Dr. Indira Joy Falk Gesink
History Department
308 Marting Hall

Dr. Gesink's CV


Washington University, St. Louis, MO
A.M., 1995; Ph.D., 2000.
Dissertation: "Beyond Modernism: Opposition and Negotiation in the Azhar Reform Movement, 1870-1911."

American University in Cairo, Egypt
Arabic Language Institute, Intensive Unit, Advanced Level,

Western Michigan University, Lee Honors College, Kalamazoo, MI
Major: History
B. A., Summa Cum Laude, 1992

Intensive summer programs in Arabic language:
University of Chicago, 1993, 1994 University of Michigan, 1992

Teaching Experience

Professor, Department of History, Baldwin Wallace University, May 2014-present.

Associate Professor, Department of History, Baldwin Wallace University, 2006-2014.

Assistant Professor, Department of History, Baldwin-Wallace College, 2000-2006.

Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of History, Washington University in St. Louis, 1998-2000.

Teaching Assistant, Department of History, Washington University in St. Louis, 1993, 1994, 1997.

Courses Taught

HIS 100: Historical Methods and Materials

HIS 102I: World Civilizations 1500-present

HIS 121I: History of Europe I, Renaissance to 1815

HIS 122I: History of Europe II, 1815-present

HIS 260: Women in Islamic History

HIS 236I: Women in Asian Civilizations

HIS/REL 287I: Early Islam (immersion format)

HIS 288I: Islamic History 600-1800

HIS 360I: Contemporary Middle East (reduced contact hour course)

HIS 381I: Arab-Israeli Conflicts (also offered in Carmel Living Learning Center, Spring 2005)

HIS 389I: Modern Middle East 1800-present

HIS 461: Historiography

HIS/INT/POL 463I: Women in World Civilizations (team-taught for DOE grant)

Faculty-Student Collaborative Scholarship projects: Adams Street Cemetery Mapping and Biographies, Berea Cemetery Theater Project, FLL 259 Arabic Translation


Teaching Awards

Oakley Certificate of Merit, Association for Gravestone Studies, 2010 (for "fostering appreciation of the cultural significance of gravestones and burying grounds" through the Adams St. Cemetery project and showing "how cemetery research can be incorporated into the curriculum to engage students as well as the college and city community.")

Ohio Magazine''s Excellence in Education Award ("Memorable Educator"), 2009.

"Positive Force Award," from Multicultural Student Services, 2006.

"Excellence in Teaching,"  Students for BW award, 2005.

Honorary inductee, Mu Zeta chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, National Political Science honor society, spring 2004 (nominated by student members).

"Most Inspiring Professor," Student Athlete Association award, spring 2003.

"Professor of the Semester," Phi Kappa Tau fraternity award, fall 2001. 

National Fellowships

American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) Dissertation Fellowship, 1997-98.

Boren Fellowship/National Security Education Program (NSEP) Graduate Enhancement Fellowship, 1995-1997.

Research Grants, Fellowships, and Scholarships

Gigax Faculty Scholarship Award, 2009.

Sabbaticals, fall 2014, spring 2007.

Gigax grant, course relief, spring 2013.

Summer Grants, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Baldwin Wallace University.

Senior Teaching Fellowships, 1998-2000, Washington University in St. Louis.

Mellon Dissertation Fellowship Award, 1997, Washington University in St. Louis.

International Pre-Dissertation Award, 1995, Washington University in St. Louis.

Mellon Fellowship for language study, 1994, Washington University in St. Louis.

Intensive Summer Arabic Tuition Scholarships, 1993, 1994, University of Chicago.

Full financial support, 1992-1997, through additional fellowships, tuition scholarships, and teaching assistantships, Washington University in St. Louis.

Current Research

Complex Sex: Intersexuals and Sexual Pluralism in Islamic Societies.  This is an inquiry into the legal status of ambiguously-sexed people from early Islamic times through the 1700s. Previous scholarship on this subject is scant and tainted by the projection into the past of Muslims' twentieth-century insistence on sexual dimorphism. My preliminary research suggests that pre-modern Hanafi law recognized sexual diversity and that hermaphrodites inhabited a recognized medial space between male and female.

