Tracing an Epistemic Genre: Premodern Arabic Recipe Collections as Resources of Knowledge
How was theoretical knowledge of practical activities such as medicine and pharmacy, cookery, cosmetics, and ink-making transmitted through premodern Arabic recipe collections?
Leonie Rau’s dissertation project examines a corpus of Arabic recipes from a variety of disciplinary contexts, periods, and regions, treating them as witnesses to epistemic systems and networks. She seeks to understand how recipes and the knowledge contained in them moved across the premodern (ca. 800–1600 CE) Arabic-speaking world and how such knowledge ended up being consolidated or discarded.
The project analyzes the structural, epistemic, and literary features of a range of recipe collections. It pays special attention to strategies of certifying knowledge by attaching labels or the names of known authorities to recipes. Building on theories of authorship and compilation, the project compares parallel redactions of individual recipes found in multiple texts in order to trace interactions between networks of people and knowledge.
Leonie received her BA and MA from the University of Tübingen, where she was a research associate from 2022–2023. She will be conducting her PhD project in affiliation with the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies.
Find Leonie's profile on the Website of the International Max Planck Research School – "Knowledge and its Resources" (IMPRS-KIR).