Baker ’84 Awarded NEH Grant

Cynthia Baker '84

Cynthia Baker ’84, associate professor of religious studies at Bates College, received $50,400 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support her research into one of history’s most fraught identity terms: Jew.

The NEH grant will allow Baker to research and write a book set for publication in the “Key Words in Jewish Studies,” series published by Rutgers University Press. Baker notes that no studies exist that analyze the use and the historical development—from ancient times through the postmodern era—of ‘Jew’ as a term.

Baker’s year-long research will involve experts and archives in the U.S., Europe, and Israel.  She will also examine ancient inscriptions and conduct art-historical analyses of images of Jews, including:  medieval European churches, manuscripts, modern cartoons, propaganda, and current pop art.  “The current worldwide political and social developments make this research more compelling than ever,” notes Baker.

By Amanda Sweeney ’11