Image for CNES Multimedia pic


The Center connects scholars, journalists, and the general public to a rich array of resources on the Middle East and North Africa.

UCLA's Averroës Lecture Series focuses on Jewish communities living in Muslim lands prior to the 20th century. This webpage offers podcasts, Occasional Papers, and videos of each lecture.

The Center for Near Eastern Studies hosts conferences and provide as educational resources.

Giorgio Levi Della Vida Series in Islamic Studies

The Giorgio Levi Della Vida Award is given to outstanding scholars whose work has significantly and lastingly advances the study of Islamic civilization. The scholar is selected by a committee appointed by the Chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, meeting under the chairmanship of the Director of the Center for Near Eastern Studies.

This webpage offers podcasts of the conference held for the 2019 Giorgio Levi Della Vida Award for Excellence in Islamic Studies.

The UCLA Newsroom maintains a Media Guide to UCLA Experts. Click here for Middle East experts and their specialties. 

The Newsroom also offers fast facts about UCLA and further information for journalists.

Online resources from manuscript workshops demonstrate ongoing efforts to train scholars, and aligns with the Center's mission to disseminate knowledge about the countries and cultures of the Middle East and North African region.

A May 2019 workshop provided a hands-on introduction to Islamic manuscripts and manuscript culture using the extensive holdings of the Special Collections at UCLA's Charles E. Young Research Library. This webpage offers videos with some resources listed in pdf documents. 

An August 2021 Arabic Manuscripts workshop was co-organized by UCLA and Princeton University faculty. Both universities' combined library holdings represent the two largest repositories of Islamicate manuscripts in North America. The workshop equipped emerging scholars with the basic tools to conduct research using original handwritten texts in Arabic script. Workshop recordings are available online.

Centers within UCLA’s International Institute have been producing innovative language teaching and reference materials for several decades. Here we offer a sample of Middle Eastern language-learning resources from UCLA’s Center for Near Eastern Studies, Center for World Languages, and other language resource centers across the nation.

CNES also has a new funding opportunity available for UCLA faculty who teach Middle East and North African (MENA) language courses.

UCLA Language Faculty Professional Development Travel Grants

Travel grants are available for conferences, workshops, training, and research activities that will enhance language instruction. For more information and how to apply, click HERE.

Multi-language resources

Listen to Learn
An interactive multimedia resource for introducing Arabic (Lebanese, Egyptian, Iraqi, Moroccan,and Modern Standard), Persian, Turkish and Urdu languages to middle and high school students. The lessons are built on video clips of high school heritage speakers introducing themselves and talking about activities, food, and proverbs. Produced by the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies and the UCLA International Institute.

UCLA Language Materials Project
A comprehensive bibliographic database of teaching resources for 150 less commonly taught languages, along with a K-12 portal that provides free tools and lesson plans for developing an entire year’s course. Produced by UCLA's Center for World Languages. The site is currently offline due to reduced funding, but it offers a survey where users can indicate their interest in having the site available on the web again.

Teaching Heritage Languages
A free online workshop for language teachers seeking differentiated instruction for students who grew up speaking the language at home. Produced by UCLA's National Heritage Language Resource Center.

National Middle East Language Resource Center
Tools for professional development, program evaluation, and student assessment in teaching Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. From Brigham Young University.

Downloadable video clips of authentic conversations with people of different ages and walks of life who speak less commonly taught languages, including colloquial Arabic (Egyptian, Levantine, North African, Western Saharan, and Yemeni), Persian, and Turkish. Topics include family, food, school, work, sports, and customs. From the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages.

Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning
Free language learning materials for Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. From the University of Texas, Austin.

Today's Front Pages
Produced by the Newseum in Washington, DC, this resource displays current front pages of over 800 newspapers from around the world in many languages. Each listing includes the newspaper’s web address for further reading. Use the “Sort by Region” box to select a world region. Newspapers within each region are displayed in alphabetical order of the country names.

Digital Dialects
Online vocabulary building activities for learning alphabets and beginner vocabulary such as numbers, colors, days and months. Includes Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, and many other languages. 

A database of listening materials in Hebrew, including videos from television shows. Also provides online exercises and reading assignments. From Stanford University. 

Persian Online
An online reference grammar of Persian for use as a supplemental resource for teachers and students. Additional features include a history of the language, instructions for writing and typing Persian, cultural videos, audio vocabulary lists, and multiple choice quizzes. 

