NEW YORK, May 3, 2007 – Beth Baron, Professor of History at The City College of New York (CCNY) and CUNY Graduate Center, 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, 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 their 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 joined the CCNY faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1989 and has held the rank of Professor since 2001. In addition, she has been a member of the CUNY Graduate Center’s Doctoral Faculty in History since 1995.
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.
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