black/ white profile picture of Jennifer L. Derr

Jennifer L. Derr

Visiting Scholar (Jan 2019-Jul 2019)


Jennifer L. Derr is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she teaches courses in the history of the modern Middle East, critical geography, and the history of medicine. She completed a PhD in History at Stanford University in 2009. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and a Master of Arts from Georgetown University in Contemporary Arab Studies. Professor Derr’s research examines the intersections among science, medicine, political economy, and the environment in the modern Middle East. Her first manuscript, The Lived Nile: Environment, Disease, and Material Colonial Economy in Egypt, is forthcoming from Stanford University Press in July 2019. The Lived Nile argues that, within Egypt’s colonial economy, the materialities of a newly constructed Nile River were central to the production of subjectivity. Constructions of knowledge, authority, and the human body itself were shaped by the material form and practice of the river. Professor Derr’s research has been supported by a number of organizations, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Hellman Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Commission, and the Social Science Research Council.


No current projects were found for this scholar.

The Liver in Egypt: Productions of an Organ through 20th-century Public Health and Political Economy


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

Parasites of Political Economy

University of California, Santa Barbara:

Histories of Economy in the Middle East

Origin Stories: Constructing the Liver in Egypt through Epidemics of Schistosomiasis and Hepatitis C

Harvard University:

History of Science Seminar

Thinking the Political Economic Body

University of California, Berkeley:

"Techno-politics and Empire” Conference

Nile Articulations: Producing Irrigation as Science in Colonial Egypt

Yale University:

Agrarian Studies Workshop

Embodied Politics and Bilharzia Infection in Colonial Egypt

University of Wisconsin, Madison:

Culture, History, and Environment Symposium