The Department of Near Eastern Studies offers courses in the archaeology, history, languages and cultures of the Middle East, a region which has influenced the development of civilization and continues to play a vital role in today's world. Covering the ancient through modern periods, classes emphasize interdisciplinary analysis of the written and material records of the entire region. Some examples of Near Eastern studies include: Egyptian Civilization, Biblical Studies, Islamic Studies, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

The department excels in ancient and modern language instruction, especially Akkadian, Arabic, Biblical and modern Hebrew, Persian, Sumerian, and Turkish. Cornell’s world-class library has several collections dedicated to Near Eastern research—the Middle East and Islamic Studies Collection, the Jewish Studies Collection, among others—and students may partake of a wide range of Near Eastern lectures, colloquia, conferences, film screenings, concerts, dinners, and other events on campus.

Department website

Dina Bishara

Assistant Professor, ILR School

Samia Henni

Assistant Professor, Architecture at Cornell AAP

Baojun (Bar) Sheng


  • "The Development of Arabic Parties in Israel and its Influence." Israel Studies, no.1. Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press(China), 2020.
  • "A Study of Hebrew Language Teaching in Compulsory Education in Israeli Arab Schools."Israel Studies, no.2. Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press(China), 2021.

Milad Sotoudeh


Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • “Phantasmagoric Manifestations of the Modern City During the Pahlavi Era and Its Representation in Brick and Mirror”, S. Sotoudeh & A. Sayyad & Milad Sotoudeh, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, May 2022, page 1-21
  • “Panopticon Surveillance on Iranian Women during the Pahlavi Era, with Concentration on the Visibility and Invisibility Paradigms: the case of Dead End" by Parviz Sayyad (1977), Milad Sotoudeh & S. Sotoudeh & A. Sayyad, Feminist Media Studies, August 2021, page 1-15
  • “The Capacities of Haptic Perception in Persian- Islamic Art and its Function in Cinematic Expression: The Case of The Green Fire”, A. Sayyad & Milad Sotoudeh & S. Sotoudeh, BAGH-E NAZAR Journal, Volume 17, Issue 88, October 2020, Page 19 - 26.
  • “The Role of Decoupage in Orientation and Moral Judgment of the Audience: Studying Two Iranian Movies, The Glass Agency and A Separation”, S. Esfandiary & S. Sotoudeh & Milad Sotoudeh, Journal of Dramatic Arts and Music: Academic Journal of University of Art, Volume 11, Issue 21, Summer 2020, page 47- 65.
  • “Child’s perception in Walter Benjamin’s reflections and its representation in The Runner (1984)”, S. Sotoudeh & Milad Sotoudeh & A. Sayyad, Thinking and Child Quarterly, Volume 10, Issue 1, No 19, Summer and Autumn 2019, pages 125-148.
  • “Female Flânerie and Transition from a Fetishized Object to an Observer-Subject: A Case Study on Cleo from 5 to 7”, A. Sayyad & S. Sotoudeh & Milad Sotoudeh, Journal of Women in Culture and Art, Volume 11, Issue 1, Spring 2019, pages 1-23.
  • “Aestheticism of Framing and Deframing in Iranian cinema from 2001 to 2011”, S. Sotoudeh & Milad Sotoudeh & A. Alasti & M.J. Yousefian, Honar-Ha-Ye Ziba: Honar-Ha-Ye-Namayeshi Va Mosighi: Academic Journal of University of Tehran, Volume 21, Issue 2, autumn 2016, Pages 5-14.
  • “The Analysis of Camera Movement Aesthetics in Iranian Cinema From 2001 to 2011”, S. Sotoudeh & Milad Sotoudeh & A. Alasti & M.J. Yousefian, Journal of Dramatic Arts and Music: Academic Journal of University of Art, Volume 5, Issue 10, Autumn 2015, pages 49-66.
  • “Dramatic Functions of Depth of field in Iranian cinema from 2001-2011”, S. Sotoudeh & Milad Sotoudeh & A. Alasti & M.J. Yousefian, Journal of Dramatic Arts and Music: Academic Journal of University of Art, Volume 4, Issue 8, Summer & Autumn 2014, Pages 51-66.

Chapters in Peer-Reviewed Books

  • “Eastern Caressing Eyes: Persian-Islamic Arts, Haptic Moments, and Kiarostami’s Cinema”, Milad Sotoudeh & S. Sotoudeh & A. Sayyad, in Trends in Iranian Cinema: Local and Global Perspectives, Edited by B.M. Bakhtiari and M. Rahmati, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022, (Accepted- Forthcoming).
  • “The City in Fragments: Distraction, Flânerie, and Urban Modernity in Tehran, Studying Tehran, Conceptual Art by Mohammad Reza Aslani”, S. Sotoudeh & A. Sayyad & Milad Sotoudeh, in Handbook of Iranian Cinema, Edited by M. Langford & M. Ghorbankarimi & Z. Khosroshahi, I.B Tauris & Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022, (Accepted- Forthcoming).

Zachariah Crutchfield

Mohammed Elfeky

Sibel Karakoc

Visiting Lecturer

Rachel Cilia Werdmolder

Alexandra Blackman

Assistant Professor

Jason Sion Mokhtarian

Herbert and Stephanie Neuman Associate Professor



  • Rabbis, Sorcerers, Kings, and Priests: The Culture of the Talmud in Ancient Iran (University of California Press, 2015)
  • Medicine in the Talmud: Natural and Supernatural Remedies between Magic and Science (University of California Press, 2022). 

Edited Volume

  • Iranian Studies, special edition on “Religious Trends in Late Ancient and Early Islamic Iran.” Volume 48.1 (2015). Co-edited with David Bennett.

Selected Articles

  • “Material Culture of the Jews of Sasanian Mesopotamia.” In A Companion to Late Ancient Jews and Judaism: Third Century BCE to Seventh Century CE, eds. Naomi Koltun-Fromm and Gwynn Kessler (Hoboken: Blackwell Publishing, 2020), 145-166.
  • “Zoroastrian Polemics against Judaism in the Doubt-Dispelling Exposition.” Mizan: Journal for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations 3.1 (2018)
  • “Clusters of Iranian Loanwords in Talmudic Folklore: The Chapter of the Pious (b. Ta’anit 18b-26a) in Its Sasanian Context.” In The Aggada of the Bavli and Its Cultural World, eds. Geoffrey Herman and Jeffrey L. Rubenstein (Providence: Brown Judaic Studies, 2018), 125-148.
  • “Excommunication in Jewish Babylonia: Comparing Bavli Mo‘ed Qatan 14b-17b and the Aramaic Bowl Spells in a Sasanian Context.” Harvard Theological Review 108 (2015): 552-578.
  • “Empire and Authority in Sasanian Babylonia: The Rabbis and King Shapur in Dialogue.” Jewish Studies Quarterly 19 (2012): 148-180.
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