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Ellen Fleischmann

Professor Emerita


College of Arts and Sciences: History


Email: Ellen Fleischmann


  • Ph.D., Middle East History, Georgetown University, with distinction, 1996


Dr. Fleischmann came to the Department of History in 1998 as its Middle East historian. She taught all of the department's Middle East history courses and the West in the World. Her research interests focused on the transformations in the lives of Middle Eastern middle class women and men brought about by the forces of nationalism, colonialism, feminism and social change beginning in the 19th century and continuing into the 20th. Increasingly she is interested in transnational and reciprocal cross-cultural interactions in shaping the trajectories of Middle Eastern women’s lives. She is currently working on a book about the mutual social, cultural, political and religious encounter among Middle Eastern women and American Protestant missionaries in Greater Syria, circa 1860-1940s. Her work, which takes her to the Middle East, Europe and archives in the U.S., has been supported by research grants from Fulbright, NEH, the Presbyterian Historical Society, the Center for Modern Oriental Research (Berlin), the Norwegian Research Council and the University of Dayton. In 2013, Dr. Fleischmann became the sixth Alumni Chair in Humanities.

Faculty perspective

"As a scholar/teacher I focus both my teaching and research on understanding, analyzing and explaining major historical changes and trends within a global context. A major part of this process involves facilitating learning about, and appreciating diverse cultures, religions, internal social dynamics and issues. As a humanities professor, I try to ground my academic work in explorations of social justice and human rights."

Research interests

  • Modern Middle East history (with a focus on the Arab countries)
  • History of women and gender in the Middle East
  • Social history of Palestine during the British Mandate

Selected publications

Articles & Book Chapters

"Jerusalem Arab Women's Politicization During the British Mandate," in Jerusalem Interrupted: Modernity and Colonial Transformation, 1917‑2006, edited by Lena Jayyusi (Interlink Press, 2015).

"Living in an 'Isle of Safety': the Sidon Female Seminary in World War I and the Constraints of Compassion." Jerusalem Quarterly 56 & 57 (2014), 40-51.

"At Home in the World: Globalizing Domesticity Through Home Economics in the Interwar Years." In. Transnational and Historical Perspectives on Global Health, Welfare and Humanitarianism, edited by Ellen Fleischmann, Sonya Grypma, Michael Marten Kristiansand, and Inger Marie Okkenhaug. Kristiansand, Norway: Portal Books, 2013.

"Lost in Translation: Home Economics and the Sidon Girls' School of Lebanon, c. 1924-1932." Social Sciences and Mission, vol. 23 (2010), 32-62.

"The Other 'Awakening': the Emergence of Women's Movements in the Middle East, c. 1900-1940," in Globalizing Feminisms, 1789-1945, edited by Karen Offen. London and New York: Routledge, 2010.

"‘I Only Wish I Had a Home on This Globe’: Transnational Biography and Dr. Mary Eddy,” Journal of Women’s History, vol. 21, no 3 (Autumn 2009), 108-130.

“‘Under an American Roof:’ the beginnings of the American Junior College for Women.” Arab Studies Journal, vol. 17, no. 1 (2009), 62-84.

"Evangelization or Education: American Protestant Missionaries, the American Board, and the Girls and Women of Syria (1830-1910),” in New Faith in Ancient Lands: Western Missions in the Middle East in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries, edited by Heleen Van der Murre.  Leiden: Brill, 2006.

"The Impact of American Protestant Missions in Lebanon on the Construction of Female Identity, c. 1860-1950," Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 13, no. 4 (2002), 411-426.


(Editor), with Sonya Grypma, Michael Marten, and Inger Marie Okkenhaug. Transnational and Historical Perspectives on Global Health, Welfare and Humanitarianism. Kristiansand, Norway: Portal Books, 2013.

The Nation and Its 'New' Women: the Palestinian Women's Movement, 1920-1948. Berkeley: University of California Press, April 2003.