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Feminist Historian Honored for Contributions to Latin American Studies

Elaine Carey, Ph.D., full professor and chair of history, has received the 2014 Thomas McGann Honorable Mention Award for her most recent book, Women Drug Traffickers: Mules, Bosses, and Organized Crime.

 Announced this spring, the honor was conferred by the Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies. The award committee praised the book for “show(ing) how gender analysis . . . can shed new light and add to our understanding of the twentieth century.”   A feminist scholar, Carey analyzes the role women played in the flow of drugs from Latin America to the United States from 1900 to 1980.

“Historians have a responsibility to add to the body of knowledge by covering all aspects of an issue,” said Carey. In addition to her latest book, she is the author of Plaza of Sacrifices: Gender, Power, and Terror in 1968 Mexico (2005) and coeditor of Smugglers, Brothels, and Twine: Transnational Flows of Contraband and Vice in North America (2011).

Carey is the recipient of a National History Center and Teagle Foundation grant; two Fulbright-Garcia Robles Fellowships; two National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships; and the Lloyd George Sealy Research fellowship at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Recently, Carey was invited by the American Historical Association (AHA) to take part in its Nationwide Tuning Project. The faculty-led initiative is dedicated to improving history education and identifying the basic components that need to be integrated into a quality undergraduate history curriculum. The AHA also appointed her to a three-year term (2013-16) as vice president of its Teaching Division, which incorporates the discipline’s best practices into history programs nationwide.

The daughter of a naval officer, Carey grew up in many cities and lived in Spain for a stint. This experience, in particular, whetted her curiosity to know more about the world. By the time she entered graduate school, Carey had decided that pursuing history would enable her to combine her curiosity with her love of writing.  “I started viewing issues as a feminist scholar early on,” she said. “In high school, I wrote feminist articles for the school newspaper.” 

Earning her B.A. in history and M.A. in international affairs from Florida State University, Carey received her Ph.D. in history from the University of New Mexico.

Since joining St. John’s in 2002, Carey has gained recognition as a scholar and educator. In addition to her many academic accomplishments, Carey’s dedication to students is reflected in the McNair Mentor of the Year and Faculty Recognition Awards she has received.  Students praise her for creating career-enhancing opportunities, as well as teaching skills to help them succeed in a variety of fields.

“Dr. Carey provided the connection I needed to become an intern at the United Nations,” said Sarah Sicari‘16G.  “She also taught me how to write clearly and concisely, and showed me how to use what I learned as an historian in a wide range of occupations.”

Said Carey, “I am dedicated to making students aware of the value of studying history. I want them to know that this discipline prepares them for careers that transcend teaching, including holding legal, governmental, cultural, and business positions.”