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Beth Baron
Position: Distinguished Professor; Director, Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center, Graduate Center
Campus Affiliation: City College of New York|Graduate Center
Phone: 212-817-7574
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles; MA, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Research Interests: Modern Egypt, History of Medicine, Gender History, Middle East
Beth Baron is an historian of the Middle East, focusing on gender and modern Egypt. She is committed to finding traces in the archives of the marginalized and forgotten – women, children, orphans, and slaves – showing how narration of their stories challenges the ways in which the past is understood. From 2009 to 2014, she edited the International Journal of Middle East Studies, and from 2015 to 2017 served as President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America. During her tenure as President, the association became a leading plaintiff in one of the federal court cases seeking to overturn the Muslim Ban. She continues her advocacy with her work on the MESA Global Academy, which supports displaced scholars from the MENA region. Her research has been funded by grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Carnegie Corporation, Fulbright-Hays, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Grantee, Mellon Sawyer Seminar on “Race and the Middle East/North Africa,” 2020-2022.
President, Middle East Studies Association, 2015-2017
Editor, International Journal of Middle East Studies. 2009-2014
Carnegie Scholar, 2007-2008

Selected Publications


The Orphan Scandal: Christian Missionaries and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood (The Stanford University Press, 2014)

Discussion of The Orphan Scandal: Christian Missionaries and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood on the Ottoman History Podcast:

Webpage of The Orphan Scandal: Christian Missionaries and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood on Facebook:


Egypt as a Woman: Nationalism, Gender, and Politics (University of California Press, 2005).

The Women’s Awakening in
Egypt: Culture, Society, and the Press (Yale University Press, 1994).

Edited Volumes
Iran and Beyond: Essays in Middle Eastern History in Honor of Nikki R. Keddie (Mazda, 2000), co-edited with Rudi Matthee.
Women in Middle Eastern History: Shifting Boundaries in Sex and Gender (Yale University Press, 1991), co-edited with Nikki R. Keddie. 

Recent Articles

Roundtable on De-Centering Egyptian History: “Of Fistulas, Sutures, and Silences,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol.53:1 (February 2021).   
“Perilous Beginnings: Infant Mortality, Public Health, and the State in Egypt,” Gendering Global Humanitarianism in the Twentieth Century: Practice, Politics, and the Power of Representation, ed. Esther Moller et al. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020): 195-219.

“The Port Said Orphan Scandal of 1933: Colonialism, Islamism, and the Egyptian Welfare State,” in Cultural Conversions: Unexpected Consequences of Christian Missionary Encounters in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia,  ed. Heather J. Sharkey (Syracuse University Press, 2013).
"Liberated Bodies and Saved Souls: Freed African Slave Girls and Missionaries in Egypt," in African Communities in Asia and the Mediterranean: Between Integration and Conflict, ed. Ehud R. Toledano (Halle and Trenton, NJ and Asmara, Eritrea: Max Plank Institute and Africa World Press, 2011).
 "Comparing Missions: Pentecostal and Presbyterian Orphanages on the Nile," in American Missionaries and the Middle East: Foundational Encounters, ed. Mehmet Ali Dogan and Heather J. Sharkey (University of Utah Press, 2010).
"Nile Mother: Lillian Trasher and Egypt's Orphans," in Competing Kingdoms: Women, Mission, Nation, and American Empire, 1776-1960, ed. Barbara Reeves Ellington et al. (Duke University Press, 2010).
 "Orphans and Abandoned Children in Modern Egypt," in Between Missionaries and Dervishes: Interpreting Welfare in the Middle East, ed. Nefissa Neguib and Inger Marie Okkenhaug (Brill, 2008), 12-34.
"The Origins of Family Planning in Egypt: American Experts, Aziza Hussein, and the State," Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 4, no.3 (Fall 2008): 31-57.
"Women, Honour, and the State: Evidence from Egypt," Middle Eastern Studies 42, no.1 (2006): 1-20.
"Women's Voluntary Social Welfare Organizations in Egypt," in Gender, Religion and Change in the Middle East: Two Hundred Years of History, ed. Inger Marie Okkenhaug and Ingvild Flaskerud (Berg, 2005), 85-102.
"An Islamic Activist in Interwar Egypt," in Iran and Beyond, 201-20.  Reprinted in Women, Philanthropy, and Civil Society, ed. Kathleen D. McCarthy (Indiana University Press, 2001), 225-44.

"Islam, Philanthropy, and Political Culture in Interwar Egypt: The Activism of Labiba Ahmad." in Poverty and charity in Middle Eastern contexts (Albany, SUNY Press: 2003), 239-54.

"The Making of the Egyptian Nation," in Gendered Nations: Nationalism and Gender Order in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Ida Blom et al. (Berg, 2000), 137-58.
"The Politics of Female Notables in Postwar Egypt," in Borderlines: Genders and Identities in War and Peace, 1870-1930, ed. Billie Melman (Routledge, 1998), 329-50.

Nationalist Iconography: Egypt as a Woman,” in Rethinking Nationalism in the Arab World, ed. James Jankowski and Israel Gershoni (Columbia University Press, 1997), 105-24.

 “The Making and Breaking of Marital Bonds in Modern Egypt,” in Women in Middle Eastern History, ed. Nikki R. Keddie and Beth Baron (Yale University Press, 1991) 275-91.