Arab Crossroads Studies takes advantage of Abu Dhabi’s geographical location in the Arabian Peninsula, at the crossroads of the three continents of the Eastern hemisphere: Africa, Asia, and Europe. It uses this location to think through both the broader interactions of the Arab world with the surrounding regions, as well as an invitation to investigate the historical and contemporary religious, cultural, and ethnic diversity of the Arabic speaking world. In doing so, it provides a portal for the global NYU community to study and engage with the social, cultural and intellectual diversity of the Arab world and its neighbors.

The historical, sociopolitical, and cultural interactions among these regions have opened engaging domains of study in both the humanities and social sciences. One example of these interactions can be seen in the Gulf, where the flow of people, ideas, and commodities through has resulted in cosmopolitan and culturally hybrid setting for many centuries. The historical archives testify to this richness, which can also be gleaned from the artistic, architectural and musical developments, the variety of spoken languages, and the diversity of people who now live in the Gulf region. Similar sites of intense interaction can be found in the Levant, Central Asia, West and East Africa, as well as South Asia, and ACS courses consider regions such as these particularly productive for studying the Arab world’s diversity. Yet ACS courses move beyond geographic descriptions to consider thematic approaches to the Arab world’s diversity that consider more specific religious, historical, political, anthropological, literary and artistic topics.

Multidisciplinary Curriculum

History and Religion, which includes a broad and solid grounding in the pre-modern and modern social, cultural, religious, and economic landscapes of the region. These courses focus on primary source documents to introduce students to the rich and varied history of the region as well as to the doctrinal and social aspects of the religious traditions that have shaped it.

Society and Politics, which includes a detailed and nuanced examination of the contemporary landscape of the region. These courses draw on anthropology, ethnography, political science, and sociology to elucidate the complex cultural, social, and political developments taking place today.

Arts and Literature, which includes a careful study of the literary, artistic, and philosophical landscapes of the region. These courses explore the literatures, arts, and physical environments of the region within their broader historical and social contexts.