How do we study the history and culture of a people unknown to ourselves
without projecting our own values and views upon them? The goal of this class
is to problematize the possibility and the means through which westerners have
depicted and imagined non-westerners, thus the term “orientalism.” Orientalism
comprises a wide range of historical, social, literary, and popular writings as well
as other forms of artistic production (painting, photography, films) that sought to
uncover the essential features of non-Western civilizations, particularly in the
Middle East and the continent of Asia. In its textual form, Orientalism was based
on the study of original texts, which were assumed to be representative of the
essence of these civilizations.
The Middle East and North Africa collection (MENA) at the University of Illinois is a part of the International Area Studies Library. Our collection covers the region through the rise of Islam to the present and is developed to support the University’s centers and departments that offer courses related to the Middle East, North Africa, and the Islamic world.
The collection covers various disciplines of the humanities and the social sciences and includes languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Kurdish, Turkish, English, French, German, and Spanish. To locate non-Latin script language materials please follow the guideline set by the Library of Congress and the American Library Association, ALA-LC Romanization Tables.
This website is by no means a complete representation of the vast MENA collection however it serves as an entry way and portal to the digital and electronic resources available in the field.
If you have any questions or comments about using our collection, or wish to submit requests for new materials please contact Laila Hussein, Middle East & North African Studies Librarian.