Asian & Middle Eastern Studies offers a curriculum that reflects the geocultural specificities of the areas and an increasing awareness of the interconnectedness of the world. The curriculum, based on a theoretical framework that examines contemporary national and ethnic cultures of Asia and Middle East within a global context, provides students with a critical understanding of the languages, literatures, and cultures in the regions. The AMES major seeks to develop deep linguistic and transcultural competence and analytical abilities in order to prepare students for professional work or advanced graduate study in a number of international arenas.
AMES offers language coursework in Arabic, modern Hebrew, Hindi, Chinese, Japanese and Korean at all levels from introductory to advanced. The language courses aim to develop the abilities to view the target culture as well as one’s own from the perspective of the language and to interpret, communicate and negotiate effectively in the language in a variety of settings for a variety of purposes. We encourage the furtherance and expansion of the language study begun at Duke in the context of study abroad programs designed, selected or approved by the department in such locations as Cairo, Beijing or Kunming. In conjunction with language courses, AMES offers a range of courses covering literatures and cultures of the nations, regions and areas, taught in English and ranging from first-year seminars to advanced work for upper-division majors. The courses foster a view of language, literature and culture at once indigenous and global, informed by local histories of internal development as well as by theories of cross-cultural influence. This view draws on theoretical inquiries into indigenous cultural identities associated with such conceptual categories as gender, class, ethnicity, nation, aesthetics, and sexuality.
Our mission for undergraduate education is: to help students to develop a high degree of fluency in the language(s) of concentration, spoken and written, and to foster an informed view of language, literature and culture based on the knowledge of local traditions and a theoretical understanding of interconnectedness of the globe. The course requirements for the major provide an intellectual foundation that includes both study of language and culture practice and a critical framework for analyzing cultural experience.