MESALC is offering four new courses this Spring!


ARAB 3810: Modern Arabic Fiction

Instructor: Qasim Wahba

T/Th, 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Dell 1 104


Students are introduced to twentieth-century Arabic fiction, and to the varied genres of prose including letters, memoirs, short stories, travelogues, and novels. Topics include autobiography, war and nation construction, fantasy, and political and sexual identity crises. Students become acquainted with different schools of modern Arabic literary criticism, and lean to analyze texts using critical analysis and specific theoretical terminology.



ARTR: Modern Arabic Literature in Translation

Instructor: Qasim Wahba

T/Th, 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

328 Bryan Hall


The Arab World has witnessed vast cultural, economic, political and demographic changes the latest of which are the ongoing Arab Spring revolutions. The advent of European colonialism and the subsequent challenges to pre-existing cultural and religious norms were extensively reflected in modern Arabic literature. This course will examine the development and the major themes of modern Arabic Literature in light of the colonialist and post-colonialist conditions. Through close readings of poetry, short stories, novels, and plays, we will explore the impact of postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity location theories, and feminism on Arabic literature and culture as well as the shaping of the Arab identity as a whole. Special attention will be given to diasporic literature, war, and fantasy literature as well as to the contribution of contemporary Arab women writers to the Arabic canon.



PERS 3559/5559: Pioneering Women in Contemporary Iran

Instructor: Mehrangiz Kar

T, 3:30 PM - 6:00 PM

032 New Cabell Hall


This course studies the life and works of pioneering women in contemporary Iran. Through a variety of texts, it explores their multifaceted contribution to Iranian politics and the vital role pioneering women played to desegregate their society and to transform gender relations.


Mehrangiz Kar is a prominent Iranian lawyer, acclaimed author of several books, and a celebrated activist of human and women’s rights in Iran. According to The New York Times, “For years, Ms. Ebadi [Nobel Peace Laureate] and two other women, Mehrangiz Kar, a more secular human rights and family lawyer, and Shahla Lahidji, an outspoken publisher specializing in books about women, were labeled the "Three Musketeers" because they were considered the country's most active proponents of women's rights.”


PETR 3559/5559-002: The Challenges of Democracy in Iran

Instructor: Mehrangiz Kar

M, 3:30 PM - 6:00 PM

132 New Cabell Hall


This course discusses the challenges of establishing democracy in contemporary Iran. While the focus is on post-1979 Revolution, we will begin with a historical review beginning with the 1906 constitutional revolution. We will analyze not only the historical and the political but also the social and cultural obstacles to democracy that have deep roots in Iranian history.


Mehrangiz Kar is a prominent Iranian lawyer, acclaimed author of several books, and a celebrated activist of human and women’s rights in Iran. According to The New York Times, “For years, Ms. Ebadi [Nobel Peace Laureate] and two other women, Mehrangiz Kar, a more secular human rights and family lawyer, and Shahla Lahidji, an outspoken publisher specializing in books about women, were labeled the "Three Musketeers" because they were considered the country's most active proponents of women's rights.”



Urdu in American Academia

Check out the latest article by Mehr Farooqi in Dawn by clicking here.

MESALC Students Highlight the Importance of Foreign Language and Area Studies

Charlottesville, VA

Student Council hears concerns about new low-enrollment policy


University Policy Threatening Future of Middle Eastern, South Asian Departments Discussed at StudCo Meeting

An Interview with Prof. Mehr Afshan Farooqi on Urdu writer and critic, Muhammad Hasan Askari

MESALC's own Mehr Farooqi recently finished an interview with online blog Cafe Dissensus on Urdu writer and critic, Muhammad Hasan Askari. Click here to read more.

Arabic Placement Test

129 New Cabell Hall

The 2017 Arabic placement test will take place on Monday, August 21st at 12:00 PM in 129 New Cabell Hall. The test will be administered by Suad Mohamed ( More information about placement tests can be found here:

Job Opportunity - Assistant Professor of Modern Hebrew

The Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures (MESALC) at the University of Virginia invites applications for a full-time Assistant Professor, General Faculty (tenure-ineligible) in Modern Hebrew. This is a three-year, renewable appointment. The appointment begins with the fall term 2018 with an anticipated start date of July 25, 2018.  

