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.


Professor Stephen Katz, Departmental Chair



Arabic Language Placement Exams will take place on August 17, 2015. If you would like to take the exam, please email us at



Arabic Language Placement Exams will take place on August 17, 2015 in Ballantine Hall. For more info, please see the flyer.

Arabic Placement Exam!

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.

Congratulations to Blake Lemmons for being inducted into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honors society in Spring 2015!

Check out our Spring 2015 course listings!

Upcoming Events

NELC is pleased to host Dr. John Eisele from the College of William and Mary for his lecture "Accuracy, Variation, Culture: A Reevaluation of Terms in Arabic Language Pedagogy" on March 26, 2015, and a workshop entitled "Linking the Four Skills: Minimizing Outlay, Maximizing Output" on March 27. The lecture is open to the public. Find out more!

The NELC annual Arabic Talent Show will be held on April 9, 2015 at 6:00 pm in Ballantine Hall 109 during which NELC students and faculty will display their considerable artistic talents. Music, poetry, and dance will all be featured. Join us for a night full of fun!

Want to learn more about the exciting world of Arabic music? Then join us at our Arabic Music Club which meets throughout the spring semester!

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 spring semester of 2015. Come for Arabic-language fun!

The thirteenth annual Danner Lecture will be presented by Dr. Yahya Michot, Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations. He is also the current editor of the journal “The Muslim World” edited by the Seminary. Professor Michot will speak on “Mamluks, Qalandars, Rafidis, and the ‘Other’ Ibn Taymiyya” on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 in the President’s Room in the University Club at the Indiana Memorial Union at 7:00pm. A light reception will follow the lecture. Open to the public.


Read the 2015 NELC Newsletter

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