This research guide covers the different disciplines that fall under the umbrella of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. Use the tabs above for information about specific types of resources. Please note that while some electronic resources are freely available, others are subscription services provided by the Cornell University Library, so remote access may be necessary when accessing from off-campus.
For the purposes of Cornell Library's Middle East and Islamic Studies, the geographic areas covered include: Mauritania, Morocco and the Western Sahara, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, the Sudan, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel & Palestine (modern), Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.
Historians, political scientists, and others have defined world regions in terms such as race & ethnicity, culture, language & linguistics, religion, historical unity, climatic similarity, and / or geographic compactness. One of the first questions encountered by anyone who wants to study the region is what the "Middle East" is, specifically what countries it involves. There is, however, a lack of consensus on one single definition of a region that after all stretches over three different continents; and people even refer to it variously by such terms as "Near East," "Mideast" or "Middle East." In modern times, the designation "Middle East," was applied by Westerners who viewed the area as midway between Europe and East Asia, which they call the Far East. There is at least agreement over the view that the Middle East is more than a mere geographical concept and that there are compelling historical, cultural, religious, political, social, and economic reasons for considering it as an entity apart.
It is not, for example, the land of the Arabs (millions of Turkic, Indo-European, and other peoples live in the region). It is not even, as many presuppose, the land of Islam (in terms of population and territorial size, the largest Islamic countries are outside of the traditional boundaries of the Middle East. Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan all have larger Muslim populations than any country in what we call the Middle East). Historically, most of Iberia was under Islamic control for the better part of 700 years, and most of the Balkans for almost as long. Hence:
Bahrein; Egypt; Iran; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Oman; Palestine; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Syria; Turkey ; United Arab Emirates (federation comprised of seven sheikdoms: Ajman, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Qawain); Yemen
.The Caucusus: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia;
.Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
.Horn of Africa: Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania)
.Maghreb: Algeria, Libya, Morocco & the Western Sahara, Tunisia
.Sahel & Sudan: Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan
.South Asia: Afghanistan, Pakistan
*Demographics : Middle East & North Africa / Vienna: Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior, 2018.
Teaching & Learning
The Maydan team presents this mapping/database resource to help future applicants in the fields of Religious/Islamic Studies and Middle Eastern/Near Eastern Studies in their application process. [The database/map includes application deadlines for graduate programs, links to program pages and information for undergraduate programs as well].
Was Lawrence of Arabia Good for the Arab World? Adapted from Mason’s LEFT-HANDED IN AN ISLAMIC WORLD: An Anthropologist’s Journey into the Middle East, New Academia Publishing, 2017.
Sunnis and Shia: Islam's ancient schism - BBC, UK.
Crescent (symbol of Islam) WHAT is the origin of the crescent moon symbol seen throughout Islamic cultures? Source: theguardian.com
Ten Things Everyone Needs to Know about Islam - Excerpts from Esposito, John L. What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies - Taylor & Francis Concepts in Islamic Studies series spans a number of subject areas that are closely linked to the religion.
... More 'Concepts" @ Cornell University Library
Intro to Islam Research Paper / Lynette White, ....
American Religion Data Archive The ARDA collection includes data on USA religious groups (individuals, congregations and denominations). The collection consists of individual surveys covering various groups and topics.
Religions of the book - faculty.fairfield.edu Three world religious traditions have their origins in the Middle East-Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-but there are also a number of more highly localized traditions. These include Zoroastrianism (primarily in Iran); the Druze of Lebanon, Syria, and Israel; and the Kurdish-speaking Yazidi-s of northern Iraq, each with their own traditions of religious identity and practice. [WORLD RELIGIONS -The Middle East and Central Asia: an anthropological approach].
As befits a topic that is global in scope, increasingly controversial in nature, and the focus of academic inquiry for more than half a century, the literature on political Islam is voluminous. The readings presented here represent some of the most important efforts to study contemporary Islamism using the tools, methodologies, and academic rigor associated with the humanities and social sciences. Though hardly exhaustive, this list will provide the reader with a sense of how the study of political Islam—in major publications either written or available in English—as an object of academic inquiry has evolved over the years.