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Middle East Studies for the New MilleniuInfrastructures of Knowledge$
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Seteney Shami and Cynthia Miller-Idriss

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479827787

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479827787.001.0001

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Area Studies and the Decade after 9/11

Area Studies and the Decade after 9/11

(p.351) Chapter Nine Area Studies and the Decade after 9/11
Middle East Studies for the New Milleniu

Seteney Shami

Marcial Godoy-Anativia

NYU Press

This chapter examines the complex intersection of intellectual, institutional, and political processes that have, after the events of 9/11, cumulatively contributed to the current state of area studies in American universities. At the broadest level, the polemics surrounding Middle East studies (MES) call into question the “utility” of the social sciences and the humanities and the role of the university in society. Examination of changes in daily practices on campuses, institutional architectures, and intellectual trends in MES, as perceived and articulated in interviews with faculty, students, and administrators shows mixed results, both negative and positive: criticism concerning the “irrelevance” of MES is accompanied by increased public demand for academic information and outreach activities; attempts to establish mechanisms for outside intervention in university centers of MES is accompanied by increased interest by university administrators in the importance of the field; dismissal by some politicians of the ability of universities to teach Arabic to fulfill national needs is accompanied by skyrocketing demand from students for language classes.

Keywords:   Middle East studies, area studies, American universities, social sciences, humanities

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