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The Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies serves as the intellectual home for faculty and students engaged in the study of Asian and Middle Eastern languages and cultures at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Equally, through research, teaching, and service, we foster the study of Asian and Middle Eastern artistic and literary expression, history, and politics.  We define Asia and the Middle East (and the Asian and Middle Eastern diasporas) broadly, aiming to instill appreciation for Asian and Middle Eastern cultures while building awareness of the differences among the regions and the more than four billion people unified by the terms “Asia and the Middle East.”

We strongly believe in the University’s mission to promote original research.  We are proud of the ways that our internationally renowned faculty is expanding knowledge of Asia and the Middle East through theoretically sophisticated, scholarly publications and lectures.  This research serves as the basis for an outstanding array of classes on Asia and the Middle East that provide students in-depth education in Asian and Middle Eastern pasts and present, and encourages them, too, to reflect on their relationship to local and global dynamics and to become adept at both critical thinking and oral and written expression.  Our commitment to research leads in turn to our goal of making a positive impact on the intellectual lives of our students by guiding their academic and creative pursuits.

We are enthusiastic learners and teachers of Asian and Middle Eastern languages.  We firmly believe that language competencies constitute the long-term foundation upon which any serious intellectual or practical engagement with Asian and Middle Eastern societies and cultures must rest.  Our instructors share a commitment to teaching with the latest methods, experimenting with effective technology, and developing student language proficiency through the three Cs of “communication, culture, and community.”  The department regularly organizes activities that enrich students’ language learning, introducing them, for example, to the foods, martial arts, contemporary and classical music, and spiritual practices found in Asia and the Middle East.  Building connections with Asian and Middle Eastern individuals visiting or living in the Triangle area provides one way to give our students firsthand opportunity to speak the language that they are studying outside the classroom.  We also work closely with the UNC Study Abroad Office to develop programs for Carolina students to enhance their language learning and cultural competency with study in Asia and the Middle East.

The Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies actively supports the University’s mission to encourage publicly engaged scholarship, especially as this serves the people of the state of North Carolina. Our faculty members regularly speak on their areas of expertise at workshops for K-12 educators, to community groups, and to public school audiences.  Faculty organize special events, lead film series, consult on community efforts, and participate in public life in numerous ways that enhance North Carolinians’ opportunities to learn about and from Asia and the Middle East.  Publishing in newspapers and on internet sites, speaking on radio and TV programs, we strive to teach and to be taught by the public’s concerns and interests.

The Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies aims to promote communication among all at UNC Chapel Hill interested in Asia and the Middle East.  Faculty scholarship is strongly interdisciplinary.  Our courses complement the disciplinary study of Asia and the Middle East in other Carolina departments, including Anthropology, Art History, City and Regional Planning, Comparative Literature, Economics, Geography, History, Linguistics, Political Science, Religious Studies, and Sociology.  We value our links with other departments and centers on campus, and also strive to build connections with other institutions in the state.

The Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and the College of Arts and Sciences support the University’s core values encouraging diversity and equal educational and employment opportunities throughout the University community. These values are articulated in the University’s nondiscrimination policy and by the office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.

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