Arab American Studies

Dearborn and its neighbors are home to one of the largest-- and most diverse-- communities of people of Arab descent outside of the Middle East. The Center for Arab American Studies at UM-Dearborn encourages students to develop a coherent understanding of the unique circumstances surrounding the incorporation of Arab immigrants into American society; the broad range of diversity found within Arab American communities; how the Arab American experience is shaped by local, national and international conditions; and the contributions of Arab Americans to American culture and history.

Minor or Integrative Studies Concentration Requirements

A minor or concentration requires 15 credit hours of coursework including AAST 3150 or ENGL 238  and 12 additional credits of any 300/400; 3000/4000 level AAST courses. Additionally, the following courses that are not cross listed with AAST also count toward the minor: ENGL 238SOC 4555ENGL 351 , ENGL 473HHS 480 CRJ 417. Students will be able to petition to include one additional course toward the minor/concentration with approval of the AAST faculty advisor.

  • A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required for the minor/concentration. The GPA is based on all coursework required within the minor (excluding prerequisites).
  • A minimum of 9 credits must be completed at UM-Dearborn for a 12 credit minor/concentration.
  • A minimum of 12 credits must be completed at UM-Dearborn for a 15 or more credit minor/concentration.
  • Courses within a minor/concentration cannot be taken as Pass/Fail (P/F)
  • Only 3 credit hours of independent study or internship may be used to fulfill the requirements for a 12 credit hour minor/concentration.  Only 6 credit hours of such credit may be used in a 15 or more credit hour minor/concentration.
  • Minors requiring 12 credits may share one course with a major. Minors requiring 15 credits or more may share two courses with a major. This does not apply to concentrations for the Integrative Studies major.

The Arab American Studies (AAST) Certificate is an interdisciplinary undergraduate and post-baccalaureate certificate that prepares students for working and living in our diverse metropolitan region and world by concentrating on the historical and current experiences of Arab and Muslim Americans and the relevance of those experiences for understanding race and ethnicity in the U.S. and globally. The interdisciplinary approach of the certificate provides students with analytical frameworks for understanding how social, cultural, legal, and political factors influence the lives of Arab American individuals, families, and communities. The program of study examines a broad spectrum of diversity to understand the ways that immigration, racism and discrimination, gender and sexuality, class, ethnicity, culture, and religion intersect with one another in people’s lives.

Certificate Requirements

12 Credit Hours Required
3 credits from:3
Intro to Arab American Studies
Public History in Arab Detroit
9 credits from:9
Intro to Arab American Studies
History of Islam in the US
Arab Americans Since 1890
Arab American Women Writers
Arab American Identities
Middle Eastern Diasporas
Anthropology of Middle East
Arab Literature in English
Arab American Health
Immigrant Cultures and Gender
Total Credit Hours12


  1. A maximum of 3 credit hours of transfer coursework may be counted toward the minimum 12 credit hours required for the program by Petition to the Program Director.
  2. None of the courses applied to the certificate may be taken pass/fail.
  3. A minimum 3.0 GPA in the UM-Dearborn courses counting toward the AAST certificate is required at the time of graduation and/or awarding of the certificate.

AAST 238     Intro to Lit: Arab American     3 Credit Hours

This course in an introduction to Arab American literature, its historical and cultural contexts and contemporary relevance. Topics will include the literary and cultural productions of Arab immigrants, their transnational vision, and explorations of such concepts as home, memory and identity; the literary, dramatic and poetic responses of Arab American writers to 9/11 and the ongoing the war on terror; the role Arab American literature in offering different versions of Arab and Arab American lives and experiences from the one circulated in mainstream media, Hollywood cinema and culture.

Prerequisite(s): COMP 106 or COMP 220 or COMP 270 or COMP 280 or Composition Placement Score with a score of 40 or Composition Placement Score with a score of 107

AAST 267     Arab & Arab American Workshop     3 Credit Hours

The Arab and Arab American Writers Workshop is a creative writing workshop focusing on poetry and fiction. Students will explore Arab American literature, writers, and themes. Students are expected to work on their own manuscripts as well as critique outside readings. The workshop will be conducted under the guidance of Arab and Arab American faculty and is open to all students.

Prerequisite(s): COMP 106 or COMP 220 or COMP 270 or COMP 280 or Composition Placement Score with a score of 40 or Composition Placement Score with a score of 107

AAST 3150     Intro to Arab American Studies     4 Credit Hours

This course explores the local, national, and global conditions through which Arab American identity and its alternatives take shape. It introduces students to humanities and social science approaches to the field of Arab American Studies. (YR).

Can enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore or Junior or Senior

AAST 3151     Public History in Arab Detroit     4 Credit Hours

Full Title: Public History in Arab Detroit. This course explores the field of public humanities work while providing a topical focus on metro-Detroit based Arab American history and culture. Roughly half of the course will be used to explore different approaches to public humanities work undertaken by scholars. The second half of the course will provide the historical and social context for understanding a particular research question to be examined jointly by the instructor, students, and a local cultural institution. Students will engage in intensive research and work with a cultural institution to represent their findings to the public. Students cannot receive credit for both AAST 3151 and HIST 3672. (W, YR).

