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Dr. Ellen Amster

Ellen Amster joins the Religious Studies Department

The Department is pleased to announce that Dr. Ellen Amster, Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine, is joining the department. Welcome, Dr. Amster!

Aug 02, 2019

About Ellen Amster:

Dr. Amster is the Jason A. Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine and a historian of the Islamic world, France, and medicine.  She has been a Fulbright scholar, a Chateaubriand scholar of the French government (1998), and received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania (2003).  She has been a simultaneous translator for an ORBIS ocular surgery mission in Morocco, a researcher at the Institut National d’Hygiène du Maroc, and created an interdisciplinary determinants of health field study program for students to travel to Morocco, “Maternal and Infant Health in Morocco:  Women’s Rights and Family in Islam.” At McMaster, she also developed the History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Research Portal for all students to use, with grants, libraries, archives, museums, digital exhibits, digital collections, conference information, and images collections.  She welcomes all students, faculty, and staff to the History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Speaker series, which she organizes.

Her 2013 book, Medicine and the Saints:  Science, Islam, and the Colonial Encounter in Morocco, 1877-1956 is an interdisciplinary study of health, healing, and the body in Morocco, based in fifteen years of research in Arabic manuscripts, French colonial and medical archives, and field interviews with Moroccan physicians, nurses, patients, midwives, and leaders of NGOs.  She has served on the United States IIE Fulbright national screening committee for Morocco, Tunisia, and the Gulf States (2010-2013), and is currently on the Board of Directors for the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press. 

She is jointly appointed in Religious Studies and the Department of Family Medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences and supports students in both faculties.