© 2016

Improvising Planned Development on the Gezira Plain, Sudan, 1900–1980

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Table of contents

About this book


The typical image of the Gezira Scheme, the large-scale irrigation scheme started under British colonial rule in Sudan, is of a centrally planned effort by a central colonial power controlling tenants and cotton production. However, any idea(l)s of planned irrigation and profit in Gezira had to be realized by African farmers and European officials, who both had their own agendas. Projects like Gezira are best understood in terms of continuous negotiations. This book rewrites Gezira’s history in terms of colonial control, farmers’ actions and resistance, and the broader development debate.


continuity design Inuit logic management rectangle resistance Sudan understanding wilderness

About the authors

Maurits Ertsen is Associate Professor of Water Resources Management at Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. He is interested in irrigation practices emerging from many short-term actions of human agents or farmers’ responses to irrigation planning from a central state. Maurits is one of two Editors-in-Chief of the journal Water History.

Bibliographic information


“Maurits Ersten’s well-written history of the Gezira Scheme relies almost exclusively on the Sudan Archives at Durham University. … It will be a useful guide to others wishing to use the Sudan Archives for further study of the Gezira Scheme, since Ertsen provides good summaries of many reports and memos.” (Michael Kevane, The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 49 (3), 2016)