Drinking from the Nile. This work of historical fiction uses my own experiences as a female researcher in Egypt in the 1990s as a backdrop for a fictional story line. The manuscript tells the story of Marina Korullu, a young professor who goes to Egypt in 2010 to do research on the historical development of the concept of romantic love and becomes ensnared in the events of the Arab Spring uprisings. The manuscript attempts to teach the causes and events of the uprising without appearing to do so, following the advice of historical theorist Hayden White, who recommends that historians drop dry, unmarketable fetishism of ‘the fact’ and embrace the origins of our discipline in the creative literary arts.



Review of Unveiling the Harem: Elite Women and the Paradox of Seclusion in Eighteenth-Century Cairo, by Mary Ann Fay, in Review of Middle East Studies, forthcoming August 2015.

“Open to All: The Vision of John Baldwin and Daniel Webster Shaw,” co-authored with Kieth Peppers. Ohio’s First African-American Graduates. Ed. Jacqueline Johnson. Forthcoming.

“On Islam, Violence, and the Execution of James Foley.” Huffington Post. 22 August 2014. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/indira-falk-gesink/on-islam-violence-and-the_b_5693509.html

“Arming Rebels Wouldn’t Resolve Syria’s Conflict.” US News and World Report. 14 August 2014. http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-obama-have-armed-syrian-rebels-sooner/arming-rebels-wouldnt-resolve-syrias-conflict

“Iraq: The Rise of the Gangster State—Why We Need a Better, Bolder Response to ISIS.” Huffington Post, 24 July 2014. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/indira-falk-gesink/iraq-rise-of-the-gangster_b_5606513.html

“Islamic Educational Reform in Nineteenth-Century Egypt: Lessons for the Present.” Chapter one in  Reforms in Islamic Education: International Perspectives. Edited by Charlene Tan. London: Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2013.
Review of Pious Citizens: Reforming Zoroastrianism in India and Iran, by Monica Ringer. The Historian  75, no. 3 (Fall 2013).

Barefoot Millionaire: John Baldwin and the Founding Values of Baldwin Wallace University. Berea: Baldwin Wallace University, 2013.

Philosophies of History: An Anthology of Historiography from Herodotus to Hayden White, co-edited with Justin Wilson (BW student), BW Custom Publishing, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. Copy-edited by Belinda Taylor (BW student).

"Speaking Stones: The Cemetery as a Laboratory for Undergraduate Research in the Humanities," Council for Undergraduate Research Quarterly 30, no. 4 (summer 2010), 9-13. Online at http://www.cur.org/quarterly/jun10/Gesink.pdf (member login required) or click here to order.

Islamic Reform and Conservatism: al-Azhar and the Evolution of Modern Sunni Islam.  London: I. B. Tauris, 2009. Trade edition, 2013. Arabic translation, forthcoming 2014.

Adams Street Cemetery Database.  Biographical and genealogical information on 603 burials in Berea's oldest cemetery; collaborative research project with students.  Online at http://mcs.bw.edu/~bereahis

Adams Street Cemetery Walking Tour.  Collaborative publication with students. Brochure.  Baldwin Wallace History Department, 2008.

"Dinshaway Incident," "Muslim Brotherhood," and "'Urabi Rebellion" in Encyclopedia of Western Colonialism since 1450, ed. Thomas Benjamin. 3 vols. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007.

"Islamic Reformation: A History of Madrasa Reform and Legal Change in Egypt," Comparative Education Review 50, no. 3 (August 2006): 325-345.

Review of Wahhabi Islam: From Reform and Revival to Global Jihad, by Natana De-Long Bas, in History: Review of New Books 33 no. 2 (Winter 2005): 76-77.

"Nationalist Imagery in Egypt's Tabloid Presses: A Drawing from the Egyptian Papagallo," The Modern Middle East: A Sourcebook, eds. Camron M. Amin, Benjamin C. Fortna, and Elizabeth B. Frierson. London: Oxford University Press, 2006.

