Professor Emilie Savage-Smith

Professor Emilie Savage-Smith

Archivist, Fellow by Special Election

Professor of the History of Islamic Science


Emilie Savage-Smith, PhD, FBA, is a Fellow by Special Election (former Senior Research Fellow, 2004–2010) and College Archivist.  She is also Professor of the History of Islamic Science at the Oriental Institute. She was also editor of St Cross College at Fifty (2014).

In 2010 she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. She was the recipient of a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award, 2013 to 2017, to head a joint Oxford-Warwick project: ‘A Literary History of Medicine: The Best Accounts of the Classes of Physicians by Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿah (d. 1270)’.

She is also on the Council (a Trustee) of The British Institute for the Study of Iraq; co-editor of the monograph series 'Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Science' published by Brill; on the Advisory Board of the British Library/Qatar Foundation Partnership; an editorial advisor to The James Lind Library; and on the Advisory Boards of the journal Suhyal and the Journal for the History of Arabic Science.

Recent Projects:

  • A Literary History of Medicine: The Best Accounts of the Classes of Physicians by Ibn Abi Usaybiʿah (d. 1270). A University of Oxford/University of Warwick joint project to edit, translate, comment upon the entire treatise. PI: E. Savage-Smith. Funded by a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award in Medical Humanities (2013-2017)
  • Medieval Medicine in Board and Card Games. Joint project with the Museum of the History of Science. PI: E. Savage-Smith. Public Engagement Provision grant from Wellcome Trust (2015–2017).
  • The Raised-Up Roof and the Laid-Down BedStars, Maps and History in Medieval Islam  (with Y. Rapoport)

Recent Publications:

  • An Eleventh-Century Egyptian Guide to the Universe: The ‘Book of Curiosities’, edited with an annotated translation, by Yossef Rapoport and Emilie Savage-Smith   (Leiden:  Brill, 2014).
  • ‘The Universality and Neutrality of Science’. In: Universality in Islamic Thought: Rationalism, Science and Religious Belief, ed. Michael Morony (London: I. B. Tauris, 2014), pp. 157–192.
  • ‘Cartography’.  In:  A Companion to Mediterranean History, ed. Peregrine Horden and Sharon Kinoshita (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), pp. 184–199.
  • ‘The Most Authoritative Copy of ʿAbd al-Rahman al-Sufi’s Tenth-century Guide to the Constellations’, In: God is Beautiful; He Loves Beauty: The Object in Islamic Art and Culture, ed. by Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), pp. 122–155.
  • ‘Were the Four Humours Fundamental to Medieval Islamic Medical Practice?’ In: The Body in Balance: Humoral Theory in Practice, ed. by Elisabeth Hsu and Peregrine Horden (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2013), PP. 89–106.
  • ‘Medicine in Medieval Islam’  InThe Cambridge History of Science. Vol. 2: Medieval Science, ed. by D. Lindberg and M.H. Shank (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 140–167.
  • A New Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Volume 1: Medicine  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
  • ‘Modern Palimpsests: What defines a fake?’. In:Metalwork and Material Culture in the Islamic WorldArt, Craft and Text. Essays presented to James W. Allan, ed. Venetia Porter and Mariam Rosser-Owen (London: I. B. Tauris, 2012), pp. 409–22.
  • 'The Working Files of Rhazes: Are the Jamiʿ and the Hawi Identical?' In: Medieval Arabic Thought. Essays in Honour of Fritz Zimmermann, ed., Rotraud Hansberger, M. Afifi al-Akiti, and Charles Burnett [Warburg Studies and Texts, 4]. London: Warburg Institute, 2012, pp. 163–180.
  • ‘Curatorial Issues and Research Questions: Current Research on Western Medieval Manuscripts and Oriental Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library’ (with co-authors S. Neate and R. Ovenden). In: The Technological Study of Books and Manuscripts as ArtefactsResearch questions and analytical solutions, ed. S. Neate, D. Howell, R. Ovenden, A. M. Pollard. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 2011, pp. 3–7.
  • The Key to Medicine and a Guide for Students, by Abu al-Faraj ʿAli ibn al-Husayn ibn Hindu. Translated by Aida Tibi and Reviewed by E. Savage-Smith [The Great Books of Islamic Civilization Series]. Reading: Garnet Publishing, 2010.
  • 'Ibn Baklarish in the Arabic tradition of synonymatic texts and tabular presentations'.  In:  Ibn Baklarish’s Book of SimplesMedical Remedies between Three Faiths in Twelfth-Century Spain, ed. C. Burnett. London: The Arcadian Library in association with Oxford University Press, 2008. pp. 113-131.
  • 'Anatomical Illustration in Arabic Manuscripts'. In: Arab Painting: Text and Image in Illustrated Arabic Manuscripts, ed. A. Contadini. Leiden: Brill, 2007, pp. 147−59 and Figs. 1-6.

As Archivist for the College, Emilie is responsible for the maintenance and development of the College archive, together with the Archive Registrar.