Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2023

Degree Type

Honors Thesis


International Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Studies

First Advisor

Ilaria Giglioli


This research examines Arabic education in the United States at the undergraduate level, highlighting the question: How do forces such as Orientalism, globalization, and neoliberalism affect the way that the Arabic language is taught and recognized in the United States? The Arabic programs of three highly accredited American universities are presented, in relation to their Japanese programs. While Japanese is a language that faces its own Orientalisms and imperial history with the West, Japan is currently not a country that is prioritized through national security interests, with Arabic being designated as a “Critical Language”. Through examination of the advertisement of these programs, it can be deduced that Western national security objectives are evident in the advertisement of Arabic programs leading to a sense of “othering” of the Arabic language. Additionally, neo-liberal ideals and free-market capitalist models are outlined by career outcomes and best return on the investment of education. Comparing Arabic and Japanese programs further solidifies this, through differences in phrasing and terminology, American political sentiments relating to the language and the culture, and motivations for studying the languages listed on university websites. From this research, the lasting effects that Orientalism has on Arabic education, and the perpetuation of capitalistic ideals through the imperial nature of American education may be better understood.