Dissertation
Tamed Waters. Ordering the City and Hinterland of Meknes, 1912-1956.

Dissertation
Sara Frikech
 



This dissertation examines hydraulic infrastructures implemented in the city and hinterland of Meknes during the French protectorate (1912-1956). Water knowledge and governance were considered important tools in exerting control over both land and its inhabitants. I argue that the spatial and material form of these hydraulic interventions was not merely a technical matter. Yet, the ways in which water was deployed - at various strategic sites - served a specific symbolic, social, cultural, and political purpose conducive to alter everyday life and reconfigure vast rural and urban territories. Furthermore, scientific innovation advancing various water related expertise, engineering, knowledge and tools, along with environmental imaginaries provided the impetus for a host of hydraulic projects. The region of Meknes constitutes a prime example to scrutinize the confluence of these processes, due to its strategic geographical location. This research therefore focuses on a series of case studies at three interrelated scales: house, urban, and region. The relationship between water, modernity, colonial policies and the production of space is addressed with the notion of water domestication. It attempts to extend the discourse on French colonial architecture by linking it to the spatial and material dimensions of hydraulic infrastructures.