The successful applicant will have native or near-native fluency in Israeli Hebrew, demonstrated excellence in teaching Modern Hebrew at an American university, experience developing academic programs, and the ability to contribute to the University’s Jewish Studies, Global Studies, and Digital Humanities programs. This position also requires a record of innovation and sophistication in second-language pedagogy that integrates texts derived from the Israeli electronic mediascape while  developing students’ transnational literacies alongside language skills. Teaching responsibilities include first- and second-year language classes in Modern Israeli Hebrew, as well as advanced Hebrew Language courses that focus on conversational skills, media Hebrew, or topics in Israeli literature, film or culture. This position carries a teaching load of three courses per semester. A Ph.D. in Hebrew language, literature, or linguistics; second language pedagogy; or a related field is required by date of appointment. 

To apply, candidates must submit a Candidate Profile on-line through Jobs@UVA (, and electronically attach the following: CV, cover letter, statement of (language) teaching philosophy, a sample of relevant course syllabi (attach as Writing Sample 1), and a representative sample of course evaluations as evidence of teaching effectiveness (attach as Writing Sample 2); search on posting number 0621351. Please include in the CV the name and contact information for three people who would be willing to write confidential letters of recommendation on your behalf.

Review of applications will begin October 1, 2017 and will continue until the position is filled.

Please direct any questions about the position to: Daniel Lefkowitz at

Questions regarding the on-line application process should be directed to: Cameron Clayton, 434-982-2665,


The University will perform background checks on all new faculty hires prior to making a final offer of employment.


The University of Virginia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Women, Minorities, Veterans and Persons with Disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Fall 2017 Course - URDU 3300/7300

Ongoing Mahfil: Readings in Urdu Poetry URDU3300/7300

Instructor: Mehr Farooqi,; Monday 6-8:30 pm.

The seminar is taught as a weekly mahfil which means a gathering of people who love literary arts, specially poetry. The syllabus is flexible. It reflects the general mood of the participants; what they want to read. Mostly we read the ghazal form of poetry, analyze and translate. The oral, performative aspect is emphasized. Texts are available in both Urdu and Hindi script. Participants should be able to read and understand the basic language. The response papers and other written assignments are in ENGLISH. Advanced students (graduate) read literary criticism.

Students have to write weekly responses. By the end of the semester we expect everyone to have a fairly high degree of familiarity with the world, or rather the milieu that shaped the poetry. Most students will be able to acquire critical skills in analyzing poetry.

Course work and grade allocation:

  • Weekly response papers 25%
  • Mid-Term paper 15%
  • Translation project 20%
  • Attendance and participation 20%
  • Final paper 20%

Highlight: This semester’s highlight is a live ghazal performance by renowned artiste Pooja Goswami Pavan, October 15, in Old Cabell Hall. Pooja will give a workshop on ghazal performance on October 16 specially for our class.

Come join the mahfil!

NEW COURSE - PETR 3559: Women's Rights in Iran

Instructor: Mehrangiz Kar

A widespread and longstanding struggle for gender equity and reform within the family unit characterizes contemporary Iranian history. This course will introduce students to Iranian Laws and the historical, socio-cultural, Islamic, and political aspects of its construction before, during, and after the Islamic Revolution of 1979.  We will study the debates around the contested applications of Sharia Laws on family and personal status laws. We will examine laws pertaining to marriage, polygamy, divorce, child custody, inheritance, and labor and reproduction rights. We will also analyze contemporary Iranian voices of reform, including the approaches of Muslim women rights activists to equality, secularity, and modernity as well as the Campaign for One Million Signatures.

NEW COURSE - PERS 3559/5559: Human Rights in Iran

Instructor: Mehrangiz Kar

Beginning with the Constitutional revolution of 1905-11 and its two central concerns--limiting the power of the king and the establishment of a House of Justice (civil courts), this course studies the struggle for and the social and political obstacles to the promotion of human rights in contemporary Iran. Although Iran did sign the three basic International human rights documents before the 1979 Islamic revolution, the fight for individual and women's rights, freedom of press, freedom of conscience, freedom of assembly, among others, continues to this day. Through a variety of readings and documentary films, we will focus on the Iranian people's relentless demand for freedom of expression, free and fair elections, gender equality, minority and labor rights.

Spring 2017 Shea Vacancies

12/13/16 - There are currently 9 vacancies at Shea House: 6 female spaces, 2 male spaces, and 1 single room available across the following language pods: 2 Japanese, 1 Korean, 1 Persian, 1 Arabic, 4 Chinese. Please apply through Housing & Residence Life if interested or go to the Shea House website for more information.