Stuart J. Borsch, Ph.D

Associate Professor of History

508-767-7012 Founders Hall - Room 120

Degrees Earned

B.S. U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, 1986, 
M.I.A. International Politics, Columbia University, 1993, 
M.Phil. History, Columbia University, 1996, 
Ph.D. History, Columbia University, 2002, 
Ph.D. Thesis Title: “The Black Death in Egypt and England: A Comparative Economic Analysis”

Undergraduate Courses Taught

From Jesus to Muhammad
The Islamic Middle East (600-1800)
The Islamic Middle East (1800-Present)
Islam, Modernity and the West
The West and the World I
The West and the World II
Western Civilization I
Western Civilization II
Byzantine History
Early Medieval Europe

Publications & Editorships

Recent and Forthcoming (2014-2015)

“Qānūn al-Riyy: The Water Law of Medieval Egypt,” Der Islam: Journal of the History and Culture of the Middle East, Ed. by Heidemann, Stefan, Hagen, Gottfried, Kaplony, Andreas, Matthee, Rud De Gruyter Press (under review)

“Plague Mortality in Late Medieval Cairo: Quantifying the Plague Outbreaks 833/1430 and 864/1460 CE.” Mamluk Studies Review (forthcoming)

“Nile Floods and the Egyptian Irrigation System” Plagues in Nomadic Contexts, Historical Impact, Medical Responses, Cultural Adaptations,, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle- Wittenberg and Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Asien-Orient-Institut | Department of Oriental and Islamic Studies (forthcoming)

“Grain, Textiles and Demand Elasticity in Late Mamluk Egypt,” Proceedings of International Mamluk Studies Conference, April, 2011, University of Haifa, Department of Middle Eastern History, Haifa, Israel (forthcoming)

“The Black Death and Human Impact on the Environment,” Forthcoming in Disaster as Image: Iconographies and Media Strategies across Europe and Asia, ed. Monica Juneja and Gerrit Jasper Schenk, Regensburg (Schnell & Steiner) 2014

“Plague Depopulation and Irrigation Decay in Medieval Egypt,” in Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death, Monica Green, ed., The Medieval Globe (2014)

“Medieval Egyptian Economic Growth: The Maryūṭ Basin,” Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg Working Paper 14 (Bonn, 2014)

“Subsistence or Succumbing? Falling Wages in an Era of Plague,” Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg Working Paper 13 (Bonn, 2014)

Selected Publications (Prior to 2014)

The Black Death in Egypt and England: A Comparative Study. Austin: University of Texas Press. (2005)

“Thirty Years after Lopez, Miskimin, and Udovitch” Mamluk Studies Review. VIII (2

“Standards of Living in East and West: England and Egypt Before and After the Black Death.” Jean Marc Oppenheim, Neguin Yavari, and Lawrence Potter eds. Views from the Edge New York: Columbia University Press (2004)

“Environment and Population: The Collapse of Large Irrigation Systems Reconsidered.” Comparative Studies in Society & History 46 (2004)

“Nile Floods and the Irrigation System in Fifteenth Century Egypt.” Mamluk Studies Review IV (2000)


“Qānūn al-Riyy: The Water Law of Medieval Egypt,” Paper presented at Evolutions and Revolutions in Water Management, (Milja van Tielhof, Maarten Prak, Petra van Dam) Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences & Utrecht University: The Hague (March 2015) 

“The Egyptian Irrigation System and the Transition from Mamluk to Ottoman Provincial Administration” Paper presented at The Mamluk-Ottoman Transition: Continuity and Change in Egypt and Bilad al-Sham in the Sixteenth Century, Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg, "History and Society during the Mamluk Era (1250-1517)" at the University of Bonn ( in the spring of 2015, organized by Dr. GulSen, Institute of Oriental and Asian Studies, Dept. of Islamic Studies and Middle Eastern Languages. 

“Lost Technologies from the Medieval Islamic World: Muqalqila, Zallāqa, Jisr-Baḥr, and the Saigerhütten Process” Thematic Panel: Pre-Ottoman Technology in the Middle East and North Africa, Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting Washington, DC, November 2014 

“The Pools of Hesbon, Tall Ḥisbān’s Conduit to Water,” Presentation/lecture for the Jordan Field School of the Archeological Expedition, Tall Ḥisbān Excavations (Phase III), Mabada Plains, Jordan, June 2014. 

"Grains, Textiles, and Demand Elasticity in Late Mamluk Egypt: A Preliminary Sketch” in the Social and Economic History ESH seminar in Utrecht University (November 2-13) 

“The Water Regime of Medieval Alexandria” Sixteenth Ulrich Haarmann Memorial Lecture, distinguished lecture hosted by the Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg of Bonn University “The History and Society during the Mamluk Era 1250-1517” (January, 2014) 

“Depopulation’s Impact: The Black Death and the Medieval Egyptian Landscape” AALIMS Workshop, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, October 2013 

“Irrigation and social structure in medieval Egypt” Why were some pre-industrial societies resilient over the long-term while other pre-industrial societies were vulnerable to exogenous crises? Rural History 2013 held under the auspices of the European Rural History Organisation (EURHO) Bern, Switzerland (August 2013) 

“The Water Regime of Alexandria in the Longue Durée: 1315-1814” Colloquium on the History of Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras (10th-15th centuries) Mamluk History and Culture: CHESFAME, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy and Department of Languages and Cultures: the Near East and Henri Pirenne Research Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Ghent, Leuven (May 2013) 

“Maryūṭ Lagoon: Ḥawḍ 15?” The Nile: Natural Landscape & Cultural Landscape (Workshop) FSP Historische Kulturwissenschaften Geschäftsstelle Johannes Gutenberg- Universität. (February 2013) Mainz Germany 

“Trade and the Export Industries in Late Mamluk Egypt: Demand Elasticities and Production Possibilities.” Everything is on the Move: The Mamluk Empire as a Node in (Trans-) Regional Networks, International Conference, Festival hall, University of Bonn, hosted by the Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg of Bonn University 

“The Egyptian Province of al-Buḥayra: 1000 years of irrigation development and change,” XVIIth Annual World Economic History Conference, Stellenbosch, South Africa, July 2012

Grants and Awards

Senior Research Fellow Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg – Research Fellow, (2013 – 2014)

Research Fellow - Institute for Advanced Study (2005)

Social Science Research Council Fellow (Egypt) 1997-1998

Fulbright Fellow (Egypt) 1996-1997

Foreign Language Area Studies Fellow Columbia University 1992-1993