[This interview is part of the new Environment Page launch. All accompanying launch posts can be found here.]
In this interview, which is featured as a part of the launch of the new Jadaliyya Environment page, Malihe Razazan speaks to four of the page's co-editors: Danya Al-Saleh, Brittany Cook, Huma Gupta, and Owain Lawson. They discuss critical approaches to covering the environment, what the new Jadaliyya page seeks to contribute to these conversations, and the need to decolonize our analysis of the environment, energy, and climate change.
Danya Al-Saleh is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is a feminist economic geographer who works on the everyday politics of US universities in the Middle East and North Africa. Her dissertation research examines the relationship between US universities, engineering education, and the oil and gas industry in the Gulf, specifically in Qatar. Engaging debates in feminist political economy, critical university studies, and energy geographies, this project examines the role of US universities in reproducing socio-political formations that require the accelerated extraction of fossil fuels. She is also collaborating on a project which traces the nearly century-long role that the American University in Cairo (AUC) has played in Cairo’s uneven urbanization through knowledge production about desert development and the acquisition of suburban desert land.
Brittany Cook is an Assistant Professor in Geography at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In 2018, she received her PhD in Geography with a graduate certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Kentucky. Her research interests include organic agriculture and standardization, critical development studies, political ecology, feminist geopolitics, feminist methodologies, and the international political economy of rural development projects. She has worked in the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and community mapping in the US and Palestine and conducted qualitative research in Cyprus, Palestine, and Jordan. Her work can be found in Annals of the American Association of Geographers (forthcoming), Journal of Rural Studies, Geoforum, and Space and Polity.
Huma Gupta is a scholar of environmental planning and the political economy of development. She is currently a Humanities Research Fellow at New York University - Abu Dhabi. Her book project “The Architecture of Dispossession: Migrant Sarifa Settlements and State-Building in Iraq” examines state-building through the architectural production of rural migrants in cities. She did her doctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she was a fellow in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture and the Social Science Research Council.
Owain Lawson is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Columbia University and Senior Editor of the Arab Studies Journal. His dissertation-in-progress examines the history of the hydroelectric development of the Litani river as a means to explore intersections among technology, environment, finance, and society in twentieth-century Lebanon.
Malihe Razazan is senior producer of Your Call, a daily public affairs program on KALW, local public radio station in San Francisco and executive producer and host of Voices of the Middle East and North Africa on KPFA Radio in Berkeley. She also teaches media in/on the Middle East and radio production at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California-Berkeley. Malihe has been the lead producer for Your Call’s One Planet Series, which explores the impact of climate change, the role of human activity in the climate crisis, and the people and movements acting to preserve a habitable planet.
For more from Status/الوضع, visit www.statushour.com and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes!