Islamic scholar Elena Corbett wins 2011 Romano Faculty Award

Elena Corbett, an assistant professor of history at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, is the recipient of the 2011 John Romano Faculty Diversity Recognition Award given by Penn State's Multicultural Resource Center.

Terrell Jones, vice provost for educational equity, lauded Corbett’s initiatives to increase student awareness of religious and cultural diversity at an award ceremony held on Penn State's University Park campus. "She has designed three new history courses to provide students with opportunity to understand the religion of Islam and how it ties into the history of Islamic countries," he said. "These courses connect history to contemporary politics and diplomacy, and provide a platform for students to examine and discuss differing religious beliefs."

Corbett also is Penn State Behrend’s representative in the Consortium for Educational Resources in Islamic Studies (CERIS), a collaboration of academic, nonprofit, and religious organizations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Corbett holds a doctorate from the Department of Near Eastern Language and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, where she specialized in the history of the modern Middle East. She holds master of arts degree from the same department in Islamic Archaeology. Her research, conducted primarily in Jordan, combines her interest in Arab intellectual history and nationalism with her background in archaeology, exploring how narratives are constructed from remnants of antiquity to give legitimacy to contemporary national and communal identities.

Corbett came to Penn State Behrend from the U.S. Naval Academy, where she taught Arabic language and Middle East Studies in the Department of Language and Culture Studies and served as academic programs coordinator for the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies. She has taught in, designed, managed and led Arabic language and cultural immersion programs both in the U.S. and abroad.

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Last Updated May 25, 2011