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Medicine and the Saints: Science, Islam, and the Colonial Encounter in Morocco, 1877-1956 Paperback – May 1, 2014
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"The history of North Africa is often severed from the history of sub-Saharan Africa...that this seemed so familiar serves as a testament to Amster's ability to meld Islamic studies with the methodological approaches and insights of Africanist historians. Her work provides a model for future studies and will open a dialogue between sets of scholars who do not speak to each other..."
"The 'positive way of knowing' that Amster describes...touches our work as scholars of religious worlds...Rehabilitating the appreciation of imaginations and epistemologies no longer in the vogue requires empathetic and evocative narration....Ellen Amster's Medicine and the Saints is an important and impressive addition to the tradition of scholarship that highlights the intertwining of Islamic intellectual and social history."
"A study of how medicine figured in the encounters between the French and the Moroccans; topics include the battle for authority between physicians and Muslim midwives." -Nina Ayoub, Chronicle of Higher Education
"Medicine and the Saints is an ambitious, pathbreaking interdisciplinary study of the politics of health in Morocco...[Amster's] major contribution lies in connecting two historiographies that until now have largely operated in isolation. Amster brings methods and analytical techniques familiar to Africanist historians, particularly oral narratives, to the attention of historians of the Middle East and North Africa. Conversely, historians of health and healing in sub-Saharan Africa will gain rich comparative insights from this study of science, Islam, and colonialism." - The Middle East Journal
"In this pioneering, interdisciplinary study, Professor Amster explores the French campaign to colonize Morocco through medicine... Amster's breadth of expertise in the fields of medical history, Moroccan/North African history, the history of French colonization, the study of Islam and Sufism, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy is equally matched to the depth in which she explores these topics throughout the six chapters of her work [...] his work will have a tremendous impact on many fields and hopefully give rise to further interdisciplinary work in the fields of Islam, North African and Moroccan history, and medicine." - New Books in Islamic Studies
"...Medicine and the Saints offers readers a complex analysis and interpretation of French colonialism in Morocco..." - American Historical Review
"This first book from an exciting new figure in the field of Islamic medical history offers a fresh look at how the Moroccan ‘body’ became the site for competing influences leading to a political and scientific modernity. The clear prose, creative use of sources, and historical accuracy are exemplary. Nor will the reader be bored; the narrative is full of twists, turns, and unexpected surprises that engage the mind and stimulate the imagination, regardless of one’s disciplinary orientation." -- (Susan Gilson Miller, Professor of History, UC Davis, and author of A History of Modern Morocco, 1830–2000)
This is a dazzlingly good book. Amster takes us on a bewildering tour of medicine and public health in colonial Morocco in a pioneering study...As opposed to those who would find in colonial medicine a demon of oppression, or those who would use it to excuse colonial excesses, Amster has produced a nuanced study that opens an important window on the enormous complexity of medicine and public health as a staging area for the colonial encounter.