AAST 3634     History of Islam in the US     4 Credit Hours

This course traces the long history of Islam and of Muslims in the United States (1730s-present), paying careful attention to the interaction among Muslims across the dividing lines of race, gender, immigrant generations, sect, political orientation, and class, and between Muslims and other Americans. (OC).

Can enroll if Class is Sophomore or Junior or Senior or Graduate

AAST 3673     Arabs & Muslims in Media     3 Credit Hours

This course examines how perception of Arabs and Muslims took shape in the U.S. from the late nineteenth century through the present. Using historical developments as a conduit, we explore the treatment of Arabs and Muslims in news outlets, print media, film, and T.V. productions. For example, we analyze the motivation, plot construction, casting, and content of big budget Hollywood movies for patterns of sterotypes and representations/misrepresentations. (AY, F).

AAST 3676     Arab Americans Since 1890     4 Credit Hours

This is a survey of immigration from the Arab Middle East from 1890 to the present. Readings from available scholarship, discussions, and reports facilitate exploring the Arabic-speaking immigrants’ early and recent experiences as art of U.S. society, including settlement, work, worship, military service, leisure, intellectual life, and primary and formal affiliations across the U.S. (OC).

AAST 373     Anthropology of Middle East     4 Credit Hours

This course explores contemporary life in the Middle East using an anthropological lens. Topics discussed include the geography and diversity of the Middle East; gender, the veil, and Orientalism; Islam, ritual, and everyday family life; and ethics and politics. The course ends with an examination of the Arab immigrant experience in Metro Detroit. Prerequisite: ANTH 101 recommended (F, YR).

AAST 390     Topics in Arab American Study     3 Credit Hours

Examination of various topics dealing with Arab American Studies. Titles will change according to content and schedule of classes. Course may be repeated for credit when specific topic differs. (OC).

AAST 4677     Arab American Identity     3 Credit Hours

Beginning with an overview of the contemporary history and social developments in the Arab Near East, we survey immigration from the region to the U.S., and examine a range of evidence for understanding how Arab immigrants became an integral part of U.S. society. We examine immigrant narratives and immigration paradigms, to appreciate the successes and challenges Arabs and Arab Americans encountered. Readings and discussions explore various disciplinary approaches for understanding Arab Americans' experiences with race/ racialization, ethnicity, national attachments, sex, and gender. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): HIST 300 or (AAST 3676 or HIST 3676) or (AAST 3150 or HIST 3671)

Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

AAST 4678     Middle Eastern Diasporas     4 Credit Hours

This course explores the diasporas of Arabs, Turks, Assyrians, and Iranians living in Europe and the Americas that have occurred since the 1880s. It pays careful attention to how "aspects of diaspora" shape, mimic, transect, and undermine the political and economic regimes of which they are part. The reception of Middle Eastern communities in different national contexts and historical periods receive special attention as do their adaptive strategies as religious, ethnic, gendered, and racialized minorities. Those enrolled in the graduate level of the course pursue additional readings and assignments. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): AAST 3150 or HIST 300

Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore

AAST 473     Arab American Women Writers     4 Credit Hours

Examines the literary and cultural contributions of Arab and Arab American women novelists, poets and artists to the development and consolidation of the cultures of understanding and coexistence; explores the tensions between citizenship and belonging, race and the politics of fears, gender and geographical mobility, and ethnic minorities and mainstream consciousness; discerns how Arab women writers and artists retool their various artistic endeavors to channel socio-political disenchantment, critique and civil disobedience; stresses how literary and artistic productions of a heterogeneous number of Arab American women writers and artists can indeed foster alternative visions of socio-cultural coexistence, dialogue and hospitality via artistic commitments to technical and stylistic experimentation and renovation. Students cannot receive credit for both ENGL 473 and ENGL 573. For graduate credit take ENGL 573.

Prerequisite(s): (COMP 106 or COMP 220 or COMP 270 or COMP 280 or Composition Placement Score with a score of 40 or Composition Placement Score with a score of 107) and (ENGL 200 or ENGL 205 or ENGL 206 or ENGL 230 or ENGL 231 or ENGL 232 or ENGL 233 or ENGL 235 or ENGL 236 or ENGL 237 or ENGL 238 or ENGL 239)

Cannot enroll if Class is

AAST 490     Topics in Arab Amer Studies     3 Credit Hours

The content of this course will vary. All courses which will run under this number will cover Arab American issues.

*An asterisk denotes that a course may be taken concurrently.

Frequency of Offering

The following abbreviations are used to denote the frequency of offering: (F) fall term; (W) winter term; (S) summer term; (F, W) fall and winter terms; (YR) once a year; (AY) alternating years; (OC) offered occasionally