Ryan A. Kashanipour

Assistant Professor of Practice, Mesoamerican History, Health, Medicine, and Science
Chair, Southwest Seminar

R.A. Kashanipour is an interdisciplinary scholar of medicine and science specializing in health, disease, and environmental change in indigenous Mesoamerica and the Spanish Atlantic World. As a cultural historian and historical anthropologist, his research examines the intersections of experience and epistemology in the production of knowledge and institutions of colonial authority. He is the author of numerous works in a variety of fields, including ethnography, ethnomedicine, history of science, archival studies, and pedagogy and teaching. His first book, Between Magic and Medicine: Colonial Yucatec Healing in the Spanish Atlantic World, in development with the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture, explores the formation of robust inter-ethnic social and intellectual networks of sickness and healing during the recurring epidemic and ecological crises of colonial Yucatán. This work explores the syndemics of colonialism and the ways that indigenous peoples figured centrally in the development of colonial ideas of the body, nature, and medicine. His second monograph, tentatively titled The Morality of the Moon: Fable, Science, and Fiction in Enlightenment Mexico, examines how popular and censored seventeenth- and eighteenth-century accounts of science fiction reflected the tenuous emergence of modern metaphysics in early modern literature and science in Latin America and the Atlantic world.  Dr. Kashanipour’s longstanding anthropological research in ethnobotany and ethnomedicine explores how Yucatec and Lacandón-Maya speaking peoples of Mexico and Guatemala navigate so-called traditional medical ideas and practices to build community relations in the face of state-institutions of authority.  

Dr. Kashanipour is Scholar in Residence and affiliated faculty in the Center for Latin American Studies and History at the University of Arizona. He holds degrees in Anthropology, History, and Library and Information Science and received his Ph.D. in Latin American History from the University of Arizona. Dr. Kashanipour held academic positions at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Omohundro Institute for Early American History, and the College of William & Mary and his work has been generously supported by grants and awards from numerous institutions, including the Andrew Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Wenner-Gren Foundation. He is active in promoting new avenues of interdisciplinary research through collaborative initiatives with the Library of Congress and American Historical Association. He is the editor and co-editor of several interdisciplinary book series, including the Mesoamerica, Caribbean and South America series at ARC Humanities Press and New Colonial Histories of Latin America series at Routledge Press, and various initiatives in the Digital Humanities, including as a co-collaborator on the Recipes Project

In the Center for Latin American Studies, Dr. Kashanipour supports undergraduate and graduate programming Border Studies and Central American Studies and leads the Southwest Seminar.   As an advocate for first-generation and historically underrepresented groups, he also mentors junior scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences at every level, from undergraduates to advanced doctoral students. His areas of teaching include Archival Theory and Practice, Ethnohistory, Ethnomedicine, History of Science, Maya Studies, and Medical Humanities. 

Personal website: https://www.rakashanipour.com/