, literature and culture courses offering training in the study of the Arabic language at all levels, in addition to topics relating to Arab cultures and traditions. It offers a strong foundation in Modern Standard Arabic, as well as a wide range of courses taught in English on modern and classical Arabic literatures, cinema, gender and other cultural topics.

Starting at beginner's level, students are trained to reach the Advanced Level as described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines by the end of their four years. In the first two years, students focus upon interpersonal communication, the study of the fundamentals of Arabic grammar, and the absorption of appropriate vocabulary for intermediate fluency in the language. In the third year, study-abroad to the Arab world is encouraged and supported. By the fourth year, students work with primary authentic texts and have some choice in focusing their studies in areas including: literature, media (journalism), cinema, etc.

In addition the core language studies, the major offers a range of courses designed to put the language into historical context and provide an insight into the vast treasury of Arabic literature. These include the opportunity select courses from across the university, including classical and modern Arabic literature and visual arts, politics and international relations, Middle Eastern history, anthropology of the Arab world, and Islam.

Intellectual objectives:

  • Gaining a high fluency in Modern Standard Arabic, both in oral and written forms,
  • Developing critical thinking skills relating to an understanding of the role of Arabic within a global context,
  • Developing a strong understanding of the history and development of the cultural contexts within which Arabic is used,
  • Gaining a broad knowledge and appreciation of the development of Arabic literary and visual cultural traditions from classical to modern,
  • Forming an understanding of the key role of Arabic in the development of the canons of global humanities.

Practical objectives:

  • How to read, analyze, translate and contextualize original Arabic language texts,
  • How to assess data and evidence critically from texts, manuscripts and digital sources, solve problems of conflicting sources and conflicting interpretations,
  • How to use fundamental research techniques involving locating appropriate research materials, the use of research sources and other relevant traditional sources,
  • To be able to draw from a variety of Arabic textual sources, including literary works, historical texts, films, journalism, new media, to name a few,
  • To be able to discuss Arabic texts with a strong understanding of the contexts of their production, reception and circulation,
  • To be able to work effectively in collaboration with peers,
  • To be able to work independently and individually,
  • To be able to write effectively in communicating original ideas and research findings,
  • To be able to orally present ideas relating to their studies in a variety of settings.

Culminating experience (assessment):

Students in the final year of an Arabic major will be asked to make an oral presentation in Arabic on a research topic developed in consultation with the Arabic staff, and to answer questions on their topic afterwards.

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