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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management Under Harsh Conditions: Ancient and Modern Lessons From Yemen

Sep 21, 2015, 11:30am - 12:30pm

The Mershon Center for International Security Studies welcomes Ingrid Hehmeyer, Associate Professor, Ryerson University, Ontario, who will present Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management Under Harsh Conditions: Ancient and Modern Lessons From Yemen at the Mershon Center (1501 Neil Ave.). Click here to register for this event.

Ingrid Hehmeyer is an agricultural engineer, pharmacist, and archaeologist who serves as associate professor in history of science and technology at Ryerson University in Ontario. She specializes in human-environmental relationships in the arid regions of ancient and medieval Arabia.
Her current field research focuses on the history of water technology in medieval Yemen, where she investigates technical innovations in hydraulic engineering and strategies for water management that allowed people to live under harsh environmental conditions. Part of this project involves a study of the methods of astronomical timekeeping used for allocating water, during both day and night.
Her second area of research is the history of the medical sciences in the Islamic world. As a licensed pharmacist, she is particularly interested in the use of medicinal substances and their manufacture. In connection with both water scarcity and the perpetual menace of disease - the two most fundamental threats to the basis of life - Hehmeyer also explores the evidence for the magical practices integrated with technological and scientific innovation.
Joy McCorriston, professor of anthropology at Ohio State, will serve as a discussant. McCorriston researches agricultural origins and development and paleo-environmental conditions in the ancient Near East. McCorriston is also director (with Eric Oches and Abdalaziz Bin'Aqil) of the RASA (Roots of Agriculture in Southern Arabia) Research Project.
A lunch conversation will be held immediately after the talk (1 to 2:30 p.m.) for graduate students and others in which Hehmeyer will talk informally about her fieldwork process in Yemen and how the traditional knowledge of contemporary farmers sheds light on the archaeological evidence. For lunch, please RSVP to Rachel Hopkin at

This event forms part of the seminar series Hydropolitics: Water Scarcity and Security, organized by Esther Gottlieb and Bryan Mark for the Mershon Center for International Security Studies.
Co-sponsored by the Global Water Initiative, Department of Anthropology, Center for Folklore Studies, Middle East Studies Center, and Mershon Research Network in Cultural Resilience.