Indiana University Bloomington
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Welcome to the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (NELC). The department was founded half a century ago, making it one of the oldest such departments in the nation. Its founding father was Professor Wadie Elias Jwaideh, a native of Iraq and an expert on the modern history of the Kurds who joined the faculty of IU in 1960. He served as chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures with exemplary dedication for over two decades, building a department with strengths in Arabic language and linguistics, Hebrew and Jewish studies, and Middle Eastern and Islamic history, culture, and religions. We are thus justifiably proud of belonging to one of the oldest and most venerable departments of its kind in the nation.

The members of the NELC faculty have been trained at top universities, have studied and done research in countries all over the Middle East and Islamic world, and among them have published dozens of books and innumerable articles. In addition, NELC students have access to professors affiliated with NELC or working related areas in departments such as History, Jewish Studies, Political Science, Religious Studies, Central Eurasian Studies, Anthropology, and Ethnomusicology, as well as the professional schools.

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Professor Stephen Katz, Departmental Chair


We have moved! We are no longer in Goodbody Hall, our home of many years. Come visit us in our office in the east wing of the brand new Global and International Studies Building! Our office number is 3050: take the elevator to the third floor, and we are on the right. Come say "Marhaba!"

Job Announcement

The Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures are seeking candidates for an assistant professor position in Medieval or Early Modern Jewish Civilizations. Duties include teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of Medieval and/or Early Modern Jewish Civilizations, as well as research and scholarly activities and service to the department and University. Position requires a Ph.D. in Medieval or Early Modern Jewish Civilizations or a related field.

Applicants should send a letter of interest summarizing career goals for teaching and scholarship, a current C.V., and names and contact information for three references to Stephanie Odaffer, School of Global and International Studies, College of Arts & Sciences, Indiana University, Memorial Hall Rm 120, 1021 E. Third Street, Bloomington, IN 47405. Indiana University is an equal employment and affirmative action employer and a provider of ADA services. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ethnicity, color, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or identity, national origin, disability status or protected veteran status.



The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015 with a slew of cultural activities and lectures being held throughout the spring semester. Click here for a full schedule of events. As we look back in time to the establishment of the department, we fondly remember its founder, Professor Wadie Jwaideh, who was not only an academic but also a consultant to President Carter and a globe-trotter. For more details, read the special news release here on the occasion of our 50th anniversary prepared by the IU Communications Office.

Check out our Fall 2015 course listings!

Upcoming Events

Looking for some great films to kill time and boost your Arabic language skills? The Department of NELC is excited to present the Arabic Film Series taking place througout the fall semester of 2015. Come for Arabic-language fun!


Read the 2015 NELC Newsletter

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