Colonialism, Sovereignty, and Medicine in Ottoman Lebanon

with Philippe Bourmaud

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During the nineteenth century, the increasing professionalization of medical practice led to the emergence of new institutions and laws governing legitimate use of medical knowledge. In the Ottoman Empire, the arrival of European medical schools and establishments led to tensions regarding the sovereignty of the empire over the medical realm in its own domains. This episode with Philippe Bourmaud follows the debates and conflicts over the establishment of the French medical school of Saint-Joseph in Beirut during the late Ottoman period and their meaning for own understanding of imperialism and colonialism in the Ottoman world. 

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Philippe Bourmaud is an Assistant Professor of History at Jean Moulin - Lyon 3 University (see
Sam Dolbee is a PhD candidate in the department of Middle East Studies at New York University
Chris Gratien is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Georgetown University (see
Seçil Yılmaz is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at City University of New York studying disease and medicine in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey (see

Episode No. 118
Release date: 16 August 2013
Location: Kurtuluş, Istanbul
Editing and production by Chris Gratien
Bibliography courtesy of Philippe Bourmaud


Betty S. ANDERSON, The American University of Beirut : Arab Nationalism and Liberal Education, University of Texas Press, 2011

Robert BLECHER, The Medicalization of Sovereignty: Medicine, Public Health, and ¨Political Authority in Syria, 1861-1936, PhD, Stanford University, 2002

Sylvia CHIFFOLEAU, Médecines et Médecins en Égypte: Construction d'une Identité Professionnelle et Projet Médical, L'Harmattan, 1997

Jean DUCRUET, Un Siècle de Coopération Franco-Libanaise au Service des Professions de Santé, Imprimerie Catholique, 1992

Chantal VERDEIL, « Naissance d'une Nouvelle Elite Ottomane. Formation et Trajectoires des Médecins Diplômés de Beyrouth à la Fin du XIXe Siècle », in Revue du Monde Musulman et de la Méditerranée, 121-122, 04/2008, p. 217-237.

Elise G. YOUNG, Gender and Nation Building in the Middle East. The Political Economy of Health from Mandate Palestine to Refugee Camps in Jordan, I.B. Tauris, 2012.


Saint-Joseph faculty of medicine in Beirut, dissection in anatomy laboratory (c1898-99)

Franco-Ottoman jury at Faculty of Medicine, November 1907


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