French Government Awards Research Grant to Assumption Professor

Oct. 15, 2019
Office of Communications

Assumption University Associate Professor of History Stuart Borsch, Ph.D., is part of a research project that was awarded funding from the French and German governments. The grants will support the EGYLandscape Project, a three-year research project explores the historical landscapes, agriculture, nature, and climate of Egypt throughout the Mamluk and Ottoman periods (13th-18th centuries). Prof. Borsch is on the team funded by the French government grant and will focus his research on Egypt’s economic and agrarian production. 

“My role in this project will be to conduct research on Egypt’s past economic performance, with a focus on agrarian production,” explained Prof. Borsch, who was invited by the French government to participate in the three-year project as they were familiar with his prior work on Egypt. He said he plans to travel to Egypt to conduct research in the summer of 2020, and perhaps again in 2021.  “I will be applying my own theories to provide a clearer picture of how Egypt’s agrarian economy performed over a thousand-year interval – from about 800 CE to 1800 CE.”

Prof. Borsch’s two theories include a Systems Ratio Analysis, which studies land surveys over time by quantifying ratios between upstream and downstream regions along irrigation canals; and Linguistic Hydrology, which is a subset of Systems Ratio Analysis applied to the changing of village names from Coptic to Arabic. 

According to the project proposal, the “first-of-its-kind” project will study “Mamluk and Ottoman Egypt’s agriculture, land use and tenure, biology (plants and animals), climatology, hydraulic systems, demography, and more. Using archeological, digital, and textual methodologies, EGYLandscape will bring together a team of researchers and scholars from a variety of backgrounds to collaborate on the issues at hand.”

The project features team members at 21 universities and institutes in six different countries, and will be coordinated online through digital fora, discussions, webinars, and working papers as well as three workshops and a conference.  In September, the team held its first project workshop in Marburg, Germany, during which participants introduced their research projects and plans as well as discussed the overall framework. Prof. Borsch presented on "Linguistic Hydrology: Systems Ratio Analysis (SRA) for Diglossia (Coptic-Arabic)" during the workshop. 

For more information on the EGYLandscape Project, please