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Amanda Respess

Amanda Respess

Amanda Respess

Assistant Professor, History


1465 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, OH 43302

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Areas of Expertise

  • Premodern World History
  • The Maritime Silk Road
  • Maritime Trade and Shipwreck Material Culture in the Indian Ocean World
  • Islam in China and Southeast Asia
  • Premodern Persianate World
  • Medical History, Medical Anthropology
  • Critical Museum Studies


  • PhD, Anthropology and History, 2020, University of Michigan
  • Graduate Certificate, Museum Studies, 2020, University of Michigan

Amanda Respess is an assistant professor of premodern world history who specializes in the exchange of medicines and other long-distance trade goods on the Maritime Silk Road.  Her work examines the material culture of premodern trade networks in the Persian Gulf, South China Sea, and Java Sea and investigates the long duration of Persianate presence in the eastern Indian Ocean region.  She is particularly interested in the intersections between the lived experience of maritime travel, medical material culture, the development of Islamicate science, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Her work engages a critical museum studies approach to trace the afterlives of long-distance maritime trade artifacts from the Indian Ocean World and decolonizes heretofore-segregated histories of global science.  Her current book project draws from an archive of shipwreck artifacts recovered from the seafloor between the 9th and 14th centuries to examine the premodern exchange of medical goods and knowledge between Iran and China, and how Islamicate artifacts have been represented in Western museums. She earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology & History (2020) and Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies (2020) from the University of Michigan.