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Ragab To Join Divinity School Faculty

By Justin C. Worland, Crimson Staff Writer

Ahmed Ragab—a historian of, among other things, medieval Islamic medicine—has been appointed the Richard T. Watson Assistant Professor of Science and Religion at the Harvard Divinity School, a position he will assume this July, the school announced last week.

Ragab, who has been working in the History of Science Department at Harvard since 2008, will continue his research on a broad range of topics that stretch from medieval science in the Islamic world to the cultural history of women in the Middle East.

“His scholarship is so broad. It’s really extraordinary,” said History of Science Professor Katharine Park. “It’s very unusual to find someone who covers so many bases.”

Park said that she was first impressed with Ragab after auditing a class he taught on medieval Islamic science. Now, she said, the two are developing a course for next year that combines the histories of medieval European and Islamic sciences.

“The plans of this particular division is to work on how religion and scientific discourse intersect as a larger framework that ground our perception of the world,” Ragab said of his future research.

Ragab said he is thrilled to join the Divinity School faculty and that he believes his appointment will increase the possibilities for dialogue between the faculties at the different Harvard schools. According to Park, it is likely that because of Ragab’s research interests, he will retain at least a nominal position in the History of Science Department.

“I think it’s wonderful to build that kind of bridge between FAS and the Divinity School,” Park said of the potential for new interaction between faculties.

Divinity School Professor Mark D. Jordan—chair of the search committee responsible for selecting Ragab—said in a press release that Ragab’s background and research make him particularly well-suited to weigh in on contemporary debates on science and religion.

Though he now leaves for a position at the Divinity School, Ragab said that he plans to continue teaching undergraduates and that some, if not all, of his courses will be cross-listed.

Ragab is currently teaching a lecture course for undergraduate and graduate students entitled History of Science 108: “Bodies, Sexualities, and Medicine in the Medieval Middle East.”

—Staff writer Justin C. Worland can be reached at

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