Mechanizing the Flow: Machines and Politics on The Nile Before the British Occupation


Monday, April 17, 2017, 4:15pm to 6:00pm


CMES, Rm 102, 38 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA 02138

The CES/CMES Colonial Encounters Working Group presents Casey Primel. On December 10, 1902, the sluices of Egypt's Aswan Dam were opened for the first time. The Aswan Dam was an exemplar of colonial engineering, the project of remaking colonial society through material infrastructure. Its completion culminated one among many competing visions for the Nile in the late nineteenth century. This paper examines another of those visions. In the decades before the British occupation, Egyptian and European engineers working on the behest of estate owners and public companies worked to reconfigure the flow of the Nile's water through the introduction of steam-pumps. This paper explores their work and its significance for thinking about water and community in late nineteenth century Egypt.Casey Primel is a historian working at the junctures of science and technology studies, the history of capitalism and postcolonial studies. His research focuses on the history of political economy and engineering in modern Egypt. He is currently a Volkswagen Postdoctoral Fellow at the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History at Harvard.

ORGANIZER(S): The CES/CMES Colonial Encounters Working Group