90062 - History of Islamic Science (1) (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

Through the perusal of the primary sources (in translation) and the acquisition of theoretical and interpretative tools offered by the contemporary scientific debate, the student will derive the intellectual skills to: have a general and inclusive overview of Islamic science in its chronological, geographical and cultural dimension; to read and analyse the works that marked the way points in the development of Islamic science; to contextualize this segment of the history of premodern science in a larger historical context that includes other traditions, area and cultures.

Course contents

History of Islamic Science - Medicine & Pharmacology

After a general introduction to the historical and cultural context of the premodern Arabo-Islamic world and how the sciences of nature where developed in that context, the course will focus on medicine and pharmacology, exploring the work of various authors in a number of different textual genres. 

Arabo-Islamic science, with a focus on medicine and pharmacology, will be the banner under which a much broader approach which begins with Antiquity and Late antiquity casting its influence on the Middle Age and Early Modern will be carried out.


The general resings for the course are: 

M. Ullmann, Islamic Medicine (Edinburgh University Press, 1997)

P. Carusi, Lo Zafferano e il Geco (Carocci, 2007)

The detailed seminar syllabus, including the supplemetary readings,  and the related materials will be available in the online platform Virtuale .

Teaching methods

The course include frontal teaching along with the analysis of primary sources and the discussion of images (objects and manuscripts) to introduce the Students to the history of Arabo-Islamic science. Students will be encouraged to follow their specific interests developed during the course, and to present the results of their individual or group research in class. In general, they will be invited to take active part to the discussion in class.

Assessment methods

[For the Students who attend to the course] Oral examination in which the student will be asked to display his or her knowledge of the contents dealt with during the seminar, as well as the ability to commento on the primary sources and link the different topics dealt with in class. Every student shall select a thematic aspect to explore more in detail, either choosing among the research material suggested by the teacher or proposing a different topic (to be approved by the teacher)

[For the Students who do not attend to the course] the materials marked by an asterisk in the IOL platform + two research topics + one handbook among those available in the dedicated section of Virtuale.

Office hours

See the website of Lucia Raggetti