MIDEAST 201 - Madness, Medicine, and Magic in the Middle East
Fall 2021, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Middle East Studies (MIDEAST)
Department: LSA Middle East Studies
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


All humans experience physical and psychological suffering and seek help from a medical professional. This class examines how such experiences have played out in what is known today as the Middle East, beginning with ancient Babylonia, going through medieval Islamic societies, and ending with contemporary Middle Eastern ones.

The course provides a broad overview of the various medical traditions that have succeeded, interacted, intermingled, conflicted, or replaced one another in this area. We will investigate how in different periods of time mental and physical illness was theorized, diagnosed, and treated. For example, we will learn about cuneiform procedures that offer pharmaceutical recipes and ritual practices for expelling ghosts or “the hand of God(dess)” diseases; about medieval empirical treaties that sought physical symptoms for mental and emotional states; and about contemporary practices of jinn appeasement and exorcism, among many other topics.

For many of us, medicine is a science that provides an objective understanding of the working of the human body, universally valid irrespective of history and culture. This class has as one of its goals to push this view of medicine to its limits, to question its coherence, and show its cracks.

Course Requirements:

The course has a mixed lecture–discussion format. Students are encouraged to question, engage, and participate throughout the class. Evaluation will be based on a mixture of small assignments, examinations, or papers. Students will have multiple options or pathways to choose from (using GradeCraft).

Intended Audience:

Undergraduates with an interest in historical medical practices or theories

Class Format:

Two 90-minute lectures in addition to 1-hour discussion section weekly


MIDEAST 201 - Madness, Medicine, and Magic in the Middle East
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
Note: Tuesday lectures remote and asynchronous
002 (DIS)
 In Person
F 12:00PM - 1:00PM
003 (DIS)
 In Person
F 1:00PM - 2:00PM
004 (DIS)
 In Person
F 2:00PM - 3:00PM
005 (DIS)
 In Person
F 3:00PM - 4:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for MIDEAST 201.001

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for MIDEAST 201 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)