"Science in Religious Education: A Fatwa from 19th-Century Cairo," The Modern Middle East: A Sourcebook, eds. Camron M. Amin, Benjamin C. Fortna, and Elizabeth B. Frierson. London: Oxford University Press, 2006.

"Chaos on the Earth': Subjective truths vs. communal unity in Islamic law and the rise of militant Islam," American Historical Review 108, no. 3 (June 2003), 710-733.

"T. E. Lawrence," article in Biographical Dictionary of Literary Influences: The Twentieth Century, 1914-2000, eds. John Powell and Derek Blakeley. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2003.

Selected Presentations

Led book discussion of Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People is Greater than the People in Power, by Wael Ghonim. Fall meeting of the Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies, Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA. 24 October 2014.

"Barefoot Millionaire," Celebration 2014, Adult and Continuation Education awards ceremony, Baldwin Wallace University, Berea, Ohio. 12 May 2014.

“BW’s Founding Vision.” Founder’s Day Luncheon address. Baldwin Wallace University. Berea, Ohio. October 21, 2013.

"The Founding Values of Baldwin Wallace University," James Wallace Dinner, Baldwin Wallace University, Berea, Ohio. 12 September 2013.

"The Founding of Baldwin Wallace University: A Very, Very Brief History," Fall Conference, Baldwin Wallace University, Berea, Ohio. 19 August 2013.

“Inspired by the Expired: Local History Projects and Programs in Cemeteries,” Ohio Local History Alliance State Meeting, Columbus, Ohio. October 6, 2012.

“Creating Mutually Beneficial Internships: A Case Study from the Adams St. Cemetery Project,” Ohio Local History Alliance Regional Meeting, Berea, Ohio. April 14, 2012.
“Understanding Egypt: Cultural, Economic, and Religious Explanations for the ‘Arab Spring’,” public lecture, St. Joseph Public Library, St. Joseph, MI. July 11, 2011.

Speaking Stones: True Stories from Berea's Dead (award-winning student theatrical performance).  William A. Allman Theater, Baldwin Wallace College, Berea, Ohio.  April 28, April 29, May 1, 2010.

"Cemetery Research as a Laboratory for Undergraduate Research in the Humanities," Council for Undergraduate Research regional meeting, Berea, OH, May 29, 2009.

"Conservatives in Nineteenth-Century Islamic Reform," Annual Meeting of the Midwest American Academy of Religion, Chicago, IL, April 1-2, 2004.

"19th Century Islamic Legal Reform and the Rise of Islamic Militancy," Women Historians of Greater Cleveland, Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, Case Western Reserve University, February 24, 2004.

"Nineteenth-century Egyptian Muslim Intellectuals and the Mythology of Stagnation," Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies Annual Conference, Fairfax, VA, April 12, 2002.

"Muhammad 'Abduh's Critics: Religious Nationalism and Tabloid Journalism," Middle East Studies Association National Conference, San Francisco, CA, Nov. 2001.

"Minorities, Women, and the Quest for National Unity in 19th Century Europe," Baldwin Wallace University, Berea, OH, February 16, 2000.

"Legal Indeterminacy in the Middle East," Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO, February 8, 2000.

"The Spirit of the Enlightenment," Millikin University, Decatur, IL, January 24, 2000.

"Azhar Conservatives in Negotiation of Reform at al-Azhar, 1890-1905," Middle East Studies Association National Conference, Washington D.C., Nov. 20, 1999.

"Cognitive Science and 'Tradition'," Arts and Sciences Graduate Student Research Symposium, Washington University, March, 1999.

"A New Approach to the History of Reform at al-Azhar," American Research Center in Cairo, Egypt, April 29, 1998.

"Alternative Sources for the History of Reform at al-Azhar," Fellows' Luncheon, American Research Center in Cairo, Egypt, April 1, 1998.

"Educational Reform in Early Twentieth-Century Egypt," Arts and Sciences Graduate Student Senate Research Symposium, Washington University, March 22, 1997. (Received award in humanities division.)

"Transmission of Categories in Interpretations of Ibn Khaldun," Western Michigan University, April 13, 1992.

