Press Release: Professor Beth Baron Named Carnegie Scholar

Beth Baron, Professor of History at the CUNY Graduate Center and The City College of New York (CCNY), is one of 21 Middle East specialists named 2007 Carnegie Scholars by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the philanthropic foundation established by 19th Century steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. The award carries a grant of $100,000 over two years.

Professor Baron, who is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the CUNY Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center at the Graduate Center, will use the grant to complete the manuscript of book tentatively titled In Their Own Image: Americans and Middle Eastern Muslim Women. The project tracks a century-and-a-half of American proselytization, modernization and democratization efforts targeting Middle Eastern girls and women, the response of Muslim females and their own agendas.

“American attempts to remake Middle Eastern Muslim women in the own image have had limited success and at times generated a backlash that undermined their achievements,” Professor Baron says. “This topic has particular urgency at a time in which Americans are deeply involved in the Middle East yet have profound misunderstandings on Muslim women’s lives, past and present, and are ignorant of the American legacy in the region.”

Professor Baron’s research will encompass the 19th and 20th Centuries, continuing through to the present day, covering countries from Egypt to Afghanistan where the United States has had a significant presence. “The book will attempt to broaden and deepen the discussions of American interventions in the lives of Muslim women and of the agendas of those women,” she says.

A graduate of Dartmouth College with a Ph.D. in history from The University of California, Los Angeles, and a M.A. in Near and Middle Eastern Studies from University of London, Professor Baron has been a member of doctoral Faculty in History since 1995. She joined the CCNY faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1989 and has held the rank of Professor since 2001.

Professor Baron is the author of two books on women in the Middle East, Egypt as a Woman: Nationalism, Gender and Politics (University of California Press, 2005) and The Women’s Awakening in Egypt: Culture, Society and the Press (Yale University Press, 1994), and served as co-editor on three volumes. She has also written 16 journal articles and presented papers at numerous academic conferences.

The Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote “the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.” For over 95 years, it has carried out Mr. Carnegie's vision of philanthropy by building on his two major concerns: international peace and advancing education and knowledge.

The Corporation launched the Carnegie Scholars program in 1999 to support innovative and path-breaking scholarship on issues related to its program areas. Since 2005, the program has focused specifically on Islam because the Corporation believed that developing a deeper understanding of Islam and the modern world was of vital importance.

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York (CUNY). An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs, as well as a number of master ’s programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to twenty-eight interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns.  Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, the Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events.  Further information on the Graduate Center and its programs can be found at www.gc.cuny.edu.

Submitted on: MAY 1, 2007

Category: Press Room