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New Membership in Near Eastern Studies Created in Honor of Patricia Crone

November 12, 2015
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Alexandra Altman
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Patricia Crone

A new Membership has been established in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in honor of Patricia Crone, Professor Emerita in the School, who died in July after a courageous fight against cancer. A Patricia Crone Membership has been created with Crone’s generous designation of a significant portion of her estate to support a visiting scholar in Near Eastern studies, an area that she helped to build and strengthen at the Institute during her tenure. Gifts made to the Institute in Crone’s memory will be added to the Patricia Crone Fund.

Memberships in the School afford leading scholars from all over the world the opportunity to spend a year at the Institute alongside the permanent Faculty and other visiting scholars. Members are given research and administrative support, housing, and an office in an environment completely dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, without the pressure for immediate outcomes.

Commenting on the establishment of the Crone Membership, Sabine Schmidtke, Professor in the School of Historical Studies, noted, “Patricias outstanding accomplishments as a scholar and the impact her research had on the field can hardly be estimated. What made her even more exceptional, however, was her quiet way of caring and her skills as a mentor. Her generous gift to the School of Historical Studies is a wonderful manner to keep her legacy as a scholar-cum-mentor alive.”

“Patricia’s final and touching act of generosity is an incredible gift for the Institute,” added Robbert Dijkgraaf, Leon Levy Professor and Director of the Institute. “We now have a wonderful opportunity to honor Patricia’s formidable legacy as a scholar by hosting some of the brightest minds in her field.”

Crone served as the Andrew W. Mellon Professor from 1997 until retiring in 2014. Her insightful work, compellingly conveyed in her adventurous and unconventional style, shed important new light on the critical importance of the Near East—in particular on the cultural, religious and intellectual history of Islam—in historical studies. Crone was succeeded in 2014 by Sabine Schmidtke, an Islamic intellectual historian who is advancing important scholarship across Islamic culture and history.

Crone’s significant scholarly impact and influence was recognized in the many appreciations that appeared after her death, including one in the Economist, which noted, “Islam arose with remarkable speed and mystery. Patricia Crone’s well-stocked mind, clear prose and unflinching intellectual honesty were devoted to explaining why.”