Fancy, Nahyan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
Research and Teaching Interests
My research interests are in medieval Islamic science and medicine, and medieval Islamic intellectual history. My earlier research has examined the intersections of philosophy, theology and medical physiology in the works of Ibn al-Nafis, a 13th century physician-jurist who first posited the pulmonary transit of blood. The significance of this result is that it forms the basis of William Harvey's (d. 1657) theory of blood circulation, three centuries later. More recently, I have been examining the evolution of medical commentaries in post-1250 Islamic societies, particularly in the context of the changing relationship between medicine and philosophy, on the one hand, and medicine and religion, on the other.
The courses I teach inform and are informed by my research interests, particularly those in the areas of history of science, Islamic intellectual history and Mediterranean exchanges and encounters.
Courses Regularly Taught
HIST 121: Introduction to the Middle East
HIST 122: Modern Middle East
HIST 285: History of Science I: From Antiquity to the Renaissance
HIST 290: Medieval Mediterranean Encounters
HIST 290: History of Science II: The Rise of Modern Science
HIST 300: Science and Medicine in Islamic Societies, 700-1500
HIST 300: Sunnis, Shi‘as and Mystics
HIST 358: Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East
Science and Religion in Mamluk Egypt: Ibn al-Nafis, Pulmonary Transit and Bodily Resurrection (London: Routledge, 2013)
“Re-Examining the Reason-Revelation Dichotomy in Islamic Societies: The Case of Ibn al-Nafis and his Discovery of the Pulmonary Transit of Blood,” in Conference Proceedings: The Advancement of Knowledge and Religious Identity, ed. Sabine MacCormack (forthcoming).
“The Virtuous Son of the Rational: A Traditionalist’s Response to the Falasifa,” in Avicenna and His Legacy: A Golden Age of Science and Philosophy, ed. Y. Tzvi Langermann (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers, 2009), pp. 219-247.
“Examining the Rate of Renaturation for Different Types of DNA” (with Andrew Mehl), Journal of Chemical Education, 76:5 (1999), pp. 646-648.
Biographical Dictionary of Islamic Civilization, ed. Mustafa Shah (London: I.B. Tauris, forthcoming), articles “Jabir ibn Hayyan” and “Ibn al-Nafis”.
Oxford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Science and Technology in Islam, ed. Ibrahim Kalin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), “Ibn al-Nafis”
Works in Progress
“Post-Classical Medical Commentaries: A Preliminary Examination of Ibn al-Nafis’s Shuruh, the Mujaz al-Tibb and Commentaries on the Mujaz.”
Ph.D. (Honors), History and Philosophy of Science/History Track, University of Notre Dame, 2006
M.A., History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto, 1999
B.A., magna cum laude, Mathematics and Biochemistry, Knox College, 1997
· Fulton Family Faculty Fellowship, "The Fate of Ibn al-Nafis's Novel Theories in the Medical Works of the Mamluk Period, 1260-1518," 2013-2016.
. Honorable Mention for Young Scholar Prize, International Union of History and Philosophy of Science, 2009
· Bruce D. Craig Prize for Mamluk Studies, 2007
· NEH Summer Seminar, 2012: “Health and Disease in the Middle Ages,” London, UK, June 25—July 28, 2012
· NEH Summer Institute, 2008: “The Medieval Mediterranean and the Origins of the West,” Barcelona, Spain, June 29—July 25, 2008