Area studies to Islamic studies 1959
George Makdisi Teaches Arabic and Islamic History
George Makdisi was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1920 and studied at the University of Michigan and Georgetown University before earning his Ph.D. at the University of Paris at the Sorbonne in 1964. From 1959 to 1973, he served on the Harvard faculty in the Department of Semitic Languages and History which became the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, first as a lecturer and eventually as a full professor, and taught courses including “Arabic Poetry,” “Arabic Grammar and Grammarians,” “Islamic Historiography,” and “Islamic Religion and Law.” Professor Makdisi was the preeminent Arabist and Islamicist at Harvard immediately after Professor Gibb and was a specialist in Islamic history whose publications include The Rise of Colleges: Institutions of Learning in Islam and the West (1981), The Rise of Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West (1990), and Ibn ‘Aqil: Religion and Culture in Classical Islam (1997). In 1973, he left Harvard for the University of Pennsylvania where he served as Professor of Arabic until his retirement in 1990.