The goatskins hold from 2x4 weibas of water [weibas 8 gallon]. These men are employed in sprinkling of the streets and labor all day for six piastres. Cairo, Egypt (inscription on verso).
Keystone photo print, 1931, Keystone View Company. Courtesy: Keystone-Mast Collection, UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California at Riverside.
“Waiting at the Taps: Stereography and Water Infrastructure in Cairo” by Alex Schultz, Ph.D. Candidate, analyzes the representation of water carrying in a group of early twentieth-century stereographs depicting Egyptian street life. These orientalist images seem to present the professional water carrier and manual water carrying as discrete, circumscribed relics. A critical spatial history of urban water, however, as Schultz points out, is not nearly so neat or precise. Rather, bodies and labor underpin the history of Egypt’s modern urban water system. Indeed, the process of water infrastructure modernization in Cairo was fundamentally uneven, and left many waiting in line at the tap.
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