Turkish Tutor
An innovative self-paced online program that enables students to learn colloquial Turkish through lessons based on culturally nuanced vignettes from the popular Turkish television program Bizimkiler, produced by the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies and the UCLA International Institute.

Turkic Language Learning and Teaching Resources
A comprehensive list of materials for learning and teaching Turkic languages including Modern Turkish, Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Turkmen, Uygur, and Uzbek, as well as a list of newspapers and dictionaries for Modern Turkish. From the American Association of Teachers of Turkic Languages.

Deep Approach to Turkish Teaching and Learning
Twenty-nine intermediate and advances Turkish language learning modules focusing on culture, supported by videos, for intermediate and advanced levels. Produced at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with collaboration from other universities in the US and Turkey.

Turkish class
136 Turkish lessons via podcasts that are 10-15 minutes long.

An Annotated Bibliography of Online Turkish Sources
A 2016 compilation of resources for Turkish teachers and students of Turkish, from the UCLA Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures.

The Center supports acquisitions for the UCLA Library’s Middle East and Islamic studies research collection, which is available to both scholars and the public. With over 500,000 volumes, it is the largest Middle East collection in the western United States. The Department of Special Collections houses over 10,000 manuscripts in Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Ottoman Turkish and Persian. Other specialized collections are housed in the Art, Biomedical, Music and Law Libraries.

Below are links to some helpful UCLA Library guides to assist researchers.

Remote research guides
Podcasts of recorded sessions on remote research possibilities with Middle East research expert librarians offer guidance on a range of digital collections of Middle Eastern materials and discuss strategies for conducting research online. Lists and links to the resources mentioned in the forums accompany each corresponding video session.

Area-studies research guides
The guides are portals to online research resources on the Middles Eastern Studies, Ancient Near East and Egypt, Jewish studies, and Jewish Los Angeles. They offer links to online dictionaries, encyclopedias, and bibliographies; databases and indexes; e-book and journal collections, and online archives, image repositories and maps.

Instructional Media Library
Over a thousand Middle East-related film titles are available from UCLA’s Instructional Media Library and Film and Television Archive, including features, documentaries and newsreels from the region, Middle East-themed Hollywood films (from The Sheikh of 1921 to Three Kings of 1999), and works on the Middle Eastern diaspora such as the CNES-produced documentary Arabs in America. These resources are widely used in undergraduate courses, language instruction, film studies, and for individual viewing.

Center for Primary Research and Training
The UCLA Library created the Center for Primary Research and Training to integrate special collections materials more fully into the teaching and research mission of the university. The Center trains graduate students in archival methods through creation of resource guides for other library users.

The Minasian Collection of Persian and Arabic Manuscripts
The Minasian Collection of Persian and Arabic manuscripts consists of works related to the studies of theologians and scholars in centers of learning in Iran from the 16th through the 19th centuries. The manuscripts, which include both bound collections and single works, chiefly date from the 14th to the 17th centuries, and shed light on the social, religious, and political history of Iran and Shi’ism.

Contact information for UCLA Library staff with MENA specialties can be found HERE

This pilot program will provide historical, legal and political overview and analysis of ethnic and religious minorities in the MENA region with the aim of broadening our understanding of the region and helping to transform the scholarship and teaching on the region.

This webpage offers resources from activities of this program.
An international conference was held at UCLA in 2018 to assess the changes in the Middle East from the Iraq invasion through the Arab uprisings that have altered the regional balance of power, called into question the viability of some existing states, and led to the emergence and proliferation of both violent non-state actors and new civil society movements and organizations.

This webpage offers videos and podcasts of all of the conference events.

The bibliographies below are the product of a joint project by our Center's Teaching Lab and the UCLA recipients of GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) Fellowships. The bibliographies represent a wide range of disciplines and topics and are prepared by GAANN graduate fellows in their areas of study as a part of their year-long Middle East pedagogy training workshops. The bibliographies provide an introductory list of must-read books mostly in English for anyone who would like to learn more about the Middle East.

