Lauren Caldwell, assistant professor of classical studies, received a faculty grant for course development in Middle Eastern Studies from the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program of the U.S. Department of Education. Caldwell, whose research specialties include Greco-Roman medicine, used the grant for summer travel to the Wellcome Library for the History of Medicine, in London, England, and to Cambridge University.
The grant allowed Caldwell to consult the Wellcome Library’s substantial collection of texts on ancient and medieval medicine. “The transmission of the writings of Galen, the most famous of Roman imperial physicians, into medical theory in Baghdad in the 8th and 9th centuries is a key moment in the Western medical tradition,” Caldwell says. “As a graduate student, I became interested in how many medical texts from the Roman Empire, originally written in Greek, were translated into Arabic in the medieval period. More generally, I have been eager to gain a better understanding of the overlap between the approaches of ancient and medieval physicians. The topic of translation–both of texts and of ideas–is one in which historians of antiquity are becoming increasingly interested.”
With the grant, Caldwell was able to take advantage of the resources at the world’s top research center for the history of medicine.
“Now I have a better sense of how medieval Islamic medicine can broaden my future research and teaching,” she says.
Caldwell plans to add a multi-week unit on medicine in the middle ages to her Classical Civilization course, Medicine and Health in Antiquity, and hopes to link the course to the Middle Eastern Studies program.