Book Release! Jennifer Derr on The Lived Nile Environment, Disease, and Material Colonial Economy in Egypt (Stanford University Press, 2019)

About the Book

Book Cover for Derr’s “The Lived Nile: Environment, Disease, and Material Colonial Economy in Egypt”.

In October 1902, the reservoir of the first Aswan Dam filled, and Egypt’s relationship with the Nile River forever changed. Flooding villages of historical northern Nubia and filling the irrigation canals that flowed from the river, the perennial Nile not only reshaped agriculture and the environment, but also Egypt’s colonial economy and forms of subjectivity.

Science & Justice Affiliate, UC Santa Cruz Professor of History, Jennifer L. Derr, follows the engineers, capitalists, political authorities, and laborers who built a new Nile River through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The river helped to shape the future of technocratic knowledge, and the bodies of those who inhabited rural communities were transformed through the environmental intimacies of their daily lives. At the root of this investigation lies the notion that the Nile is not a singular entity, but a realm of practice and a set of temporally, spatially, and materially specific relations that structured experiences of colonial economy. From the microscopic to the regional, the local to the imperial, The Lived Nile recounts the history and centrality of the environment to questions of politics, knowledge, and the lived experience of the human body itself.

Jennifer L. Derr is an Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an affiliate of the Science & Justice Research Center. Derr’s research interests include: Colonial and Post-colonial Middle Eastern history; environmental history; history of science; history of medicine; critical geography.

The book is available at:

Posted in News.