Crown Center for Middle East Studies

The Lived Nile: An Environmental History of Egypt

A Brown Bag Seminar with Jennifer L. Derr

September 18, 2019

In October 1902, the waters of the Nile filled the reservoir of the first Aswan Dam, and Egypt’s historic relationship with the river forever changed. Egyptian agriculture had long depended on the Nile flood, its rhythms demarcating the seasons and determining cycles of prosperity and poverty. The construction of the dam represented the beginning of the end of the annual inundation in Egypt, which would cease after the 1964 flood. Jennifer L. Derr’s new book, The Lived Nile: Environment, Disease, and Material Colonial Economy in Egypt, places the environment at the center of questions about politics, knowledge, and the lived experience of human bodies in nineteenth and twentieth-century Egypt. In her talk, Derr will explore two strands of the book: the relationship between the construction of a new Nile River and the global history of civil engineering; and the impact of irrigation infrastructure on the physical bodies of the human beings who lived and labored on the river. Join us for this fascinating talk!

Jennifer L. Derr is an Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Co-sponsored by the Islamic and Middle Eastern studies program and the Department of History.