Razieh-Sadat Mousavi

Research Scholar (Jul 2019-Dez 2023)

Razieh Sadat Mousavi recently submitted her PhD thesis to the Humboldt University of Berlin and her oral defense is scheduled for September. Her dissertation “A Critical Edition, Translation, and Study of al-Farghānī’s Elements of Astronomy (c. 860 CE): An Interplay of Meaning and Form at the Intersection of Astronomical and Medical Traditions” investigates the early period of the formation of Islamic astronomy when Ptolemaic and non-Ptolemaic traditions were performed competitively; it scrutinizes how Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Kathīr al-Farghānī unified these traditions around a Ptolemaic nucleus through textual and contextual analysis. Emphasizing the impressive use of literary tools mainly received and developed through translations of Galenic works, her study of al-Farghānī’s Elements of Astronomy mirrors the triangulation between science, textual practices, and sociocultural circumstances.

Razieh’s interests vary from the social history of astral knowledge in the Islamic world to literary techniques in teaching and learning sciences, particularly relating to the intersections between astronomy and medicine. In her recent presentation at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, she examined a peculiar time-keeping text attributed to Abū Bakr Aḥmad b. Waḥshiyya (d. 931 CE), in which the nocturnal positions of the Moon with respect to the horizon plane are used as approximations to help farmers know what the most suitable planting times are throughout the month.

Holding a BA in Mathematics, Razieh also enjoys employing digital technologies in her research thanks to the rapid development of Digital Humanities in recent years. In her MA thesis, she worked on astronomical instrumentation and the relation between science, religion, and power under the Safavid dynasty (1502–1722).

Selected Publications

Ansari, Hassan and Razieh-Sadat Mousavi (2022). “Five Imāmī Credal Texts Written during the Transition from the Bahshamiyya to the School of Abū l-Ḥusayn al-Baṣrī: Editio Princeps and Introduction.” Shii Studies Review 6 (1–2): 285–339. https://doi…

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Mousavi, Razieh-Sadat (2019). “Khwārizmī Kātib (Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Yūsuf al-Kātib).” In Dāʾirat al-maʿārif-i buzurg-i islāmī [The Great Islamic Encyclopedia]. Vol. 23, ed. K. Mūsawī Buǧnūrdī. Vol. 23. Tehran: Center for the Great…

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Mousavi, Razieh-Sadat (2018). “Samt wa Irtifaʿ [Azimuth and Altitude].” In Dānišnāma-i ǧahān-i islām [Encyclopedia of the World of Islam]. Vol. 24, ed. Ġ. ‘Alī Ḥaddād ‘Ādil and M. Mīrsalīm, 519–521. Tehran: Bunyād-i Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif Islāmī. https:…

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Mousavi, Razieh-Sadat (2017). “Siʿat-e Mashriq [Ortive Amplitude].” In Dānišnāma-i ǧahān-i islām [Encyclopedia of the World of Islam], ed. Ġ. ‘Alī Ḥaddād ‘Ādil and M. Mīrsalīm, 23:510–512. Tehran: Bunyād-i Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif Islāmī. https://hdl…

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Past Events


Moonrise, Moonset, and Planting Times


The Safavid Multi-Text-Manuscript 1984.463 (Harvard University, Sackler Museum)—its Content and Context


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

Tracing Arabic translations of the Almagest in al-Farghānī’s Elements of Astronomy

26th International Congress of History of Science and Technology (Symposium: The Greek and medieval Ptolemy organized by Benno van Dalen and Nathan Sidoli)

Prague (virtually)

Failure of Complexity to Success of Simplicity: The Example of Qibla-Indicators

XXXIX Scientific Instrument Symposium (Panel: Failed Scientific Instruments)

London (virtually)