Currently: Assistant Professor of Classical Studies and Archivist of the Papyrology Collection at the University of Michigan
Formerly: Library Papyrologist, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University
Main: Graeco-Roman Egypt & Papyrology; Environmental History/Historical Ecology; History of Irrigation and Water Management in Antiquity
Other Interests: Egypt, 19th century-present; History of Egyptology; Arabic
I am a recent AHMA PhD whose interests are primarily in environmental history. My dissertation was a longue durée history of irrigation and water management in Egypt's Fayyum depression spanning sixteen centuries. I challenge the notion that the region went into decline in the later Roman period due to the state's mismanagement and neglect of the irrigation system and demonstrate the strong connections that this narrative has with a British colonial-era historiography that sought to cast modern hydraulic projects as a resurrection of the ancient landscape. The rest of the project discussed the physical environment of the Fayyum, the functionality and operation of its irrigation system, and the ways in which irrigation could both create and sustain communities, as well as cause them to fray and disintegrate. It is only by following the water--observing how water is used and made to flow through a landscape over time--that we can understand how and why the Fayyum changed over the long term.
I am currently at work on two article-length projects. Influenced by recent studies of British imperial networks of knowledge and science as well as work on the colonial roots of Egyptology, the first charts the connections between British engineers, ancient historians and archaeologists, and the Egypt Exploration Fund (later 'Society') to illustrate the unacknowledged debt owed by early 'scientific' Egyptology to the work of colonial-era hydraulic engineers in Egypt.
The second project concerns the clash between paternalistic conservationism and and the needs of small farmers in contemporary Egypt from the perspective of the papyrological community.