About the Initiative

The Islamic Studies Initiative is focused on expanding academic programming in Islamic studies and the apposite fields of Arabic and Middle Eastern studies on the University of Oregon campus. By signing up through the link below, you express your support for this programming, and will be included on all pertinent announcements and developments.

Our Areas of Focus

Arabic Studies

Arabic Studies offers three years of Modern Standard Arabic, courses in Arabic-Islamic texts, and courses on Arab Cinema and Introduction to Arab Culture. There is also an Arabic Studies Minor, and a GEO Intensive Arabic summer program in Amman, Jordan. Relevant faculty in Arabic Studies at UO include Michael Allan of Comparative Literature, Malek al-Najjar of Theatre Arts, Angela Joya of Comparative Literature, and Rick Colby and David Hollenberg of Religious Studies. The department is served by our two dynamic faculty of modern standard Arabic, Faten Arfaoui and Hanan Elsherif. For more information about Arabic Studies, please contact David Hollenberg at dbh@uoregon.edu.

Middle Eastern Studies

The University of Oregon offers a minor with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), as a broad examination of the  region. The minor is designed to offer flexibility so that students may focus on particular areas of interest while providing all students with an introduction to critical issues in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa. The director of the program Dr. Diane Baxter in Anthropology focuses on Palestine/Israel, Angela Joya in International Studies, Shaul Cohen in Geography, and a great many other affiliate faculty may be found on the MENA website.

Islamic World

The University of Oregon is served by four faculty who concentrate on the Islamic world in their research and teaching. Anita Weiss in International Studies specializes in social, political, and legal change in Pakistan. Angela Joya in International Studies focuses on popular contestations of the economic and political systems and the role of international financial systems in the MENA region. Rick Colby in Religious Studies has written extensively on Arabic narratives on a central story in the biography of the Prophet Muhammad, the night journey (isra) and ascension (mi’raj). David Hollenberg in Religious Studies has written on medieval Islamic esotericism, and is currently researching medieval and modern scholasticism in general, and among contemporary Zaydis in particular.


Upcoming Islamic Studies Initiative Events

Whither Seasons in our Fast Food Lives: Reflections on Islamic ritual memory and the season’s first fruits in Turkey
Thursday, May 24, McKenzie Hall, Room 125, 4 p.m.

The Art of Omani Quranic Illumination and Calligraphy
Thursday, March 1, Knight Library Browsing Room, 4 p.m.

Symposium: Islam, Feminism, and the Women’s Mosque Movement
Friday, October 27 at 9 am to 5 pm



Express Your Interest in and Support for Islamic, Arabic, and Middle Eastern Studies

Sign on to our email list-serve, where you will receive information about upcoming events, courses, and programming in these fields.