College/Committee Service

Chair, History Department, Jan. 2006-present.

Director, Middle East and North Africa minor, 2014-present.

HLC Steering Committee, Jan. 2015-present. Coordinator for HLC Assurance Report Criterion One, Mission.

Honors Program Advisory Council, 2012-present.

Gender Studies Advisory Group, 2009-present.

International Studies Major Advisory Committee, 2004-present.

History Department Program Assessment Coordinator, 2006-present (HLC site visit, 2007)

Integrated Social Studies Teaching License Assessment Coordinator, 2009-present (NCATE certification, 2009-2010, 2014-2015)

External reader for Philosophy Department Program Review, spring 2015.

BW representative to NOCMES, the Northeast Ohio Consortium for Middle East Studies, 2011-present.

BW Representative to CERIS, the Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies, 2005-present.

Search committee for Assistant Provost, summer 2013.

Served as Humanities Representative to Provost Stahl's planning workshop, July 24, 2013.

External reader for Religion Department program review, spring 2013.

Core Curriculum Subcommittee on Writing Requirements for the Revised Core, fall 2012.

Faculty Affairs Committee, Humanities Division Representative, 2009-2012.

Teacher Education Committee, History Department representative, 2008-2010.

At-Large Representative to Faculty Senate, 2006-2009.

Race and Diversity Committee, 2002-2005 (Chair, Jan. 2004-July 2005) 

  • Coordinated creation and revision of a Diversity Studies Minor; minor passed by the faculty in April 2004.
  • Coordinated review of course syllabi for inclusion in menu of core courses for Diversity credit.

International Studies Committee, 2002-2004

Global Issues Committee, 2002-2004

BW Department of Education Grant participant, Asian Studies section, 2002-2003

Faculty Secretary for Humanities Division, 2001-2003

Faculty Secretary for History Department, 2001-2003

Philosophy Department Search Committee, 2001-2002

Multicultural Affairs Steering Committee, 2001-2002

Web Coordinator for History Department, 2000-present

Web Improvement Project coordinator, Departments of History and Religion, 2001

Founding Member, Graduate History Association, Washington University in St. Louis (student organization), 1993

Service to Student Body and Local Community

Participated in Faculty-Student Collaborative project, ENG 459 Advanced Editing Workshop, with Dr. Michael Garriga and six students.

Invited participant in North East Ohio Regional Fusion Center's Building Communities of Trust workshop for law enforcement and community members, June 26, 2013.


“Implications of the Arab Spring,” Institute for Learning in Retirement, Brown Bag Colloquium, People’s Church, Berea, Ohio. October 16, 2012.

Department of Education Language Across the Curriculum grant participant, Arabic language group, 2011-2012.

Arranged and organized public presentation by Dr. Naif al-Mutawa, creator of the Islamic-themed comic book The 99, in conjunction with NOCMES. May 2012.
“Egypt 2011: Spring or Fall,” panel discussion with Dr. Kelly Coble and Dr. Pete Moore (CWRU) on the Arab Spring and prospects for the future, October 18, 2011.
“The Arab Spring,” Adult Education Program, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Berea, Ohio. September 6, 2011.
Assisted a Berea-area Eagle Scout in planning a restoration project for St. Adalbert Cemetery, 2011.

Successfully completed supervision of three self-designed "Middle Eastern Studies" minors, 2011, 2013.

Participated in successful collaborative Fulbright-Hayes grant application with CERIS members, to create a study abroad program in Egypt for secondary education students, 2010-2011.

Panel presentation on the 2011 Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions, "Revolutionary Change in the Middle East and North Africa: Why, How and Where to Now?" 22 February 2011, Baldwin Wallace University.

Supervised student internship at BW's Historian's House.

Interviewed on cemetery theater production by Dee Perry for "Around Noon," WCPN radio, 26 April 2010. (http://www.wcpn.org/index.php/WCPN/an/30536/

Interviewed on cemetery project for Cool Cleveland , 19 April 2010 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Od0nj0fDPrk)

Organized a Gravestone Preservation Workshop on tombstone conservation methods led by Jonathan Appell, July 2009. 