History of the Modern Middle East

  • Anderson, Betty S. A History of the Modern Middle East: Rulers, Rebels, and Rogues. 2016.
  • Beinin, Joel. Workers and Peasants in the Modern Middle East. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • Cleveland, William L. A History of the Modern Middle East. 6th edition. Boulder: Westview Press, 2016.
  • Gelvin, James L. The Modern Middle East: A History. 4th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • Hanioğlu, M. Şükrü. A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2010.
  • Hourani, Albert et al. (eds.) The Modern Middle East. New York: I.B. Tauris, 2004.
  • Quataert, Donald. The Ottoman Empire: 1700-1922. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Modern Middle East Anthropology

  • Abu El Haj, Nadia. Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.
  • Abu-Lughod, Lila. Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
  • Deeb, Lara. An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi‘i Lebanon. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008. 
  • Hamdy, Sherine. Our bodies belong to God: organ transplants, Islam, and the struggle for human dignity in Egypt. Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, 2012.
  • Massad, Joseph. Desiring Arabs. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Critical Education and the Middle East

  • Arnove, Robert F. et al. (eds.) Comparative education: The dialectic of the global and the local. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012.
  • Bevis, Teresa B. Higher Education Exchange Between America and the Middle East Through the Twentieth Century. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
  • Fleming, Mike et al. (eds.) Education for intercultural citizenship: concepts and comparisons (Vol. 13). Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 2006.
  • Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, 2000. Kellner, Douglas. Media culture: Cultural studies, identity and politics between the modern and the post-modern. New York: Routledge, 2003.
  • Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books, 1978.

Introduction to Islam

  • Algar, Hamid. Sufism: Principles & Practice. New York: Oneonta, 1999.
  • Brown, Jonathan. Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World. Oxford: Oneworld, 2009.
  • Ernst, Carl. Following Muhammad. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.
  • Esack, Farid. The Qur’an: A User’s Guide: a guide to its key themes, history, and interpretation. Oxford: Oneworld, 2005.
  • Miskawayh, Ahmad b. Muhammad. Refinement of Character: An English translation of Tahdhib al-Akhlaq. Beirut: University of Beirut, 1968.
  • Hallaq, Wael. Shari‘a: Theory, Practice, Transformation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Shavit, Uriya. Sharī‘a and Muslim Minorities. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • Winter, Tim (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Islamic Law

General Studies

  • Hallaq, Wael B. Authority, Continuity and Change in Islamic Law. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • Hallaq, Wael B. Shari’a: Theory, Practice, Transformations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Vikor, Knut S. Between God and the Sultan: A History of Islamic Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Weiss, Bernard G. The Spirit of Islamic Law. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1998.

Islamic law in the West and Fiqh al-Aqalliyyat

  • Haddad, Yvonne Yazbeck and Barbara Freyer Stowasser, (eds.) Islamic Law and the Challenges of Modernity. New York: Alta Mira Press, 2004.
  • Hassan, Said Fares. Fiqh al-Aqalliyyāt: History, Development, and Progress. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2013.
  • March, Andrew F. Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Moore, Kathleen M. The Unfamiliar Abode: Islamic Law in the United States and Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Gender and Islam

  • Ahmed, Leila. Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.
  • Badran, Margot. Feminism in Islam: Secular and Religious Convergences. London: Oneworld Publications, 2009.
  • Esposito, John and Natana DeLong Bass. Women in Muslim Family Law. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2001.
  • Moghadam, Valentine. Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East. Boulder: Lynne Reinner Publishers, 2013.
  • Wadud, Amina. Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Introduction to Eastern Christianities

  • Albert, Micheline et al. (eds.) Christianismes Orientaux: introduction à l’étude des langues et des littératures. Paris: Éd. du Cerf., 1993.
  • Angold, Michael (ed.) The Cambridge History of Christianity, Volume 5: Eastern Christianity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • Brock, Sebastian. An Introduction to Syriac Studies, rev. 2nd ed. Piscataway: Gorgias Press, 2006.
  • Dadoyan, Seta, The Armenians in the Medieval Islamic World, 3 vols. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2011-2014.
  • Griffith, Sidney. The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque: Christians and Muslims in the World of Islam. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.

Hittite History

  • Bryce, Trevor. Kingdom of the Hittites. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Bryce, Trevor. Life and Society in the Hittite World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • Haas, Volkert. Geschichte der hethitischen Religion. Leiden: Brill, 1994.
  • Genz, Hermann and Dirk Paul Mielke (eds.) Insights into Hittite History and Archaeology. Leuven: Peeters, 2011.
  • Hoffner, Harry A. Jr. and H. Craig Melchert. A Grammar of the Hittite Language. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2008.
  • Sagona, Antonio and Paul Zimansky. Ancient Turkey. Abingdon: Routledge, 2009.

