Abstract: Bringing Expertise for Water, Power, and Agribusiness to Khuzestan: The Development & Resources Corporation in Southwestern Iran, 1953-1974

Abigail Schade


This paper traces the ideals of international technical expertise for water management projects through the example of the Development & Resources Corporation. DRC was a private consulting business headquartered in New York City and staffed by former managers of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a national agency of the United States initiated to develop and provide a power grid for the poorest sectors of the rural United States in the Great Depression. The DRC was invited by the government of the Shah of Iran in 1956 to initiate a similar dam-building and regional development project for the river systems of Khuzestan, which empty into the northern Persian Gulf. By examining mid-century American notions of modernization, scientific leadership, and international technical assistance programs for development, I relate these notions of technical expertise to the DRC's cross-continental encounter of expertise in Khuzestan.