Edna Bonhomme is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science. She earned her PhD in the history of science at Princeton University in 2017.  Her dissertation, entitled, “Plagued Bodies and Spaces: Medicine, Trade, and Death in Egypt and Tunisia, 1500-1804 CE," focused on the history of epidemics, trade, and funeral rites in North Africa and the Middle East. Taking pre-colonial medical outbreaks as her point of departure, this project also sheds light on black slaves, public health and quarantine measures. Additionally, this work entails conducting fieldwork in Cairene and Tunisian cemeteries and ports for the purposes of understanding the relationship between epidemics, capital, and memory.

She graduated from Reed College with a B.A. in Biology and from Columbia University with an M.P.H. in Sociomedical Sciences. Before beginning her graduate work at Princeton, she worked as a research assistant in an immunology/genetics laboratory, coordinated with human rights groups in Haiti, and conducted public health research in New York City.

She received a Foreign Language Area Studies grant to study Arabic Language at the American University of Cairo and in 2014 to study Arabic at Middlebury College. She has also been a resident scholar at the New York Public Library.  Most recently, she has received a grant from the American Institute for Maghrib Studies and collaborated with scholars at the Centre d'Études Maghrebines à Tunis. 

She is currently working on journal articles on the plague and her first historical novel on imperialism. To find out more about her activism, research, and writing you can email her at:

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Edna is currently based in Berlin, Germany