Cultivating the Nile

Duke University Press, 2014

Winner of the 2016 James M. Blaut Award, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, American Association of Geographers 

The waters of the Nile are fundamental to life in Egypt. In this book I draw on 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork, funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, to explore the everyday politics of water: a politics anchored in the mundane yet vital acts of blocking, releasing, channeling, and diverting water. I examine the quotidian practices of farmers, government engineers, and international donors as they interact with the waters of the Nile flowing into and through Egypt. Situating these local practices in relation to broader processes that affect Nile waters, I shift back and forth from farmer to government ministry, from irrigation canal to international water conference. In showing how the waters of the Nile are constantly made and remade as a resource by people in and outside Egypt, Cultivating the Nile demonstrates the range of political dynamics, social relations, and technological interventions that must be incorporated into understandings of water and its management.