Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies

The Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies administers the major and minor in Islamic and Arabic Studies. It is committed to supporting teaching and research on the lives of Muslim and Arabic-speaking peoples past and present.

The center’s study of the Islamic world focuses on the global context in which Islam emerged historically, the cultures and societies that it helped shape, most especially in Eurasia and Africa, and the current global condition in which people in the Islamic world situate them-selves today. It sees the Arabic language as the cultural medium for diverse ways of life that are of world historical significance.

Founded in 2000, the center is multi-disciplinary and includes in its scope of study the Arabic and Persian languages and literatures; the history of Muslim and Arabic-speaking peoples; political, economic,and social dynamics of contemporary societies; art and architecture; social, political, religious, and philosophic thought; and the experience of Muslim communities in the United States and around the world.

The Center’s goals are

to develop and sustain a state of the art curriculum in Islamic and Arabic Studies at SDSU.
to organize outreach activities and programs that help educate the San Diego community at large
to engage in scholarly research in the national and international arenas.

Islamic and Arabic Studies Degree

College of Arts & Letters Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies Director Dr. Ahmet Kuru and Undergraduate Advisor Dr. Hisham Foad have been working diligently on a degree program revision for more than two years. Today, their persistence and steadfast commitment has paid off as their work has resulted in a new major degree program -- the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Islamic and Arabic Studies. No other university in this region offers such a major.

For the past decade, a major in Islamic and Arabic Studies was housed within the Social Sciences program at SDSU. After determining that the program could benefit from an update and reimagination, Kuru and Foad set to work to recreate it. Several reviews by the CSU Chancellor’s office allowed opportunities to refine it, and in the end, according to Kuru, “The degree became an elegant and well-defined program with long-lasting relevance to students.”

This truly interdisciplinary degree program promises to allow a growing population of students, interested in Middle Eastern topics, to focus on relevant research and a robust curriculum. The new collectively revised degree program offers a broad range of subjects to include economics, linguistics, women’s studies, history, religion, political science, and culture. Students will discover a cohesive common core that represents both Islamic and Arabic emphases.

Beginning in Fall 2019, students will be awarded a degree in Islamic and Arabic Studies, rather than one in Social Sciences -- further defining a student’s niche area of study. This major enables students to pursue a multitude of career opportunities in the U.S. and abroad. These include work in Non-Governmental Organizations, the public sector including the Foreign Service, and the corporate world. The presence in San Diego County and other urban centers in the nation of large communities from Muslim-majority countries opens opportunities for work in local government and the social service sector. Students who wish to pursue further studies are well-prepared by this major to pursue M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in multiple disciplines connected to Islamic & Arabic Studies, as well as professional degrees such as law and library science.

CIAS offers a broad range of courses related to Islamic and Arabic studies in cooperation with various departments in CAL. The courses include those on Arabic language; history of the Middle East, in particular, and the Muslim world, in general; the relationship between Islam and politics; theological and legal aspects of Islam; and women in Muslim-majority societies.

The latest addition to our curriculum is “POLS 300: Islam and Politics,” which was added to SDSU course catalog last year. The course aims to provide students with a global understanding of Islam and its political implications, by comparing cases from (Central, Southeastern, and South) Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans, North Africa, and West Africa. Its scope will also be broad. The course includes such important issues as Islamist ideology; Islamic movements; the idea of caliphate; Islam, secularism, and the state; Islam, authoritarianism, and democracy; Islam, violence, and peace; and Muslim minorities in Western countries.

Other Press Coverage:

SDSU to Offer New Major in Islamic and Arabic Studies
(Source: SDSU NewsCenter)

SDSU Offering New Major in Islamic and Arabic Studies
(Source: La Jolla Village News)