Deborah Schlein

In early August, I boarded a thirteen-hour flight to New Delhi. I am currently in India carrying out my manuscript research as a Fulbright-Nehru Student Researcher (2016-2017), and I spend a great deal of time traveling to various manuscript collections across the country, specifically searching for the works of the Central Asian medical scholar, Najīb al-Dīn al-Samarqandī (d. 1222), and their attendant commentaries.

My dissertation follows the reception of these works in the context of a traditional form of medicine practiced in India called Yūnānī Ṭibb (Ar: Greek Medicine). By studying the marginal notations, stamps and seals of ownership, as well as the colophons, I work to paint a fuller picture of how these manuscripts, dating from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, were read, used, and received, in an attempt to better understand the adaptations and changes Yūnānī medicine underwent in its South Asian environment.

While I am based in New Delhi, I am also traveling to other cities in India to track down as many of these manuscripts as possible. In mid-August, I traveled to Patna, Bihar to visit the Khuda Bakhsh Library and Rampur, Uttar Pradesh for the Raza Library, all in an effort to study the manuscripts and their margins. Currently, I am working at Jamia Hamdard in Delhi, reading both manuscript margins and Urdu secondary literature on Yūnānī Ṭibb. On my days off, I visit Delhi’s famous monuments dating from the Mughal and Delhi Sultanate periods, eat all the delicious foods Delhi has to offer, and explore this new city I call home.

Schlein and Patterson
Visiting Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi with Autumn Patterson, my good friend and a graduate of the NES MA program.