historian + writer
Taylor M. Moore is a historian of the Modern Middle East, specializing in nineteenth- and early twentieth- century Egypt. She is currently a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the History Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In August 2021, she will join the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies as an Academy Scholar.
Taylor's broader research interests lie at the intersections of critical race studies, gender and sexuality studies, decolonial materiality, and histories of science, technology, medicine, and the occult in the non-West. Her work is invested in illuminating the occult(ed) networks, economies, and actors whose bodies and labor are generally rendered invisible in Eurocentric histories of global science.
Taylor received her Ph.D. in History from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She holds a dual BA in Honors Political Science and Sociology from the American University in Cairo. Taylor’s research has been funded by Ford Foundation Predoctoral and Dissertation Fellowships, the Social Science Research Council, the Council for American Overseas Research Centers, and the Rutgers Center for African Studies. In 2017, she was a fellow-in-residence at the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Philadelphia.
In addition to her writing and research, Taylor is an editor for the Arab Studies Journal and History of Anthropology Review, and a collaborating researcher with the global natural history digital humanities project, Natural Things | Ad Fontes Naturae. She works intimately with ethnographic collections, and intends to curate her own exhibit in the near future. Outside of the academy, Taylor is a semi-professionally trained vocalist specializing in late Renaissance polyphonic and early baroque music. She most recently performed with the early music collegium, Aura Polyphonica. She enjoys singing and reading horror/speculative fiction.
Teaching + Syllabi
I am equipped to teach online and in-person undergraduate survey courses on the history of the Middle East and Islamic World; histories of science, technology, and medicine/magic; women's and gender history; and critical race theory. I also teach upper-level undergraduate seminars and graduate courses like Decolonial/Postcolonial Science Studies; Science, Technology and Medicine in the Middle East; and Race (and) Science in Global History; as well as thematic classes on magic and occultism in global history (with an emphasis on the Islamicate World), museums and collecting, and feminist decolonial technoscience.
Using both traditional and non-traditional archives, I believe that it is my role to cultivate what I have come to call ‘critical imagination’ in my classroom. Imagination as a critical pedagogy forges a connection between the imagination and lived reality. In my courses on Middle East History, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Science and Technology Studies I hope to compel students to move beyond rote memorization and critique to imagine alternative possibilities both in their academic work and daily lives. Diversity work and inclusive pedagogies are at the foundation of my passion for research, service work, and teaching in the university. I will work with my colleagues and students to provide an inclusive and engaging university environment—one where students can gain exposure to and research the diversity of human experience in the fields of Middle Eastern and North African History, Science and Technology Studies, and Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
See some examples of courses I have designed below. Please contact me email for more information and/or syllabi.
‘Searchers After Horror’: A Global History of Science Through Science Fiction
This is an introductory level course designed to meet humanities and global core requirements. Taking its name from the Lovecraftian phrase used to describe 19th century explorers to the Congo, the course provides a survey of major events and historiography in the global history of science from the medieval to modern periods, using science fiction short stories as its primary sources. It is organized thematically by power/colonialism, gender, race, and non-western approaches to science. Each theme is framed by a selection of short stories which speak to the weekly readings. This course will show how hopes and anxieties about scientific progress were reflected in science fiction literature, as well as how scholars in the non-west/of non-western traditions have looked to science fiction to narrate histories of knowledge production that have gone ignored as “scientific” or worthy of history of science’s canon.
Science and Technology in Middle Eastern History
This course is a seminar that explores the history of science and technology in the Modern Middle East. Ranging historically from the Islamic medieval period until present day, the course will introduce students to a selection of texts that address and challenge key themes of “science,” “technology,” “progress,” etc. that have proliferated in the field of Middle East history since its inception. We will cover topics ranging from eugenic science, rational medicine, and ethnography to jinn and talismanic magic. Additionally, this course will prepare students to embark on their own original research papers using archival and primary sources.
Cairo Time: History through the Lens of the “Victorious City”
This introductory online course will allow students to ‘travel’ to the city now known as Cairo, and watch it grow and develop from being a relatively small merchant city in the Ottoman Empire to a sprawling megalopolis that has become one of the centers of the Arab Spring in the 21st century.
Medicine and Healing in Islamicate Societies
What role did medicine and healing play in medieval Islamicate
societies—and what role do they continue to play in Islamicate societies
today? This seminar explores the ways that medicine impacted the social and intellectual life-worlds of communities in the Islamicate world from the medieval to the modern period. The course follows the development of medicine (tibb) and healing practices (shifa) from the time of Ibn Sina to the role of physicians and medical discourse in more contemporary political events, like the Arab Spring, and militarized spaces like occupied Kashmir. Throughout this course, students will be introduced to and learn to analyze primary sources in the history of medicine and healing in Islamicate societies. The sources range from more traditional written sources (excepts from manuscripts, fatwas, medical treatises, etc.) to objects and visual materials. Together, we will utilize these sources to reflect on the impact of medicine and healing practices on the production of the discourses and practices of power, gender, race, disability, and sexuality.We will also explore questions of magic, jinn-possession, and “vernacular” healing practices within the trajectory of Islamic medicine—and ultimately consider or problematize their distinction from “modern” medicine or biomedicine in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Image: "Water Carrier Suffering from Tetanus in Zagazig Hospital" (Sobhy, 1908)