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Iranology Foundation

      United States Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)

     Affiliation : Harvard University

   Head of the Institue : Baber Johansen
   Date of establishment : 1954
   Field : Middle Eastern Studies
   Tel : (+1) (617) 495 4055
   Fax : (+1) (617) 496 8584
   Addres : Center for Middle Eastern Studies,Harvard University, 38 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
   Email : mideast@fas.harvard.edu, cmes@fas.harvard.edu
   Url : http://cmes.hmdc.harvard.edu/
   More : History of the institute: Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) is widely recognized as having one of the largest and most distinguished concentrations of Middle Eastern and Islamic scholars anywhere in the world. Founded in 1954 to further the systematic study of a vital, but largely unknown, part of the world, it was the first center of its kind in the United States. The Center’s original mandate covered both the classical and modern aspects of the region, but, as is reflected in its endeavors today, its interests soon grew to include Islamic societies and cultures worldwide. Unique among area centers at Harvard, CMES is responsible for teaching as well as research, which has been true since its inception. The Center is the coordinating body and a primary source of intellectual and material support within Harvard for scholarly pursuits covering the vast area between Morocco and Iran, and beyond. Soon after its inception and under the directorship of the eminent Arabist, Hamilton Gibb (from 1957 – 1966), the Center witnessed rapid growth in faculty and students, along with a variety of programs such as visiting fellowships and specialized publications. The dominant emphasis of CMES in the humanities, particularly history, became firmly rooted in this period, though it has never been an exclusive emphasis. In the 1970s, for example, the Center focused seriously on energy policy and development planning. In the late 1980s and 1990s, the Center undertook major initiatives to broaden its horizons beyond the Middle East to encompass the larger realm of Islam. At the same time, it was instrumental in significantly expanding Harvard’s resources in Iranian and Turkish studies, along with modern Middle Eastern history and modern Arabic language instruction. CMES also launched research projects in areas ranging from Ottoman court records and Iranian oral history to Islamic finance and contemporary Arab studies, most of which continue today. In 2004, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary and the appointment of anthropologist, Steven Caton as its new director, the Center committed itself to a determined effort to balance its traditional strengths in the humanities and the pre-modern era with a greater focus on the social sciences and contemporary issues. This commitment looks to expand Harvard’s teaching and research on the contemporary Middle East, and calls for moving beyond area-specific frameworks of inquiry in favor of approaches that are interdisciplinary, transregional, and transnational in scope. Scope of the institute: The Iranian Oral History Project The Ottoman Court Records Project Ottoman and Turkish Studies The Moroccan Studies Program Historians of the Ottoman Empire The Islam in the West Program