Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, History, University of California / Santa Cruz

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2005
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Stanford University
The Development of the Egyptian Sugar Industry, 1850-1950: Geography, Authority and Community in Southern Egypt

The completion of the first Aswan dam in 1902 radically transformed the physical, social and economic geography of southern Egypt. This project forced the relocation of entire villages and brought thousands of acres of new land under cultivation. The Egyptian sugar industry expanded dramatically with the construction of the dam, resulting in the reconfiguration of economic production and systems of authority in southern Egypt. By examining court records, state and business documents, missionary archives and media sources, my study will investigate the new social, political and economic landscape that emerged in southern Egypt after the construction of the Aswan dam in 1902 and with the development of the sugar industry. This project will engage ongoing debates within the social sciences concerning the impact of dams and state-sponsored technological "innovation" by interrogating the historical significance of the first Aswan dam and the environmental changes that it brought to southern Egypt. Second, exploring the development of the Egyptian sugar industry will contribute to scholarship concerning the importance of sugar production within the context of world history, specifically questions of labor and the end of slavery. Thirdly, I will interrogate the core assumptions underlying nineteenth and early twentieth-century Egyptian history and political development. The historical trends that shaped Egypt's north, specifically its urban centers, dominate the conceptualization of Egyptian history. By investigating shifts in land tenure, labor patterns, social relations and the structure of political rule over the course of a century in southern Egypt, I will challenge the geographical bias that currently informs Egyptian history and continues to define Egyptian culture and notions of politics.