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Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Department Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee Mission Statement

One of the questions at the core of humanistic inquiry is how we can name, understand, and mediate cultural and linguistic difference. The Near East, the colonial imagining of the term notwithstanding, provides us with a particularly rich site for understanding and theorizing the notion of diversity. The faculty at NELC collectively cover several different families of languages and research and teach on cultures and societies of a region stretching across three continents, from ancient to modern times. We believe that the study of the Near East is deeply enriching and can foster greater understanding of cultural activity on a worldwide scale. It is with that belief that we help and animate our students learn Near Eastern languages.

Diversity should not be limited to checking off boxes on an institutional form. We believe in helping our students cultivate a toolkit of methods that will empower them to analyze how the idea of cultural and linguistic difference is produced, the ways in which it serves and legitimatizes discourses of power and exploitation, and how we can celebrate the diversity within the Near East without reproducing essentialistic and nationally-fabricated distinctions. Ultimately, celebrating diversity is the outcome of a never-ending process centered on language learning and humanistic inquiry with the ultimate goal of deepening our range of cultural understanding and empathy.

Department Diversity/Equity Committee Members