Lucia CarminatiAug 24, 2023
Seeking Bread and Fortune in Port Said
Labor Migration and the Making of the Suez Canal, 1859-1906
University of California Press 2023
Lucia Carminati's book Seeking Bread and Fortune in Port Said: Labor Migration and the Making of the Suez Canal, 1859-1906 (U California Press, 2023) probes migrant labor's role in shaping the history of the Suez Canal and modern Egypt. It maps the everyday life of Port Said's residents between 1859, when the town was founded as the Suez Canal's northern harbor, and 1906, when a railway connected it to the rest of Egypt. Through groundbreaking research, Carminati provides a ground-level perspective on the key processes touching late nineteenth-century Egypt: heightened domestic mobility and immigration, intensified urbanization, changing urban governance, and growing foreign encroachment. By privileging migrants' prosaic lives, Seeking Bread and Fortune in Port Said shows how unevenness and inequality laid the groundwork for the Suez Canal's making.
Lucia Carminati is an Associate Professor of History in the Department of Archaeology, Conservation, and History at the University of Oslo. She is a historian of migration and the modern Middle East, researching the social and cultural history of Egypt in the 19th and 20th centuries, focusing on migratory routes and mobility at large, imperial interests, and infrastructural transformations.
Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies Department. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult sciences, and the environment across the western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.