Ellen Amster

Ellen Amster

Associate Professor

Office: Holton Hall, Room 326
Phone: (414) 229-4749
e-mail: eamster@uwm.edu
Curriculum Vitae: pdf


Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2003
B.A., University of Chicago, Political Science, 1992

Research Interests:

Morocco and North African history
Islamic medicine, magic, non-western health and healing
Sufism, geographies of the sacred, shrine architecture and Sufi cities, Sufism and memory
French sociology of Islam, French colonial history of medicine, women’s history in the North African colonies
Midwifery, maternal and infant health, sexuality, AIDS
Modern Middle East intellectual history, political Islam

Teaching Areas:

Middle East History, North Africa
Islam and women’s history, women’s studies
Modern Middle East intellectual history, political Islam, early Islamic history
History of medicine and science, French and Islamic

Courses Offered:

Hist 280: Islamic Civilization, 500-1258
Hist 282: Modern Middle East History, The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Hist 385: Political Islam to Zionism: Middle East Intellectual History
Hist 401: Women in Islamic History
Islam and History: Graduate Seminar in Research Methods
Honors Seminar: Medicine and Man: A History of the Body in the Western Tradition
Summer Global Health Study-Abroad Program: Maternal and Infant Health in Morocco: Women's Rights and Family In Islam (Course Flyer)

Other Activities:

Board of Directors, American Institute of Maghrib Studies, elected 2013
Co-coordinator, Middle Eastern and North African Studies Certificate Program, UW-Milwaukee, 2004-present.
Member, Global Network of Researchers of AIDS in the Middle East/North Africa
U.S. IIE Fulbright Scholars Program national screening committee (Morocco 2010-11; Morocco and Kuwait, UAE, 2011-2012; Morocco, Tunisia, Kuwait, Bahrain, 2012-2013)

Selected Publications


Medicine and the Saints: Science, Islam and the Colonial Encounter in Morocco, 1877-1956, (University of Texas Press, August 2013). New Books in Islamic Studies interviews Ellen Amster about her Medicine and the Saints book.

Selected Articles:

Forthcoming, "The Syphilitic Arab? A Search for Civilization in Disease Etiology, Prostitution, and Public Hygiene," to appear in Patricia Lorcin and Todd Shepard (eds), French Mediterraneans, (University of Nebraska Press).

"Abd al-Salam" and "Adarraq," in Marc Gaborieau, Gudrun Krämer, John Nawas and Everett Rowson (eds), The Encyclopedia of Islam 3 (Brill).

"'The Harem Revealed' and the Islamic-French Family: Aline de Lens and a Frenchwoman's Orient in Lyautey’s Morocco," French Historical Studies, Spring 2009 (32:2). (pdf 1.6mb)

"Saints and the Islamic City: Looking for Sacred Space in Fes, Morocco," The Urban History Newsletter, October 2006, Number 35: 1-3. (pdf 620kb)

"The Many Deaths of Dr. Emile Mauchamp: Medicine, Technology, and Popular Politics in Pre-Protectorate Morocco, 1877-1912," International Journal of Middle East Studies. Volume 36, August 2004, 409-428.

"The Attacks Were a Bid for Power in the Arab World," International Herald Tribune, September 18, 2001.

"Tarikh al-maghrib al-mu'asir fi al-arshiv al-amriki," ("Modern Moroccan History in the Archives of the United States"). Article in conference proceedings of the annual Conference on Moroccan History, March 19-21, 1999 in Sefrou, Morocco.

Works in Progress:

Book manuscript, "Perfume of the Souls: The Kitab salwat al-anfas wa muhadathat al-akyas bi-man uqbira min al-ulama wa al-sulaha bi Fas of Muhammad ibn Ja’far al-Kattani," a translation to English from the original Arabic with a map and gazetteer of photographs documenting the shrines in Fez, Morocco, the basis for a future GIS Digital web mapping project.

"The Mad Saint as Healer: The Islamic Majnun in al-Kattani's Salwat al-Anfas and in French Colonial Ethnography,” to appear in Henk de Smaele (ed.), Sign or symptom? Exceptional corporeal phenomena in medicine and religion (19th and 20th century), (Leuven: University of Leuven Press).

"Contagion, Civilisation, and the Mal Franc: Syphilis and Medical Orientalism in French Morocco," to appear in ed. Nükhet Varlik, Plague and Contagion in the Islamic Mediterranean, (Farnham: Ashgate).

Article, "Kabbalists, Sufis and Solomon’s Magic Ring: Magic as a History of Judeo-Islamic Exchange in Morocco and Islamic Spain."

Article, "Birth, Obstetrics, and Midwifery in Morocco”