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Middle Eastern and North African Studies

Resources relevant for the study of the Middle East (Southwest Asia) and North Africa from the ancient to the modern period

Library Contact

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Evyn Kropf
office: M117B Hatcher North (1A)

Middle East or Southwest Asia?

Regional designations represent a conceptual framing linking particular territories in some way, often rooted in social, political or imperialist interests. There has historically been a lack of consensus on what countries and territories constitute the regional designation "Middle East," as used by governments, non-governmental agencies, and scholars. Areas of Africa are often included (subsumed without naming) and sometimes even Central Asian areas. Some agencies (such as the UN) have used terms like "West Asia" or "South-West Asia" for these areas and some liberation movements (such as SWANA Alliance) choose alternative expressions like Southwest Asia and North Africa (SWANA) as decolonial terms. For more on the history and significance of these regional designations see "Where is the Middle East?" from the UNC Center for Middle East & Islamic Studies. 

Transliteration / Romanization

Transliteration (called Romanization when converting to Latin characters) is essential for searching in catalogues, databases, indexes, full text collections, etc. Systems vary considerably by publication / electronic resource / scholarly community / language of influence. Most North American library catalogues (including our local catalogue) use the Library of Congress (ALA / LC) Romanization system. For comparison of various transliteration systems, see the samples linked below along with Thomas T. Pedersen’s comparison tables

Sampling of Transliteration / Romanization Systems

Transliteration Comparison Tables (Thomas T. Pedersen)

Anti-Racism Resources

Find materials in our library's collections

To find book-length literature in our collections, start by searching our Library Catalog Search by subject, title, author, etc.

You'll also find other materials held by our library such as maps, films / DVDs, archival collections, manuscripts, and even journal and newspaper titles. 

To find article-length literature, start with Library Articles Search or one of our more subject-specific literature databases / indexes.

Follow the MGetIt links to get copies of particular articles and chapters.

Access materials from other libraries

Search the WorldCat catalog to find materials (books, microfilmed newspapers, archival collections, etc.) held by other libraries.

Place an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) request for materials that we don't own. We will request material(s) from other libraries on your behalf!

Important literature databases / indexes

Browse or search Library Databases Search to find additional literature indexes, reference works, and electronic text collections useful for your research.

Reference works

Find additional online reference works searching our catalog or Library Databases Search.

Browse the Near East Reference Collection to find additional reference works in print, including: dictionaries, grammars, bio-bibliographical works, editions of religious texts, volumes from the Handbuch der Orientalistik / Handbook of Oriental studies Section 1 The Near and Middle East, and more.

Online Date Conversion

Digital libraries / text collections / corpora

Archival collections

Photographs / Images / Visual material

Performing Arts Resources

Dissertations / Theses

Government information & Statistical data

Government documents and ephemeral publications acquired by the Library of Congress Cairo Office, microfilmed and available for borrowing (via ILL) from the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) 

·         Pamphlets about Algeria

·         Pamphlets about Egypt

·         Pamphlets about Jordan

·         Pamphlets about Lebanon, Iraq, Mauritania, the Middle East

·         Pamphlets about Oman

·         Pamphlets about Pan-Arab Organizations

·         Pamphlets about Saudi Arabia

·         Pamphlets about Sudan

·         Pamphlets about Syria and Morocco

·         Pamphlets about Tunisia

·         Pamphlets about West Bank

·         Pamphlets about Yemen

Scholarly Societies

Other relevant research guides

Working on a specific religious tradition in the Middle East (Southwest Asia) and North Africa? You may find the following U-M Library research guides helpful as well