Research Interests: History of medicine; Indian Ocean history; history of gender and sexuality; science and empire.
Shireen Hamza’s dissertation project is a reassessment of the concept of “Islamic medicine” by studying this medicine (ṭibb) within the context of the Indian Ocean World. By reading texts of both Galenic and Ayurvedic medicine composed in Arabic and Persian between the 13th and 15th centuries, she shows the coexistence of and exchange between medical traditions in the medieval Indian Ocean World, especially between Yemen and Gujarat. She is interested in the medieval court as a site of science and in the maritime circulation of materia medica. As part of her secondary field in Critical Media Practice, she explores questions of gender and historical memory with contemporary practitioners of Unani medicine in India. She is also a managing editor for the Ottoman History Podcast.
She hails from Woodridge, Illinois, and has also lived in Karachi, Pakistan, and New Brunswick, New Jersey — cities of which she is inordinately fond.
“Decocting Chūp Chīnī: China Root in Unani Medicine,” Graduate Conference, Indian Ocean World Centre, Department of History, McGill University (October 20th, 2017)
“Where in the World is Unani Medicine?: Multiple Historiographies Revisited,” International Congress of Traditional Asian Medicines (August 6th, 2017)
BA., English, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey