Using ethnographic and historical methods, my research brings together questions from the interdisciplinary study of Islam, religion and medicine. My dissertation, Practicing the Prophet’s Medicine, examines Indonesian Muslims’ experimentation with therapeutic practices associated with the Prophet Muhammad. I work with experts in and patients of Qur’anic healing (ruqya), cupping (hijama), and other forms of herbal and so-called “traditional” healing. My inquiry is motivated by broadly applicable questions in the study of religion and medicine: What does it mean to live a good, healthy life? What are the disciplines and practices best suited to ethical and embodied processes of self-cultivation? How do people cope with physical, emotional, or spiritual illness – that is to say, with problems of suffering?
My research, which has been supported by the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, the Center for the Education of Women (CEW), Rackham Graduate School, and the International Institute of the University of Michigan, seeks to document the rich diversity of practices that constitute contemporary Islamic medicine while emphasizing their formation within networks of global circulation. In doing so, I bring together approaches of hermeneutics and embodiment, tracing how Indonesian Muslim practitioners and patients embody texts and entextualize embodiments of Islam.
Fields of Study
Anthropology of Religion
History of Medicine