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The Consortium, founded in 2005, builds on decades of collaboration between Duke and UNC in the fields of Middle East and Islamic studies, including joint research projects, coordinated event programming, joint course development, free cross-campus enrollment, and extensive cross-campus membership on search committees and thesis committees. Highlights of the Consortium’s collaboration are featured below.

Institutional Collaborations

The North Carolina Consortium for Middle East Studies | The Consortium, a collaboration between the Duke University Middle East Studies Center and the UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies, with the addition of state-wide institutional partners in 2022, is a pioneer in cross-campus collaboration, with extensive integration of Middle East studies at the two universities, including a joint graduate certificate program, coordinated library collections, co-taught and coordinated course offerings, and free cross-campus enrollment, as well as faculty searches, visiting scholars, and joint event planning.

Duke-UNC Graduate Certificate in Middle East Studies | Graduate students in all departments and schools at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill are eligible to enroll in this certificate program, which has trained students for interdisciplinary research in Middle East studies since 2010.

Duke-UNC Joint Turkish Language Program | The Consortium has established a joint Turkish program that offers students opportunities to study Turkish language, history, and culture. Interested UNC and Duke students can take classes from either institution and can minor or major in Turkish in accordance with their respective institutions. Turkish language courses are taught on both campuses by Dr. Didem Havlioglu (Duke) (2014-present).

Duke-UNC Joint Persian Language Program | Given the successful model of the joint Turkish program, the Consortium piloted integrating Persian instruction across the two campuses in 2018. Dr. Shahla Adel (UNC), a skilled instructor who holds a Ph.D. in language pedagogy, teaches introductory sections on both campuses and joint sections of intermediate and advanced Persian.

K-14 OutreachAs the leading Middle East studies program in the Southeast, the Consortium works extensively with elementary and secondary schools in North Carolina and throughout the region to enhance Middle East studies in the K-14 curriculum. The Consortium offers professional development for teachers and develops classroom materials.

North Carolina Arabic Teacher Council | Established in 2021, the North Carolina Arabic Teacher Council is a professional organization committed to serving the diverse community of North Carolina Arabic language educators and promoting the expansion of Arabic language programs across the state. The NCATC’s activities include professional development workshops, conferences, and cultural events organized by and for educators, administrators, and other representatives from K-16 institutions engaged in Arabic language education. The NCATC is hosted by the Consortium.


Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks Book Series | This long-standing University of North Carolina Press Series is co-edited by Carl W. Ernst (UNC) and Bruce Lawrence (Duke) (2003-present).

Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies | Founded in 2004 by the Association of Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS), JMEWS is the leading journal publication venue for scholars working on gender and sexuality topics across the Middle East and North Africa. Co-edited by Frances S. Hasso (Duke, 2014-2018), Banu Gökarıksel (UNC, 2014-2018), miriam cooke (Duke, 2014-2018), and Ellen McLarney (2018-2022).


Annual Consortium Conference | Each spring, the Consortium organizes a high-profile conference on a theme in Middle East studies. These annual conferences bring together experts from across the country, some of which have led to publications, such as the “Marketing Muslim Women” conference (2008) leading to a special issue of The Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies (2010) by miriam cooke (Duke), Banu Gökariksel (UNC), and Ellen McLarney (Duke); and the Muslim Networks conferences (2000-2005) and volume, Muslim Networks: From Hajj to Hip-Hop (2005) organized by miriam cooke (Duke), Bruce Lawrence (Duke), and Ebrahim Moosa (Duke), with the participation of Carl W. Ernst (UNC), Omid Safi (UNC), and others.

Annual Graduate Student Conference | Since 2004, graduate students from Duke and UNC have collaborated on an annual conference on Middle East and/or Islamic studies in the spring semester. This conference has become a major site for graduate students studying the Middle East and Muslim civilizations to present their work, learn about other graduate students’ research, and acquire professional skills. Past themes have included “Map, Territory,​ and​ Boundary​” (2018), “Affect in Dissent: Past and Present” (2017), and “Global Muslim Modernities and the Post-Secular” (2016), among others.