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Medicine and the Saints

Science, Islam, and the Colonial Encounter in Morocco, 1877-1956

By Ellen J. Amster

Publication Year: 2013

Exploring the colonial encounter between France and Morocco as a process of embodiment, and the Muslim body as the place of resistance to the state, this book provides the first history of medicine, health, disease, and the welfare state in Morocco.

Published by: University of Texas Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

I must say that I am deeply honored that Mme. Ellen Amster has asked me to write the foreword to her book about the history of the health system in Morocco. ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

At the University of Pennsylvania, I would like to thank Steven Feierman, who opened my eyes to health and healing in Africa and showed me how to listen for missing voices. I would also like to thank Lynn Hunt, Lee Cassanelli, Lynn Lees, Achille Mbembe, ...

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Introduction. Colonial Embodiments

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pp. 1-16

In 1907, a doctor of the French government was beaten to death by a Muslim mob in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh. After clubbing him to death and crushing his head, the crowd dragged the naked corpse of Dr. Émile Mauchamp by the neck through the city streets on a rope. ...

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1. Healing the Body, Healing the Umma: Sufi Saints and God’s Law in a Corporeal City of Virtue

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pp. 17-50

After a failed revolt against the Sa’diyyan sultan ’Abdallah II (ruled 1613– 1623), the city of Fez feared his vengeance and sent two mad saints (majdhubin) to intercede on its behalf with the enraged ruler. When the sultan received the two emissaries, Sidi Jallul bin al-Haj and Sidi Masa’ud al-Sharrat, he scoffed, ...

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2. Medicine and the Mission Civilisatrice: A Civilizing Science and the French Sociology of Islam in Algeria and Morocco, 1830–1912

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pp. 51-81

In 1883, the French Orientalist and philologist Ernest Renan announced a revolutionary position: Islam killed science, “Islamism and science . . . The ambivalence contained in these words: Arab science, Arab philosophy, Arab Art, Muslim science, Muslim civilization. ...

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3. The Many Deaths of Dr. Émile Mauchamp: Contested Sovereignties and Body Politics at the Court of the Sultans, 1877–1912

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pp. 82-109

On March 19, 1907, French physician Émile Mauchamp was beaten to death outside his clinic in the city of Marrakesh. This spectacular murder served as the official pretext for a French military invasion of the city of Oujda in 1907 and the creation of a French protectorate in Morocco in 1912. ...

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4. Frédéric Le Play in Morocco? The Paradoxes of French Hygiene and Colonial Association in the Moroccan City, 1912–1937

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pp. 110-141

Walking the markets of Mogador, the physician Charles Bouveret remarked that “certain bakers whose ovens are located a distance from the place of sale have natives who are dirty and often infected with sickness transport the breads. I saw a Jew with conjunctivitis carrying breads in his arms such that pus from his eyes was spreading across the bread.”1 ...

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5. Harem Medicine and the Sleeping Child: Law, Traditional Pharmacology, and the Gender of Medical Authority

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pp. 142-173

In 1921, the editors of the premier journal of French medicine in Morocco, Maroc médical, complained to their readers that the Muslim Moroccan matron undermined the French doctor: “[She is] known to be hostile to us and to put pressure on the patient to turn from our orders to her own remedies—leg of frog or earth from the cemetery.”1 ...

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6. A Midwife to Modernity: The Biopolitics of Colonial Welfare and Birthing a Scientific Moroccan Nation, 1936-1956

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pp. 174-208

In 1952, the French physician Jean Mathieu and the sociologist Roger Maneville interviewed 167 traditional Muslim midwives (qablat) to determine their suitability for the “veritable corps of Moroccan midwives” planned for native women by the protectorate health service, with “modern ideas of hygiene and pediatrics.”1 ...

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Epilogue. Epistemologies Embodied: Islam, France, and the Postcolonial

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pp. 209-220

In 1999, I interviewed elderly Moroccan patients at a public health clinic in the Lamtiyyin neighborhood, a working-class area in the traditional city (madina) of Fez. “Do you want to meet a real hero?” asks Mawlay Ali, in his seventies. “My mother is ninety-five years old, and she gave birth by herself.” ...


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pp. 221-278


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pp. 279-316


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pp. 317-334

E-ISBN-13: 9780292745452
E-ISBN-10: 0292745451
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292745445
Print-ISBN-10: 0292745443

Page Count: 350
Illustrations: 47 photos, 1 table
Publication Year: 2013