Supervised internship for three students to clean, repair, and conserve tombstones at Adams St. Cemetery, July-August 2009.

Wrote successful applications for Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant in Arabic, for 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012.

Co-supervisor of Berea Oral History Initiative, with Dr. Molly Swiger. Internship for four students. Received training in oral history techniques, summer 2007; designed and ran workshop to train student interns and volunteers from the Berea Historical Society, summer 2007; resulted in interviews of local WWII, Korean war, and Vietnam war veterans, as well as locals on "the home front", fall 2007-spring 2008. 2008-2009 students initiated second phase of project, interviewing Berea residents on town history.

Supervisor of Adams Street Cemetery Project, 2006-present. Run as an internship for five students and one volunteer, summer 2006. Run as independent study, fall 2006. Run as Faculty-Student Collaborative Scholarship program, spring 2007, spring 2008, 2009-2010.

  • 2009-2010: Led 11 students in researching burials at St. Mary's Catholic cemetery on Depot St., and co-wrote a play, "Speaking Stones," with Jack Winget and the students, performed on April 28-29, 2010.
  • Spring 2008: Completed Access database containing biographical and genealogical information for 603 burials at Adams St Cemetery (online August 2008); wrote walking tour brochure; two student researchers presented papers at Phi Alpha Theta Ohio Regional Conference in Kent, OH, 5 April 2008; one student presented paper at National Council for Undergraduate Research Conference in Salisbury, MD, 10 April 2008, and at Ovations 2008, and designed an interpretive exhibit for the Berea Historical Society and Mahler Museum, April-December 2008.
  • Gave walking tours of Adams St. Cemetery for Alumni Weekend, 16 May 2008, and for Berea Garden Club, November 2007.
  • Summer 2007: Completed map of veterans' grave sites in Adams Street Cemetery, with reports of service records and biographical information (located graves of War of 1812 vet, Indian Wars vet, and possible Revolutionary War vet); delivered complete map of cemetery to Berea City Department of Public Service and Berea Historical Society; applied through Veterans Service Commission for replacement of ten damaged Civil War markers and one missing Indian War marker; integrated student research into an Access database; coordinated Ohio Humanities Council Internship for BW student preparing an exhibit on the Adams St Cemetery for the Mahler Museum; Served as guest speaker and Grand Marshall for American Legion Memorial Day Service and Parade, May 28, 2007 (for service to community).
  • Summer 2006: Trained five interns and one alumna volunteer to do archival research on interments at Adams St Cemetery, began mapping project, located and decorated graves of one WWI and 16 Civil War veterans.

Faculty discussant at Phi Alpha Theta Historical Movie Night (Kingdom of Heaven), 16 April 2008.

TV interview on Adams Street Cemetery Project for Berea City School-TV program "A Community of Learning," Sept. 21, 2006.

Led follow-up discussion for Dr. Azar Nafisi's talk "Clash of Civilizations Revisited: The Republic of the Imagination," for Public Relations capstone seminar, Sept. 18, 2006. 

Participated in pilot project to test Audience Response Units (TurningPoint) for in-class quizzes. Used them consistently in two sections spring 2006; students enjoyed technology but did not perform better on quizzes. Pilot exposed problem with unit batteries.

College Representative to CERIS, the Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies, 2005-present.

Faculty Advisor to Arabic Studies Club, 2005-present.

Took students to and helped one of them prepare a presentation for  the regional conference of Phi Alpha Theta (honor society in history) at Clarion University, Clarion, PA, April 2, 2005.

Lecture series for Adult Forum on Islam, "The Story of Islam," Islam and the West in the 20th Century and the Rise of Islamic Militancy," and "Islam and Women," St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Berea, OH, January23, January 30, February 6, 2005.

Guided discussion of Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, by Jean Sasson, "Let's Talk About It" Series, Medina County District Library, Brunswick, OH, October 21, 2004.

Organized and moderated the Modern Middle East Film series, including showings of Pascali's Island, Lawrence of Arabia, and Battle of Algiers, spring semesters 2001, 2002, and 2004.

