July 1, 2020 (Provisional)
Circuits of Production, Crisis and Revolt: The Environment and Capital in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
In response to the isolation created by the Corona-19 crisis, this online workshop seeks to bring together scholars and activists who work on the environment in the MENA region. It will focus on the relationship between the environment, capital accumulation, and politics within MENA. The workshop has three main principles. Firstly it explores the way in which the region and its environment have been integrated into international circuits of production. The MENA is a site of extraction for oil, food, and other commodities and this has consequences for the environment both within the region and at the world scale. Through this lens, pathologies and crises of MENA can be understood within an international context, rather than one that might tend to the exceptionalisation that has characterised some literature on the environment in the region. Second, it will focus on the struggles over access to resources and dispossession from the means of production that is manifest in agrarian change and other transformations in the region. Water, soil, and land are being appropriated by corporate farming at the expense of agroecological methods that can mend the metabolic rift. Third, it will seek to promote just resolutions to the environmental crises that confront the region. It will confront the Malthusian, racist, Eurocentric and colonial tendencies that are manifest in framings of the environment in MENA, and will seek to promulgate alternative epistemologies and networks.
Themes to be addressed might include, but also go beyond, the following:
- Agrarian change
- Urban change
- Oil and the climate crisis
- Class struggles and activism
- Pollution and waste
- Covid-19 and other pathologies
This workshop particularly welcomes abstracts from early career researchers and scholars and activities from the Middle East and North Africa and elsewhere in the Global South.
Dr. Christian Henderson, Leiden University
Dr. Muna Dajani, London School of Economics
Dr. Max Ajl, Humanities and Social Change International Foundation and associated researcher, Observatory for Food Sovereignty and the Environment