Mamluk History

  • Berkey, Jonathan. The Transmission of Knowledge in Medieval Cairo: A Social History of Islamic Education. Albany: SUNY, 1994.
  • Chamberlain, Michael. Knowledge and Social Practice in Medieval Damascus, 1190-1350. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
  • Irwin, Robert. The Middle East in the Middle Ages: the Early Mamluk Sultanate, 1250-1382. London: Croom Helm, 1986.
  • Lapidus, Ira. Muslim Cities in the Later Middle Ages. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1967.
  • Sabra, Adam. Poverty and Charity in Medieval Islam: Mamluk Egypt (1250-1517). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Africa and Colonialism

  • El Hamel, Chouki. Black Morocco: a history of slavery, race, and Islam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • Mamdani, Mahmood. Citizen and subject: contemporary Africa and the legacy of late colonialism. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996.
  • Mamdani, Mahmood. Saviors and survivors: Darfur, politics, and the War on terror. New York: Pantheon Books, 2009.
  • Mbembe, Achille. On the postcolony. Johannesburg: University of Wits Press, 2015.
  • Pierre, Jemima. The predicament of blackness: postcolonial Ghana and the politics of race. 2013.
  • Simone, A. M. For the city yet to come: changing African life in four cities. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004.

Empire, Insurgency, and Nationalism in Modern Iraq

  • Brubaker, Rogers. Ethnicity Without Groups. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004.
  • Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage Books, 1975.
  • Faust, Aaron. The Ba’thification of Iraq: Saddam Hussein’s Totalitarianism. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015.
  • Sassoon, Joseph. Saddam Hussein’s Ba’th Party: Inside an Authoritarian Regime. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • Tripp, Charles. A History of Iraq. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Migration in the Middle East

  • Brettell, Caroline and James Hollifield. Migration Theory: Talking Across Disciplines.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  • Massey, Douglas et al. Worlds in Motion: Understanding International Migration at the End of the Millennium. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1999.
  • Zolberg, A. R., Suhrke, A., & Aguayo, S. Escape from violence: Conflict and the refugee crisis in the developing world. Oxford University Press, 1992.

Example Cases

  • Gardner, Andrew. City of Strangers: Gulf Migration and the Indian Community in Bahrain. Ithaca: Cornell U. Press, 2010.
  • Khosravi, Shahram. Illegal Traveller: An Auto-Ethnography of Borders. London & NY: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010.
  • Pearlman, Wendy. We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled. NY: Harper Collins, 2017.

Arabic Literature, Colonialism, and Modernity

  • Abu-Lughod, Ibrahim A. The Arab rediscovery of Europe: a study in cultural encounters. London: Saqi. 2011.
  • Hafez, Sabry. The genesis of Arabic narrative discourse: a study in the sociology of modern Arabic literature. London: Saqi Books. 1993.
  • Holt, Elizabeth M. Fictitious capital: silk, cotton, and the rise of the Arabic novel. New York: Fordham University Press. 2017.
  • Patel, Abdulrazzak. The Arab Nahdah: The Making of the Intellectual and Humanist Movement. Edinburgh University Press, 2013.
  • Selim, Samah. The novel and the rural imaginary in Egypt, 1880-1985. London: Routledge. 2010.

Palestinian Art History

  • Ali, Wijdan. Modern Islamic Art: Development and Continuity. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997.
  • Ankori, Gannit. Palestinian Art. London: Reaktion, 2006.
  • Boullata, Kamal, and John Berger. Palestinian Art 1850-2005. London; Berkeley, Calif.: Saqi, 2009.
  • Halaby, Samia. Liberation Art of Palestine: Palestinian Painting and Sculpture in the Second Half of the 20th Century. New York: H.T.T.B. Pub., S.A. Halaby, 2001.
  • Makhoul, Bashir, and Gordon Hon. The Origins of Palestinian Art. 2013.
  • Shabout, Nada M. Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab Aesthetics. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007.
  • Shammout, Ismail. Palestinian National Art. Beirut: Dept. of Information and Culture, Palestine Liberation Organization, 1980
What if I put an intro here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020
WEBINAR: Geopolitical Implications of COVID-19 for the Middle East
A webinar with Hesham Youssef (United States Institute of Peace), Dalia Dassa Kaye (RAND), and Ehud Eiran (Stanford University); Moderated by Kevan Harris (UCLA) and Dov Waxman (UCLA)

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
VIDEO: Found in Translation? Foreign Songs and the Creation of Israeli Musical Culture
What accounts for this vast corpus of foreign songs in Israeli music and what impact have such renderings had on the development of Israeli culture? After surveying this significant, yet largely overlooked, phenomenon, Visiting Assistant Professor Daniel Stein Kokin presented on a series of test cases and argue that the extensive importation of foreign songs into Hebrew paradoxically played a key role in the creation of an autonomous Israeli musical culture.

Video Archive...