In this episode, Huma Gupta speaks with journalist Layli Foroudi. They explore how the story of phosphates can help us understand the political economy of environmental transformation in Tunisia from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century. This episode discusses phosphate mining towns like Gafsa, railway networks that transport this important resource to coastal cities like Sfax for processing, phosphate trade with India, existing environmental policies, and public protests decrying the phosphate industry's environmental impacts, such as pollution, soil salinization, and water scarcity, in the decade following the Tunisian revolution.
Huma Gupta is a scholar of environmental planning and the political economy of architecture. Gupta is a postdoctoral fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University, where she is working on two book projects: "Dwelling and the Architecture of Dispossession" and "Dwelling and the Wealth of Nations." In 2020, she completed her dissertation "Migrant Sarifa Settlements and State-Building in Iraq" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she was a fellow in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture.
Layli Foroudi is a journalist, producer, and illustrator based in Tunisia who covers environmental issues. Her writings have appeared in The Times, Reuters, Al Jazeera English, and the Financial Times.
- 'We had to get our land back': Tunisian date farm proves revolutionary bright spot, Reuters, December 2020
- Agricultural Time During a Pandemic (Sierra Club, September 2020)
- For the Gabès Chemical Group, A Population is Sacrificed (Inkyfada, November 2019)