Participated in panel presentation for the "Lean on Me!" Pedagogy Workshop series, "Making Groups Work -- Finding the right blend of lecture and team work," Friday, February 6, 2004.

Provided translation for an illustrated page of the Qur'an for front cover of the American Historical Review 108, no. 4 (October 2003).  Editors needed a translation to ensure that the page didn't contain "inappropriate" verses.

Faculty panel discussion on Operation Iraqi Freedom, Heritage Hall, Baldwin Wallace University, Berea, OH, March 31, 2003.

Served as Cleveland-area press resource on Operation Iraqi Freedom, spring 2003-present (Ex.: interviewed for article "Desert Storm not same as Iraq War now: Experts say oil not major issues this time, but Saddam's rule is," The News Sun [Thursday, April 3, 2003], 1-2; consulted with Adrienne Ross, congressional aide, for her trip to Baghdad in October 2003).

Wrote article for The Exponent on "Islam and Violence in the Media," vol. 89, is. 3 (Sept. 18, 2003), 2.

Community presentation, "Imperialism, Coca-colonization, and Reaction: The Middle East in the Twentieth Century," Understanding Islam series, First Congregational Church, Berea, OH, Jan. 20, 2002.

Faculty panel presentation, "Modeling Civil Disagreement: U. S. Responses to Sept. 11," Baldwin Wallace University, Berea, OH, Oct. 25, 2001.

Faculty panel presentation, "Target: U.S.? Target: us? Making Sense of the Events of 9/11," Baldwin Wallace University, Berea, OH, Sept. 25, 2001.

Served as community resource on Islam and the Middle East in wake of Sept. 11 (answered over 400 e-mail and phone inquiries).

Televised interview on Osama bin Ladin, CBS affiliate Channel 19/43 evening news, Friday, Sept. 14, 2001.

Chair/Commentator for student panel, "Catholicism, Canon Law and the Taliban," Phi Alpha Theta Ohio Regional Conference, Baldwin Wallace University, April 28, 2001.

"From Western Michigan University to Egypt and Back," Alumna address for History Department Student Honors Reception, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, March 17, 2000.

Textbook reviewer for Marshall-Cavendish Press and McGraw-Hill.


Additional Training:

Department Chairs’ Workshop, Council of Independent Colleges. Cleveland, Ohio.  May 12-14, 2015.

Quality Matters: Applying the QM Rubric to your Online Courses. Workshop on using QM rubric to create and evaluate online courses. Baldwin Wallace University. 6 April 2015.

Audited course, ENG 307 Advanced Creative Writing, Dr. Michael Garriga, Baldwin Wallace University, Fall 2015.

Creating Online and Hybrid Courses workshop. Baldwin Wallace University, 30 October 2013.

Completed Gravestone Conservation workshop, Jonathan Appell, 2009.  


Modern Standard Arabic and 19th century variants

Egyptian colloquial Arabic

Reading knowledge of French and Spanish

Overseas Experience

Egypt (14 months, 1995-1996, 1998)

India (9 months, 1984-1985)

Additional travel in western Europe, Thailand, Israel, and Jordan.

Professional Associations

American Historical Association (AHA)

American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE)

Middle East Studies Association (MESA)

Phi Alpha Theta, Phi Kappa Phi, and Golden Key Honors Societies (1992)


Dr. Engin Akarli, İnsan ve Toplum Bilimleri Fakültesi , Tarih Bölümü, İstanbul Şehir Üniversitesi

Dr.Ahmet T. Karamustafa, Dept. of History, University of Maryland

Dr. David Commins, Dept. of History, Dickinson College

Dr. Kenneth Cuno, Dept. of History, University of Illinois

Dr. Steven E. Siry, Dept. of History, Baldwin Wallace University

Dr. Robert Montgomery, Dept. of History, Baldwin Wallace University
Dr. Ellen Posman, Dept. of Religion, Baldwin Wallace University
Dr. Ana De Freitas Boe, Dept. of English and Office of Academic Affairs, Baldwin Wallace University



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