Minors in Arabic, Hindi studies may soon be available

By Lisa Chung

The Center for Global Studies aims to develop new undergraduate and graduate courses that will increase globalization and heighten awareness of different cultures among students through the presentation of more global issues. The center and the college of Liberal Arts and Sciences are working to add two new minors to the linguistics department: Arabic studies and Hindi studies, said Steve Witt, associate director for the center.

“We try to develop programs that look at the world through a global context, so we’re not looking at problems purely at national levels,” Witt said. “One of the things we try to get people to focus on are contested notions of what globalization is, looking more holistically at problems from a global perspective.”

The development of these two programs has been in the works for the past few years, said James Yoon, acting head of the linguistics department.

“I think that (Hindi and Arabic) are the fastest-growing non-Western languages,” Yoon said. “We have courses in language and culture of (both) these areas, and … a large amount of students enrolling in them.”

The establishment of these two minors is not yet viable because of their similarities in curriculum to the already existing Islamic World studies minor and South Asian studies minor, said Ann Mester, an associate dean of LAS.

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As the proposal stands now, “You would be able to complete the Arabic studies minor within the Islamic World studies minor,” Mester said.

The courses that the center develops are usually through the initiative of the faculty who want to cover different global issues, Witt said.

Abdulkafi Albirini, coordinator of the Arabic studies program, said two new courses were added to the course catalog last year, including advanced Arabic.

“The courses available now are not sufficient to create a minor,” Albirini said. “We got a grant from the South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies for a new course, but it’s not going to be offered until next year.”

The final decision as to whether or not Arabic and Hindi studies will become minors is in the hands of LAS, Albirini said.

In the past six years, the center has developed more than 30 classes in multiple units and colleges, Witt said.

These classes promote people to study and debate different conceptions around globalization and “inspire them to seek solutions as they engage the world.”