Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Leonie Rau


(Max Planck Institute for the History of Knowledge's Research School 'Knowledge and Its Resources'; Associate Fellow of BGSMCS)

Tracing an Epistemic Genre: Premodern Arabic Recipe Collections as Resources of Knowledge

Tracing an Epistemic Genre: Premodern Arabic Recipe Collections as Resources of Knowledge

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) Arabo-Islamicate Middle East 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 is a doctoral fellow at the International Research School at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Knowledge and will be conducting her PhD project in affiliation with the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies.

First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Beatrice Gründler

Second Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Cale Johnson

Mentor: Prof. Dr. Lucia Raggetti



  • Rau, Leonie (2022). “Faiq, Said (Hg.): Arabic Translation across Discourses.” Orientalistische Literaturzeitung117:4–5, 399–402.doi.org/10.1515/olzg-2022-0120.
  • Rau, Leonie (2022).“Ghosn, Katia / Tadié, Benoît (Hg.): Le récit criminel arabe/Arabic Crime Fiction,” Orientalistische Literaturzeitung117:1,68–70.doi.org/10.1515/olzg-2022-0023.


  • July 2023: “Compiling Pharmaceutical Knowledge in 10th-Century al-Andalus: The Dispensatory of Saʿīd b. ʿAbd Rabbih,” conference paper, European Association of Biblical Studies Conference, Siracusa. 
  • March 2023: “‘And Let Her Use It’: Women Patients in the Gynaecological Recipes of Ibn al-Jazzār’s Medical Compendium Zād al-musāfir,” conference paper, Forming Words, Forming Things: Changeable Forms across the Mediterranean, 500–950, University of Cambridge. 
  • September 2022: “Chickpeas, Eggs, and Goat’s Hooves: Aphrodisiac Recipes from 14th-Century Cairo,” paper for the workshop Reading Early Modern Recipes in a Digital Age, Queen Mary University of London. 

Essays and Public-Facing Articles 

  • Rau, Leonie (2023). “Even Better Than the Real Thing. Faking Foodstuffs in 13th-Century Syria.” AHA Perspectives on History Daily. https://www.historians.org/research-and-publications/perspectives-on-history/summer-2023/even-better-than-the-real-thing-faking-foodstuffs-in-13th-century-syria. 
  • Rau, Leonie (2023). “What Culinary History Can Teach Us: Tracing Dishes Through the Library of Arabic Literature.” Library of Arabic Literature Blog. https://www.libraryofarabicliterature.org/2023/culinary-history-arabic-literature. 
  • Rau, Leonie (2022). “Recipes for Feasting. Medieval Arab Wedding Banquets.” ArabLit Quarterly 5, no. 3: 94–101. 
  • Rau, Leonie (2022). “A Snake Oil from Tenth Century al-Andalus,” The Recipe Project. https://recipes.hypotheses.org/18336.