Arabic for Research Students
The courses are aimed at students in the University who need to access resources in Arabic for research purposes as part of their current course.
Here are some of the students who have attended the courses with information about their research and why they are learning Arabic:
“I work on the resilience of social networks among Syrians living in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp. My fieldwork aims to understand how social relationships vital to community life before statelessness transform in the space of the camp. I will examine how their transformation contributes to an understanding of how camp residents from Dar’a, Syria view the city’s future and its role in the changing political idea of Syria and Syrianness. I would like to expand my Arabic vocabulary, especially as I prepare for fieldwork in the refugee camp. For my research, I will also be using some contemporary sources in Arabic, such as newspapers and journal”.
“My research will deal with policies for inclusion of vulnerable immigrants and refugees in labour market in Brazil and in the UK. I will analyse how these governments have used migration policies according to internal market demands, and then propose alternatives to reach a more humanitarian approach, considering the immigrant beyond his/her role exclusively in the market. Arabic has been very helpful so far because a significant part of the immigrants with whom I deal come from Arabic speaking countries, especially Syria and Iraq. Although many of them speak some English, it is very useful to have notions in Arabic for my interviews. It can help to translate more precisely some specific terms, as well as to create more empathy with the interviewees. Besides that, I have always appreciated Arab culture and language, as I had Arab grandparents and I had great times travelling to the Middle East. I have studied basic Arabic in my hometown in Brazil, so the classes at the Centre have helped me a lot to keep practicing and to acquire new vocabulary quite fast. The teacher has been a very kind and patient teacher, motivating us to learn in a natural and dynamic way”.
Katarzyna Sidlo, Visiting Scholar at the Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge, a Research and Communications Associate at CASE – Center for Social and Economic Research, a Warsaw-based think tank, and a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Warsaw
The classes were great, very helpful not only because I’ve learned some new things (although mostly refreshed properly my previous knowledge) but also because they helped me to work on my Arabic more regularly and motivated to revise new word on daily basis. My research interests focus on the political economy of the Middle East, Islamic banking and finance, economics of religion, and religious conversion. Because a lot of my work right now is based on early Arabic written sources, such as Sunna and historical, legal, and theological treaties, I really benefited form the classes, not least because it gave me an opportunity to practice speaking and use more modern language than I usually do in my research. I’ve also benefited greatly from grammar revision – perhaps not the most exciting part of the classes, but very useful for reading old texts.
My research looks at Syrian refugees who have come to Europe during the so-called ‘migrant crisis’. Syrians who attain refugee status and settle in Europe are often said to be ‘starting a new life’. I want to investigate what this means in reality: do Syrian refugees see their lives in these terms? What is actually entailed in starting a new life? What are the expectations of a new life in Europe? I explore this through a study of hope and its consequences. I am studying Arabic because it will be essential for the 12 months ethnographic fieldwork I plan to conduct in 2016/17 with Syrian refugees which this study will be based upon.
“As a student of Theology and Anthropology, the relationship between religion and culture is at the core of my research interests. In my doctoral work I would like to develop a theologically astute ethnography of the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of ordinary Palestinian Christians. This topic will be explored ‘from below’ by an extensive period of fieldwork among Palestinian Christians, in combination with library research on Israel-theology. Learning Arabic is an important element of my research, because I would like to conduct interviews with Palestinian Christians during my fieldwork. Not all Palestinians speak English, so I have to acquire some knowledge of Arabic myself. Learning another language is also a tool to understand a culture better, because a lot of cultural sensitivities are hidden in language. In addition, speaking the language of the community one studies is a good way to gain their trust. I am very pleased with the Arabic classes at CIS. The classes are designed for research students, so the size of the groups are small and the teacher listens to the individual needs of her students. The classes stimulated me to keep on practicing and enabled me to improve my Arabic quite fast. I would definitely recommend these classes to other research students who would like to use Arabic in their research”.