Carole Hillenbrand, (born 1943), is Emerita Professor in Islamic History at the University of Edinburgh and Professor of Islamic History at the University of St Andrews. She is the Vice-President of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies and a Member of the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics.
Hillenbrand was born in 1943 in England. In 1962, she enrolled at Girton College, Cambridge where she studied modern languages. She then attended Somerville College at Oxford, where she studied Arabic and Turkish.
Hillenbrand gained a BA in Modern and Medieval Languages from Cambridge in 1965 and a BA in Oriental Studies from Oxford in 1972. She gained her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 1979. Her thesis analysed and translated a pair of British Library manuscripts of a text by the 12th-century Artuqid historian ibn al-Azraq al-Fariqi.
Her research interests include: the Crusades; Islamic political thought; medieval and modern concepts of jihad; Arabic and Persian travel literature. Dr. Hillenbrand serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals including the Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies and the International Advisory Board of The UMRAN - International Journal of Islamic and Civilizational Studies (ISSN 2289-8204), University of Technology, Malaysia.
Invited by an interviewer in 2018 to venture an opinion on whether the Moslems who had encountered westerners in the Holy Land during the time of the crusades had seen the best of western Christendom in their midst, Hillenbrand agreed that - with notable and distinguished exceptions - they almost certainly had not: "The most important thing that most of the crusaders who remained in the Holy Land learned ... was to use soap".
In the 2009 New Year Honours, Hillenbrand was appointed as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). In 2016, she was awarded the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding by the British Academy for her book Islam: A New Historical Introduction.