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Associate Fellows & Project Descriptions for 2013--2014 "Networks of Exchange" Project

NAHYAN FANCY 

Associate Professor, Department of History
Depauw University
 
IMG 1202 - Version 2I am currently on sabbatical from DePauw University, where I am an Associate Professor of Middle East/Comparative History. My research interests are in the history of science and medicine in pre-1500 Islamicate societies. My first book, Science and Religion in Mamluk Egypt: Ibn al-Nafis, Pulmonary Transit and Bodily Resurrection (Routledge, 2013), examines the intersections of philosophy, theoretical medicine and theology in the works of Ibn al-Nafis (d. 1288), which led him to posit not only his well-known anatomical result, but even a new physiology and a new theory of pulse. Currently, I am working on the place of theoretical medicine and its teaching in Islamicate societies during the Mamluk period, particularly with regards to the fate of Ibn al-Nafis's novel theories. Contrary to long-held assumptions, Ibn al-Nafis's novel physiological theories were not discarded by Islamicate physicians, but rather seriously considered and modified by Mamluk-era physicians in their commentaries on the works of Ibn al-Nafis and Avicenna. Brief examples of such engagements can be found in a forthcoming article in Oriens. During my time at the RCHA, I hope to learn more about how alternatives to Galenic physiology were being developed, discussed and debated in the Islamicate world, and how these developments were themselves transmitted across the Mediterranean, thus reviving and transforming debates in physiology and anatomy in 16th century Italy.

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