Donna Robinson Divine
Professor of Government
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I began to undertake serious work on the Middle East as an undergraduate at Brandeis University, concentrating on the history of Islamic civilizations and on language study. My graduate training at Columbia University broadened and deepened my knowledge of the Middle East through courses on classical Muslim history and on the region's economics and politics. Among students of the Middle East, my training in three of the region's major languages is distinctive, enabling me to conduct original research in Arabic, Hebrew and Turkish. (Many of my articles appear on the syllabi of courses offered at universities in the Middle East.) While my scholarly interests direct my attention to both historical developments and contemporary trends, I tend to brew up my projects in an interdisciplinary cauldron.
My study of politics has led me to explore Muslim and Jewish cultures and the ways in which these cultures shape societies, order relationships between men and women, and structure how people of all classes understand their life options. Thus in my courses, you are likely to find information about food, fashion, music and family dynamics, as well as about wars and public policies.
I attempt to put developments in the Middle East into their appropriate historical, cultural and political contexts in short essays posted on the POLITICO.com blog. I write even shorter comments on the events in the region on Twitter.