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Kathryn Schwartz

Assistant Professor of History

Kathryn Schwartz is a historian of the late Ottoman and modern Middle East. She earned her Ph.D. in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University in 2015, and her B.A. in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies from King’s College, the University of Cambridge in 2008.

Kathryn’s research focuses on the social implications of technological change. She is currently working on a book project entitled Print and the People of Cairo, which offers new perspectives on Middle Eastern book history by demonstrating the centrality of human agency, commerce, and manuscript continuity to Egyptians’ adoption of printing during the 19th century. Her recent articles have examined printing as social praxis, and as an arena for forwarding ideas about advancement and backwardness.

Research Areas

History of the Modern Middle East, History of the Book, History of Technology


Kathryn A. Schwartz, “Did Ottoman Sultans Ban Print?”. Book History 20 (2017): 1-39.

Kathryn A. Schwartz, “The Political Economy of Private Printing in Cairo, As Told from a Commissioning Deal Turned Sour, 1871.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 49:1 (2017): 25-45.

Awards and Accolades

Research Fellowship, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, 2017-2020

Awarded Book History’s 2017 Graduate Essay Award

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Digital Library of the Eastern Mediterranean, Widener Library, Harvard University, 2015-2017

The Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, Fall 2015

Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, The Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, Harvard University, 2014-2015

Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship, Harvard University, 2013-2014

Fulbright to Egypt, U.S. Student IIE, U.S. Department of State (accepted, but program suspended), 2013-2014

Merit/Graduate Society Term-Time Fellowship, Harvard University, Fall 2012

Presidential Scholar Fellowship, Harvard University, 2009-2015

Courses Recently Taught

History 131: The Middle East, 1500–Present