Born and raised in New York City, Joe received bachelor of arts degrees in theology and history from Fordham University, Lincoln Center, before relocating to Boston for graduate school. There he received a master of theological studies in Islam from Harvard Divinity School, and a master of arts and doctoral degree from Harvard’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.
Joe has previously taught at Dartmouth College’s Department of Religion, and served a term of three years on the editorial team for Duke University Press’s Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies. He has held research appointments at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies, the Institut d'études politiques de Paris, and the I Tatti Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence.
When not teaching, reading, or writing, Joe enjoys running 5Ks, playing real-time and turn-based strategy games, and spending far too much money on graphic tees.
Book Chapters/Encyclopedia Entries
“Food, Medicine, and Health in Medieval Islam,” In Dining with the Sultan: the Fine Art of Feasting, Los Angeles County Museum of Art & DelMonico Books [forthcoming, 2023]
Articles in Refereed Journals
"Contagion, Causality, and Circumspection in a Late-Mamlūk Digest of Natural Philosophy," the Mamlūk Studies Review [forthcoming, 2023]
“Fear and Learning in Medieval Islam: Dread as Affective Marker for the Scholarly Class,” Body and Religion, 2020, 3.1, 27–51.
Articles in Preparation
"Memory and the Health of the Heart in Medieval Islamic Learning," Body and Religion, [forthcoming, 2023]
Monographs in Preparation
Remembering Bodies: A Medieval Islamic History of Human Enhancement, Johns Hopkins University Press [under consideration]
Special Issues in Preparation
"Islamic Ethics Embodied: Pre/modern Discourses of Medicine, Law, Affect, and Philosophy," Body and Religion, [forthcoming, 2023]
Models of Desire in Graeco-Arabic Philosophy: From Plotinus to Ibn Ṭufayl, by Bethany Somma (Brill, 2021), in The Journal of Arabic Literature [forthcoming]
Joe is a historian of medieval Islamic religion, science, and literature. His current research focuses on medical practices promoted by Arabic and Persian treatises of ethics between 900 and 1400 CE, especially as they relate to the enhancement of Muslim scholars’ intellectual capacities.
His broader interests include scholarly identity formation in medieval Islamic societies, premodern emotion and embodiment, queer sexualities of the medieval Middle East, and the depiction of Islam in video games, fantasy, and science fiction.