Colonialism and Science
Decolonising Medicine and Science
Film Studies in the Middle East and North Africa
Global History of Science (1700-1950)
History of Epidemics, Trade, and Ports in the Mediterranean Sea
History of Medicine for the Global Subaltern
Middle East and North African History (1700-2000)
Science and medicine in their ability to demarcate power and space can serve as an index for social and political relations, a fact which becomes particularly evident in respect to the lives and experiences of those who are less powerful or influential, and whose activities have often been neglected in scholarly discourse. This course critically examines science in the Middle East and North Africa from the 1800s until the contemporary period. We will collectively consider the role that colonialism has played in shaping scientific practice and discourse. At the same time, the seminar will consider the ways that the subaltern, i.e., the working poor, women, lay people, were also active participants in producing scientific and medical knowledge. By exploring the contradictions and tensions between colonisers and their subjects, the course will uncover how science has been used as a colonial tool but also an instrument of resistance. In this seminar, students will be exposed to a range of historical texts, visual materials, and film from the nineteenth-century Middle-Eastern and North-African contexts.
In the history of medicine, disease and therapeutics have often been explored from the perspective of elites or with a primary focus on theory. Yet, more can be done to consider the ways that medical practices are shaped by historical material forces, including but not limited to the conditions and modes of (re)production. In this seminar, we will consider how the environment, political economy, and social structures provide a gateway for materia medica. By focusing on materials, this seminar will give an overview of how disease, medicine, and therapeutics have shifted from 1750 until 2000. Spanning a range of disciplines, geographies, and time periods, students in the course will explore recent scholarship that critically engages with disease and healing especially as it relates to imperialism, mapping, race, gender, and sexuality. We will center the subaltern as knowledge producers and examine the shifting and dynamic approaches to therapeutics in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The term ›subaltern‹ – as adopted by Antonio Gramsci and then popularized by South Asian scholars – offers a critical theory that uncovers the dynamic, dialectic, and material conditions that non-Western people have embodied. Meditating on materials, in a broad sense, can lead to a humanistic and grounded approach to historical materialist perspectives on disease and medicine. How do botany and instruments shape medicine? How do notions about sex and sexuality get incorporated into medicine? How has indigenous medicine been used by colonial regimes? Students will be expected to interpret a range of textual and physical materials including but not limited to film, oral history, homeopathic treatments, instruments, and the body. Given that students will be working with primary sources, the themes and approach will be beneficial for those in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences
This course traces the history of race and relations in film from 1915 until the present. The course examines familiar racialized and gendered tropes that have emerged in film representations of ethnic and racial minorities and charts changes over time. The course focuses on developing a critical analysis of film and other visual culture through viewing films, researching their history and writing critical-‐analytical summaries and analyses. To augment our work together in seminar, in on-line discussion sessions each week we will hone our critical techniques through structured argumentation and consideration of current political and media events.
This course explores contemporary films from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) with an emphasis on films mostly produced by Arab filmmakers. To that end, the class focuses on various themes in the region including: colonialism, gender, internal conflict and socio-political violence, within both historical and present political contexts. While addressing the larger question of the relationship between aesthetics, history and politics, this course will encourage an analysis of film from the micro-level (film execution) to the macro-level (broader politics within MENA). The theoretical is multi-disciplinary, incorporating sociology, history, political science, film aesthetics and analysis, and reception studies, in order to enrich and support the interpretation of the selected films.