Ahmed Ragab

Ahmed Ragab

Areas of Expertise

Ahmed Ragab is the Richmond Visiting Professor of Science and Technology Studies.

Ragab is the founding Director of the Center for Black, Brown and Queer Studies. He is an historian of science and medicine in the Islamic world, and of colonial and postcolonial medicine and science. His work is deeply shaped by critical race theory, postcolonial and decolonial studies and queer theory.

Ragab’s work addresses various questions related to medical cultures in the medieval and early modern Islamic world, as well as the impact of such cultures on contemporary Muslims in the postcolonial world, and in the US.

Ragab also investigates debates on progress and reform in the nineteenth and twentieth century, the establishment of new medical and scientific faculties in the region, and the formation of new scientific elites. His most recent works have paid attention to the affective economies underwriting the making of colonial and postcolonial science and medicine. Ragab’s work addresses the place of science and medicine in the US global empire, and in the lived experiences of minorities and diasporic communities in the US and Western Europe.

Ragab is also a filmmaker and a founder of Pinwheel Productions, a production company dedicated to stories for and by people of color and queer people.

Areas of Expertise:

  1. Medical Humanities
  2. History of science and medicine
  3. Postcolonial studies
  4. Queer theory
  5. US global empire
  6. Islamic studies



Scholarship/Creative Work

Bibliography (Published and in Preparation)


The Medieval Islamic Hospital: Medicine, Religion and Charity (Cambridge, 2015)

Piety and Patienthood in Medieval Islam (Routledge, 2018)

Medicine and Religion in the Life of an Ottoman Sheikh: Al-Damanhuri’s “Clear Statement” on anatomy (Routledge, 2019)

Books in Preparation (under contract)

[Co-authored with Katharine Park] Communities of Knowledge: Science and Religion in Europe and the Lands of Islam (Under contract with Princeton University Press)

Around the Clock: Time in medieval Islamic clinical cultures (Under Contract with Johns Hopkins University Press)

Peer-reviewed Articles (published):

“Islam-Intensified: Snapshot historiography and the making of Muslim identities,” Journal of Postcolonial Studies 22:2. (2019) Pp. 203-219.

“Illness and the city: Preliminary notes on the place of hospitals in Muslim pietistic spaces,” Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies 3:2. (2019) Pp. 1-20.

“Two students and a corpse: The semantics of disgust in the making of colonial knowledge,” History and Technology 34:1 (2018). Pp. 79-88.

“In a clear Arabic tongue: Arabic, science and the medieval Islamicate linguistic regimes,” Isis: A Journal of the History of Science Society, 108:4, (2017). Pp. 612-20.

“Making History: Identity, Progress and the Modern-Science Archive,” Journal of Early Modern History, 21:5 (2017). Pp. 433-44.

“Monsters and patients: An archeology of medicine, colonialism and modernity,” History and Theory, 55:4, (2016). Pp. 112-30.

“One, two or more sexes: Sex differentiation in medieval Islamicate medical thought,” Journal of the History of Sexuality, 24:3, (2015). Pp. 428-54.

“History of science,” Women and Islamic Cultures: Disciplinary Paradigms and Approaches 2003-2013, edited by Suad Joseph, Boston, Leiden: Brill, 2013. Pp. 151-75.

“Prophetic traditions and modern medicine in the Middle East: Resurrection, reinterpretation, and reconstruction,” Journal of the American Oriental Society, 132:4, (2012). Pp. 657-73.

“Epistemic authority of women in the medieval Middle East”, HAWWA: Journal of Women in the Middle East and Islamic World, 8:2, (2010). Pp. 181-216.

“Madman walking: The image of the mad in Egyptian press”, Egypte-Monde Arabe, Troisième Série, 4, (2007). Pp. 227-246.

Book sections (published)

Mukharji, Projit Bihari, Myrna Perez Sheldon, Elise K. Burton, Sebastián Gil-Riaño, Terence Keel, Emily Merchant, Wangui Muigai, Ahmed Ragab, and Suman Seth. “A Roundtable Discussion on Collecting Demographics Data.” Isis 111:2, (2020). Pp. 310-53.

“Sira and asbab al-nuzul: Context as commentary” in The Routledge Companion to the Quran, Daniel A. Madigan, Maria Massi Dakake, and George Archer (eds.), London: Routledge, 2021

“The piety of health: The making of health in Islamic religious narratives” in Islam and Biomedicine, Al-Akiti, Afifi, Padela, Aasim (eds.), Geneva: Springer, 2020

“Eliminate the Muslim: Timeplay in the making of postcolonial future ethnoreligious identities” Harvard Divinity School Bulletin, Spring 2018

“Islam and Science” in Routledge Companion to Religion and Science, ed. James W. Haag, Gregory R. Peterson, Michael L. Spezio, London: Routledge, 2011. Pp. 45-57.

Articles and book sections (forthcoming or under review)

“‘Until God showed us the path’: Adab, diraya and intentions in early Hadith” The Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (BSOAS) [forthcoming]

“Translation and the making of a medical archive: The case of the Islamic ‘Translation Movement’” Osiris [Under review]

Professional Affiliations

Director, The Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies

Member, Advisory Committee—Science and Religion at The Smithsonian, National Museums of American History.

Member, Editorial Board—Bulletin of the History of Medicine.

Member, Editorial Board—Isis: Journal of History of Science Society

Member (elected), The Council of the History of Science Society, 2019-2022

Member, Committee on Diversity and Inoculation, the American Association of the History of Medicine.