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Assistant Professor of History

The University of Chicago

Elena Corbett



  161 Kochel Center









Elena D. Corbett came to Penn State Behrend from the Department of Languages and Cultures at the U.S. Naval Academy. She is a 1998 graduate of Bucknell University (Anthropology), and earned both her M.A. (2000, Islamic Archaeology) and her Ph.D. (2009, Modern Middle East History) from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at The University of Chicago. Her teaching area is the history of the Middle East and Islamic Civilization.

Dr. Corbett’s book manuscript, A Canvas for the Nationalist Mind’s Eye: Archaeology and Narrative in Jordan examines antiquity and the creation of archaeological knowledge as a locus for narratives of sub-national, national, and transnational identities across key moments in Jordan’s history, from its inception as a Mandatory state, to the expansion and contraction of its borders, its continued absorption of large and varied refugee populations, and its recent history in the context of neoliberal development.

Her forthcoming projects include a collaborative study of the history of Dhiban village, Jordan as a lens for understanding key issues in the construction of the early Transjordan nation-state, and an examination of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and its hybrid nationalist, transnationalist, and Catholic character from 1950-1967, when Jerusalem and the West Bank were under Jordanian rule. Dr. Corbett’s research has been published in Middle Eastern Studies and Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism. In spring 2011 she was awarded Penn State’s Multicultural Resource Center John Romano Faculty/Staff Diversity Recognition Award.

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