Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Sherine Hamdy

Sherine Hamdy

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Downloadable CV

Sherine Hamdy

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Areas of Interest: Medical anthropology, global health, Egypt, science, technology, and society, bioethics.


Sherine Hamdy has been teaching at Brown since 2006, first as a Cogut Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and later as an assistant professor of anthropology. She serves on the faculty committee of Science, Technology, and Society and the faculty committee on Middle East Studies. In 2009, she was named the Kutayba Alghanim Assistant Professor of the Social Sciences. Her article "When the State and Your Kidneys Fail: Political Etiologies in an Egyptian Dialysis Ward" (American Ethnologist, 2008) won the 2009 Rudolph Virchow Award from the Society of Medical Anthropology. Her latest book, Our Bodies Belong to God: Organ Transplants, Islam, and the Struggle for Human Dignity in Egypt, received honorable mention in the 2013 Clifford Geertz Book Prize from the Anthropology of Religion section of the American Anthropological Association. She was a Member of the School of Social Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, 2011-12. She is currently a Greenwall Foundation Scholar in Bioethics as she continues to research and teach medical anthropology at Brown.


Sherine Hamdy's first book, published in 2012 by University of California Press, is Our Bodies Belong to God: Organ Transplants, Islam, and the Struggle for Human Dignity in Egypt. In it she calls for a bioethics thoroughly integrated with political and economic realities of disease and medicine, and analyzes a heated debate in Egypt about the ethics of transplantation of body parts that exposes what she calls the "twin crises" of Islamic and medical authority in the context of a brutal political regime. Her current work continues with the theme of bioethics, medicine, and disease in Egypt as she follows the political dramas unfolding there. She is currently collaborating with Professor Soha Bayoumi (Harvard, History of Science) on a project called "Doctors of the Revolution," on the role of medics in Cairo's political uprisings.


2016 Sherine Hamdy and Megan Crowley-Matoka, "Gendering the Gift of Life: Family Politics and Kidney Donation in Egypt and Mexico." Medical Anthropology Volume 35, Issue 1. http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showAxaArticles?journalCode=gmea20

2016 Sherine Hamdy, "All Eyes on Egypt: Islam and the Medical Use of Dead Bodies Amidst Political Unrest." Medical Anthropology.

Interview in GeneWatch

Our Bodies Belong to God: Organ Transplants, Islam, and the Struggle for Human Dignity in Egypt. University of California Press, 2012.

Media related to Our Bodies Belong to God:

On the Turkish Translation of the Book

Reframing Islamic Bioethics

Interview with Egypt Independent

Review of Our Bodies Belong to God

Interview with UAE "The National"

Can Modern Medicine Locate the Soul?

Interview on Podcast

"Political Challenges to Biomedical Universalism: Kidney Failure Among Egypt's PoorMedical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness, Volume 32(4): 374-392. 2013.

"Not Quite Dead: Why Egyptian Doctors Refuse the Diagnosis of Death by Neurological CriteriaJournal of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, Volume 35(2): 147-160.

"Strength and Vulnerability After Egypt's Arab Spring Uprisings," in American Ethnologist, Volume 39 (1), 2012.

"The Organ Transplant Debate in Egypt: A Social Anthropological Analysis" "Le débat sur les greffes d'organe en Égypte: analyse anthropologique" Droit et Cultures numéro 59, 2010/1, pp. 357-365

"When the state and your kidneys fail: political etiologies in an Egyptian dialysis ward," November 2008 American Ethnologist Volume 35(4), pp.1-17.


Spring 2015
Anthropology 1223: Gender, Nature, and the Body

This course is an interrogation of the ways in which gender difference comes to be conceived of as “natural” in modern science and different cultures. What is the connection between the science of gender difference and the colonial encounter? What are some different ways of imagining gender difference? How are gender inequalities structured and perpetuated by science and political economy? Through careful reading of historical and anthropological texts, we will learn about various ways in which gender systems are constructed and resisted, how science is used to construct gender, and how gender politics influence scientific outcomes and practices. DPLL SOPH WRIT.