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About Us

For over half a century, the Center for Near Eastern Studies has promoted interdisciplinary study of the Middle East at UCLA and beyond, raising public awareness of the region’s diverse peoples and cultures and their relevance to today’s world.

Our mission is to train undergraduate, graduate, and professional specialists on the Middle East, North Africa and the Islamic world. We promote Middle East conferences, graduate studies, and research projects by regional and international scholars across all of UCLA's academic divisions.

The Center also serves as the focal point for public discussion and dissemination of knowledge about the countries and cultures of the Middle East. We sponsor workshops for K-14 teachers and public programming that is open to all through audience attendance and through our podcasts.

The Center was founded in 1957 by the noted Austrian historian and Arabist Gustav E. von Grunebaum, who came to UCLA as a professor of Near Eastern History.  The Center is one of the earliest research centers promoting interdisciplinary studies of the Middle East and the Islamic World ins the U.S.

Over the decades, the Center has attracted an outstanding faculty and developed a world-class multi-lingual library collection for Middle East research. We offer an intellectual home for scholars from all over California, along with independent scholars from around the world who contribute to our lively programs of colloquia, lectures, conferences, teacher workshops, and public events.

Our Center was critical to the development of Middle East Studies at UCLA, which has become one of the major U.S. institutions for teaching and research on the region. Each year thousands of UCLA undergraduates take courses related to the Middle East and North Africa within their disciplines. The Center has mentored generations of graduate students, ensuring the growth and diversification of expertise in the field.

Over the years, the Center has sponsored the publication of several series of monographs, working papers, conference proceedings, and journals.

Continuing Series

Giorgio Levi Della Vida Series in Islamic Studies

The Giorgio Levi Della Vida Conference in Islamic Studies was inaugurated in 1967 to stimulate research in Islamic Studies and to recognize its greatest scholars. The Conference takes place every 2-3 years, with proceedings published in due course.

The UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law

Published once a year as the first law school journal in the West dealing with this topic, JINEL’s goal is to emphasize and critically analyze all legal issues--social, political, civil, historical, economic, and commercial--that are relevant to Middle Eastern people in both Muslim and non-Muslim societies.

Averroës Occasional Papers

As part of the newly inaugurated Averroes Lecture Series, the Center publishes a series of occasional papers on Jewish communities in Muslim Lands prior to the 20th century.

Past Series

These publications can be found in research libraries. Some back issues are still available from the Center.
Studies in Near Eastern Culture and Society

The Center’s ten-volume series of Studies in Near Eastern Culture and Society includes monographs and conference papers written or edited under Center auspices from 1977 through 1999.

Middle Eastern Identities Series

The Center was instrumental in sponsoring conferences that generate edited works of original research on the Middle East, including Ethnic Conflict and International Politics in the Middle East (Leonard Binder, 1999), Iran, Iraq and the Arab Gulf States (Joseph Kechichian, 2001) and Napoleon in Egypt (Irene Bierman, 2003).

Working Papers Series

The Center published more than two dozen Working Papers by faculty such as Sondra Hale, Nikki Keddie and Afaf Marsot, visiting scholars such as Janet Abu-Lughod, Barbara Aswad and Riaz Hassan, and alumni such as Mehdi Bozorghmehr, Nancy Gallagher and Farshad Rastegar, in fields ranging from sociology to urban planning, education, development and history, and spanning the region from Kazakhstan to Morocco.

California Digital Library e-Scholarship Repository

The Center collaborated with the California Digital Library on the eScholarship Repository, a site established for the rapid dissemination of research by UC-affiliated scholars. Five Center publications were added to the collection between 1999 and 2008.