Medicine and the Saints: Science, Islam, and the Colonial Encounter in Morocco, 1877-1956

Overview

The colonial encounter between France and Morocco took place not only in the political realm but also in the realm of medicine. Because the body politic and the physical body are intimately linked, French efforts to colonize Morocco took place in and through the body. Starting from this original premise, Medicine and the Saints traces a history of colonial embodiment in Morocco through a series of medical encounters between the Islamic sultanate of Morocco and the Republic of ...

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Medicine and the Saints: Science, Islam, and the Colonial Encounter in Morocco, 1877-1956

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Overview

The colonial encounter between France and Morocco took place not only in the political realm but also in the realm of medicine. Because the body politic and the physical body are intimately linked, French efforts to colonize Morocco took place in and through the body. Starting from this original premise, Medicine and the Saints traces a history of colonial embodiment in Morocco through a series of medical encounters between the Islamic sultanate of Morocco and the Republic of France from 1877 to 1956.

Drawing on a wealth of primary sources in both French and Arabic, Ellen Amster investigates the positivist ambitions of French colonial doctors, sociologists, philologists, and historians; the social history of the encounters and transformations occasioned by French medical interventions; and the ways in which Moroccan nationalists ultimately appropriated a French model of modernity to invent the independent nation-state. Each chapter of the book addresses a different problem in the history of medicine: international espionage and a doctor's murder; disease and revolt in Moroccan cities; a battle for authority between doctors and Muslim midwives; and the search for national identity in the welfare state. This research reveals how Moroccans ingested and digested French science and used it to create a nationalist movement and Islamist politics, and to understand disease and health. In the colonial encounter, the Muslim body became a seat of subjectivity, the place from which individuals contested and redefined the political.

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Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review - Sahar Bazzaz
Medicine and the Saints offers readers a complex analysis and interpretation of French colonialism in Morocco...
Social History of Medicine - Adam Guerin
Medicine and the Saints challenges the very notion of modernity and provides fresh insight into contemporary questions of post-colonial epistemologies of personal and social health. This book is essential for scholars interested in social life at the interstices of colonial-modern Morocco.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292745445
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 8/15/2013
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen J. Amster is Associate Professor of Middle East History at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and a specialist in French and Islamic medicine. Her research includes global health, non-Western health and healing systems, women's studies, the history of North Africa, and French imperialism in the Islamic world. She has been a simultaneous translator for an ORBIS ocular surgery mission and a researcher at the National Institute of Hygiene in Morocco, and she also created a global women's health program in Morocco.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Rajae El Aoued
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Colonial Embodiments
Chapter 1. Healing the Body, Healing the Umma: Sufi Saints and God's Law in a Corporeal City of Virtue
Chapter 2. Medicine and the Mission Civilisatrice: A Civilizing Science and the French Sociology of Islam in Algeria and Morocco, 1830–1912
Chapter 3. The Many Deaths of Dr. Émile Mauchamp: Contested Sovereignties and Body Politics at the Court of the Sultans, 1877–1912
Chapter 4. Frédéric Le Play in Morocco? The Paradoxes of French Hygiene and Colonial Association in the Moroccan City, 1912–1937
Chapter 5. Harem Medicine and the Sleeping Child: Law, Traditional Pharmacology, and the Gender of Medical Authority
Chapter 6. A Midwife to Modernity: The Biopolitics of Colonial Welfare and Birthing a Scientific Moroccan Nation, 1936-1956
Epilogue. Epistemologies Embodied: Islam, France, and the Postcolonial
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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