Lecture: Katherine Blouin (Toronto)

Title: "Beyond the Nile: Orientalism, environmental history and ancient Egypt's Mareotide (northwestern Nile Delta)"

Abstract: "To say that modern scholarship on ancient Egypt is Nilocentric might seem like knocking at an open door. However, to explore the underpinnings of that claim and question its elevation to "lieu commun" is another story, and this is the task this article proposes to undertake. As I hope to show in this paper, the recent and current geomorphological, archaeological and environmentally-informed historical work in and on the ancient Nile Delta’s “agriculturally margins” is gradually but surely reshaping the traditional, Nilocentric narrative, and leading to an epistemological shift that is transforming the way we conceptualize Egypt’s socio-environmental dynamics in the "longue durée". As a case in point, I shall focus on the Mareotide, an area located at the north-western edge of the Nile Delta, whose most famous settlement is Alexandria."