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Panel discussion on pre-modern Islam, medicine, & science; Nov. 13 at Dana Library

November 4, 2013
Nukhet Varlik, PhD

Dr. Nukhet Varlik

Nahyan Fancy, PhD

Dr. Nahyan Fancy

On Wednesday, November 13th, 2013, at 1:00 pm, Dana Library will host a panel discussion, “Islam, Medicine and Science,” featuring Nükhet Varlik, Ph.D., and Nahyan Fancy, Ph.D. What were some of the developments that took place in science and medicine in pre-modern Islamic societies? How can we understand these developments from the perspective of the historical scientists and physicians themselves? What was the relationship between science and religion at this time? The presentation will address these questions while highlighting some of the problems with the way they have been traditionally answered in the scholarly and popular literature.

Our speakers include Nükhet Varlik and Nahyan Fancy, specialists in the history of Islamic science and Medicine. Dr. Varlik, an assistant professor in the Department of History, Faculty of Arts and Sciences-Newark, has published and presented on plagues and contagion in the Ottoman Empire during the mid-14th through the 17th centuries. Earning her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2008, Dr. Varlik teaches courses in the history of Islamic civilization, the Ottoman Empire, and Science, Technology and Medicine in Islamic Civilization. Dr. Fancy is an associate professor of history at DePauw University and is currently a visiting scholar in medieval studies and associate fellow at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis. In July 2013, Routledge released his new book, Science and Religion in Mamluk Egypt: Ibn al-Nafis, Pulmonary Transit and Bodily Resurrection, which is part of the publisher's "Culture and Civilization in the Middle East" series of titles. Dr. Fancy received his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 2006 and joined the faculty of DePauw in 2008. At the University, he teaches courses about the Middle East in the medieval and modern eras as well as the history of science and medicine.

The panel discussion program accompanies the award of a Bridging Cultures: Muslim Journeys Bookshelf which the John Cotton Dana Library received in January 2013. The Library is one of 840 libraries and state humanities councils across the country to receive the Bookshelf from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA). The program aims to familiarize public audiences in the United States with the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world. The Muslim Journeys Bookshelf includes 25 books organized into five themes, American Stories, Connected Histories, Literary Reflections, Pathways of Faith, and Points of View. Three video programs, Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World (2011), Prince Among Slaves (2007), and Koran by Heart (2011) as well as access to the online resource, Oxford Islamic Studies Online, are also part of the Bookshelf. The items with descriptions are on display in the Dana Library Lobby. At the close of the exhibit, the books will be available for borrowing.

Major support for the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf was provided by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support for the arts and media components was provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. Local support is provided by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Newark, through a cultural programming grant. The program will take place in the Dana Room of the John Cotton Dana Library, 185 University Avenue, Newark, NJ. For directions and parking information, please go to For more information, please contact Ann Watkins at 973-353-3809 or