Tunisia: Emerging Identities in North Africa
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The program’s thematic seminars introduce key aspects of emerging identities in Tunisia following the Arab Spring. Lectures and excursions introduce students to the culture and politics of Tunisia, the transformation of secular and Islamist identities, the roles of media and youth in social movements. Students on the program may choose to study either Arabic or French; both language courses accommodate any level of language ability. The Arabic course includes a focus on the Tunisian colloquial dialect, and the French course provides students with French language study within a Tunisian context and, for advanced students, an introduction to Francophone literature in North Africa.
The following syllabi are either from a recent session of this program or for an upcoming session. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.
The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
Arab Spring and Emerging Identities in North Africa - syllabus (PDF)
(MDES 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Focusing principally on contemporary Tunisian society, this course examines transformations in local identities in the context of democratization, globalization, and recent political change. Through a focus on two themes — Tunisian culture and civil society, and Islam, identity, and democracy — the course probes the impact on identities prompted by social change across the region. In particular, this course explores the formation of new political identities — both secular and Islamist — in a period of nascent democratization.
Youth, Media, and Social Movements - syllabus (PDF)
(MDES 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Focusing principally on contemporary Tunisian society, this course examines transformations in Arab popular and political culture, with an emphasis on the mutually constitutive impact of new information and communications technologies on the emergence of local and regional civil society. Through a focus on two themes — mass media and the Arab Spring and youth, politics, and social movements — the course probes the ways in which the Internet and related electronic revolutions across the region have changed and are changing expressions and understandings of Arab political culture. The seminar also explores the formation of new cultural bonds where political ideologies, namely Arab nationalism, are widely perceived to have failed. Course lectures, debates, and educational excursions foreground various tensions and moments of continuity between modernity and tradition in Arab culture, illuminating the seemingly disparate connections between various themes, including the popularity of raï music, bilingualism and the status of Arabic language, the reemergence of the hijab amongst young women, the failure of secularism, and the emergence of a new democratic culture challenging authoritarian regimes.
Research Methods and Ethics - syllabus (PDF)
(ANTH 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This is a qualitative research methods course designed to provide an overview of methodological approaches in a short time and within the local cultural context. The course offers students the basic tools necessary to conceive and conduct field research in Tunisia. Similarly, the seminar is designed to provide students with the theoretical concepts essential for translating lived experience into learning experience. The course not only introduces field-based research skills (such as interviewing and participant and non-participant observation), but also strengthens students' cultural awareness through exercises and discussions about researcher positionality and the ethics of fieldwork in Tunisia. In so doing, Research Methods and Ethics provides students with the cultural understanding and critical acumen necessary for the successful completion of the Independent Study Project (ISP).
Independent Study Project - syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Tunis or in another approved location appropriate to the project. Sample topic areas: role of women’s organizations in transforming feminist discourse; street art before and after the Tunisian revolution; the past, present, and future state of reproductive health in Tunisia; illegal immigration from Tunisia after the Jasmine Revolution; political Islam in Tunisia.
Language Study – Arabic or French
Students choose to enroll in either Modern Standard Arabic or French. Students are placed in beginning, intermediate, or advanced Arabic or French language classes based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing. Note: Beginning and intermediate French students enroll in the course French in Tunisian Contexts at the appropriate skill level. Advanced French students enroll in the course North African Francophone Literature.
Intensive Language Study: Beginning Modern Standard Arabic- syllabus (PDF)
(ARAB 1000 –1500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic - syllabus (PDF)
(ARAB 2000 –2500 / 3 Credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Advanced Modern Standard Arabic - syllabus (PDF)
(ARAB 3000 – 3500 / 3 Credits / 45 class hours)
The Modern Standard Arabic course focuses on speaking, reading, and writing skills through classroom instruction, with additional opportunities for language learning with homestay families and on educational excursions. Students are placed in beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes, based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing. A short, non-credit introduction to Tunisian Colloquial Arabic is included in all language levels.
Beginning French: French in Tunisian Contexts - syllabus (PDF)
(FREN 1000–1500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intermediate French: French in Tunisian Contexts - syllabus (PDF)
(FREN 2000–2500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing, students who place at the beginning or intermediate level in French language study one of the two intensive courses above, to either begin or further enhance their language skills in a North African context. The focus is on oral proficiency and the role of French language in contemporary Tunisia. French in Tunisian Contexts integrates a variety of local media to promote nuanced understandings of the unique role of French language in Tunisia, including contemporary print sources and audiovisual materials, together with experiential activities accompanying the course text.
Advanced French: North African Francophone Literature - syllabus (PDF)
(FREN 3000–3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing, students who place at the advanced French language level focus on social and cultural representations in North African Francophone Literature. Through the study of literary texts by Tunisian, Algerian, and Moroccan authors, the course addresses issues of bilingualism, postcolonialism, identity, and nation building. The course also relies on discussions with Tunisian academics and students to enhance students’ oral proficiency and to facilitate their immersion in Tunisian society.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Sidi Bou Said, on the outskirts of Tunis
Language Study: Arabic, French
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