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Janna Aladdin

Janna AladdinGraduation Year: 2016

Major: Middle Eastern Studies

Graduated with honors

1. Why did you choose Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers?

I was always interested in the history of the Middle East, particularly Ottoman history and was sold on the major after taking both introductory courses - the History of the Modern Middle East with Dr. Toby Jones and Introduction to the Middle East. Furthermore, I knew that I wanted to spend my college career learning different classes and traveling which is a prominent part of the MESP.

2. What did you learn/find valuable from doing the MES program?

One of the most important features of the MES program is its emphasis on language whether that language be Turkish, Arabic, or Farsi. This offers students the an opportunity to learn about another culture and different histories, access to a whole of world of books and archives, and the ability to travel to new places. The program is truly interdisciplinary and allows students to have a focus regionally while delving into different disciplines including religion, history, anthropology, critical theory, and women's and gender studies.

3. What were some of your favorite aspects of MES at Rutgers (favorite course; favorite professor, favorite project/trip, etc.)?

I absolutely loved the ability to work on research outside of the classroom whether for a particular professor or for my own thesis it allowed me to build a deeper connection with my studies. My favorite experience was being able to attend the Middle Eastern Studies Association annual meeting in Denver, with support from the CMES, which allowed me to meet renowned scholars and to present my research at a prominent conference.

4. Why do you think that studying the Middle East region is important in today's world?

Given the drastically changing politics and landscape of the region, it is integral to study, in depth, the complex history and current events in a multifaceted fashion. Historically and in the current moment, the region has been analyzed through misinformation and prevailing orientalism, therefore it is even more pressing to study the Middle East through a critical and interdisciplinary approach.

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