Memories of Humankind Seminars

'Physicians Prescribe Five Hundred Medicines for a Malady': Ottoman Manuscripts and Healing Culture in the premodern Period
Akif Ercihan Yerlioğlu


09 January 2020 / 18:30 Geçmiş Aktivite

In his book Ma Hazara, composed towards the end of the eighteenth century, Nusret Efendi gathered the recipes that he believed were the most beneficial among the hundreds of remedies in circulation. He did not receive any medical training; he was a librarian and an intellectual of his time. When we focus on the importance of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century works on medicine and healing in the overall Ottoman scholarship, we would realize that interest in medicine by scholars like Nusret Efendi was not coincidental at all. Especially, when we come across the abundance of formulas inscribed by the readers on the empty pages of manuscripts in genres other than medicine, we better comprehend the Ottoman scholars’ haste to order, categorize, and select the most useful among those prescriptions. In his talk, by also making use of the manuscripts in the Suna and İnan Kıraç Manuscript Collection, Akif Ercihan Yerlioğlu will discuss the main features of the premodern Ottoman medical and healing culture and the medical works of the era.

Akif Ercihan Yerlioğlu completed his BA in psychology and MA in clinical psychology at Boğaziçi University. After working as a psychotherapist for a while, he began his PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. His ongoing PhD research which focuses on the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century medical discourse, its practices, and healing culture in the Ottoman Empire, has been supported by ANAMED, ARIT, Gerda Henkel Stiftung, and Mahindra Humanities Center.

Free of admissions; drop in. The talk will be in Turkish.