Hengameh Ziai

Post-doctoral Associate

Hengameh (Henny) Ziai is a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University in Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies, and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. At Yale, she will continue to develop her dissertation project, entitled Credit Histories: Colonialism and Resistance in the Gezira Plain of Sudan. Her project uses credit-debt relations as a lens to explore spatial reorderings, economic extraction, temporal transformations, and the refashioning of economic and ethical subjects in the Gezira plain of Sudan. Drawing on political economy, histories of capitalism, anthropologies of debt, science and technology studies (STS) and Islamic studies her work offers an account of how since the nineteenth century credit, debt and land came to be ‘disembedded’ from the realm of social, ethical and spiritual obligations–-culminating in a messianic revolt, the Mahdist uprising. Her dissertation focuses on four historical moments: the Ottoman-Egyptian occupation of Sudan (1821-1881), the Mahdist uprising and government (1881-1898), British colonial rule (1898-1930), and the rise of a peasant labor movement (1930-1956). Henny will also pursue research related to a second project, which will explore the World Bank’s multiple interventions in Sudanese agriculture (particularly the Gezira Scheme) beginning in the 1960s, especially as it intersected with discourses from the emerging field of development economics and ideas about ‘human capital’ in agriculture as advanced by Chicago School economist, Theodore W. Schultz.

Program in Agrarian Studies
Acad Year (Current): 
Program in Agrarian Studies