Scholars 2020

Tel Aviv University, Department of Middle Eastern & African History

"Drugs, Imagination and Knives: Medical History of the Pre-Modern Middle East"

Dr Shefer is working in two academic fields: Middle Eastern Studies and History of Medicine. She has a variety of interests within the general theme of social history of Muslim medicine. Shefer has written thus far on topics ranging from madness in pre-modern Muslim contexts, to court culture, hospitals, professional medical ethics, military medicine, and hygiene and urbanization. Her forthcoming book on Ottoman medicine in the early modern era is being published by State University of New York Press. Her next project deals with the modernization westernization of Middle Eastern medicines in the long nineteenth century. The study is based on two premises: first, developments in medicine and public health were both a symptom of change in other aspects of human life (education, family values, religious and national identity, etc) and agents of change in themselves; second, Ottomans played an active role in the modernization process, for example, by selective borrowing from European medical systems.