The Jadaliyya Environment page started with several unconnected conversations which all came together two years ago, during the early months of the pandemic. It’s almost hard to remember at this point, but a lot of us were feeling like we needed something to do—and the pandemic had made us all even more acutely aware than normal of our bodies and the lost material sensation of daily life.
We launched on Earth Day 2020 with a bouquet of stories and a mission statement that emphasized the need for critical perspectives which did not treat the environment as an apolitical question. This year, we published seventeen stories—both written work and podcasts—in both English and Arabic, focusing on themes of race and the environment; climate change and disasters; scarcity narratives; the built environment; and environmental knowledge-production.
Following up on last year’s one-year anniversary post, we’ve prepared the following post to share everything we’ve published in the past year. We hope these resources will be useful for researchers; all who are looking to learn more about environmental questions in the region; and those in search of teaching materials that critically engage with these topics.
Thank you to all of our readers, listeners, and viewers for supporting the page over the past two years! You can reach our editorial team at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or ideas about how to contribute, and we continue to welcome submissions to the page.
We are opening by highlighting a few pieces published this year that generated important new conversations and contributions.
Spotlight on Selected 2021-22 New Pieces
Alix Chaplain, Strategies of Power and the Emergence of Hybrid Mini-Grids in Lebanon
From our editors: “In this extraordinary piece, Chaplain traces the emergence of collective electrical supply systems in villages in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley. Deeply researched and analytically innovative, this piece explores the tensions between viewing these mini-grids as essential services in the context of the overall breakdown of the Lebanese state, but also as fundamentally political technologies that reflect and intensify structural inequalities.”
عمر امسيح تسدال، ويسرى عثمان، وماري دعيق، وحنان زهران، وتالا خوري، وفؤاد معدي، وسمير خريشة، وساهر الخوري، ويارا دواني، وإياد طعم الله, مكانيات: طريقة مفتوحة ومتأصلة لدراسة المشهد الطبيعي
From our editors: “This piece outlines the research approach and critical resources of Makaneyyat, a Palestinian research collective that works to strengthen agro-ecological landscapes in Palestine. The authors describe the array of field-based, geospatial, and qualitative methods, such as oral history, that they have drawn on to produce Makaneyyat’s agro-ecological research engine and broader approach to studying and supporting communities of plants and people in Palestine. Their work provides a model and theoretical framework for developing collaborative, community-based research and tools to support farmers and communities in Palestine and the broader region in the face of climate change and Israeli colonialism.”
Bayan Abubakr, The Contradictions of Afro-Arab Solidarity(ies): The Aswan High Dam and the Erasure of the Global Black Experience
From our editors: “This important piece traces a new environmental history of race in Egypt, showing how even as the Aswan Dam became a focal point of global Afro-Arab solidarities, it was predicated materially on Nubian displacement and discursively on the erasure of Black bodies from the “modern” Egyptian nation. In focusing on how multiple axes of power intersected around the Aswan Dam, Abubakr offers a fresh angle on the familiar history of hydraulic infrastructure in Egypt.”
Red, Green, and International: Abolition Geographies and Environmental Movements with Ruth Wilson Gilmore
From our editors: “This episode of the “Environment in Context” podcast is a gripping conversation between the geographer and prison abolitionist Ruth Wilson Gilmore, environment page co-editor Huma Gupta, and anthropologist China Sajadian. Gilmore relates her research on carcerality and environment through a global, comparative lens, from the long traditions of emancipation within Black Marxism, to popular struggles against land grabs in Brazil, to the contemporary challenges of giant monopsonies like Amazon. If abolition must be green, Gilmore insists, it must also be anticapitalist and internationalist.”
Full List of Pieces Published in the Last Year
NEWTON: Anny Gaul, Graham Auman Pitts, and Vicki Valosik, eds., Making Levantine Cuisine: Modern Foodways of the Eastern Mediterranean
Eyad Houssami, Review of Nomad’s Land: Pastoralism and French Environmental Policy in the Nineteenth-Century Mediterranean World
Jamie Fico, What Happens to Oasis Farming when the Water Runs Out?
Huma Gupta, Environmental Film Review: She Was Not Alone / لم تكن وحيدة
Cihan Tugal, One World, In Flames, from California to Turkey
Mohamed Abo-Elgheit, Quick Thoughts: Mohamed Abo-Elgheit on Egypt and the Nile River Crisis
Owain Lawson, Crisis and Change: An Interdisciplinary Roundtable on Climate
Arbella Bet-Shlimon, Oil Contingency: Histories of Oil and Climate Change
Elizabeth Holt, Oil Sensoria
Sophia Stamatopolou-Robbins, Climate and Commensuration in Palestine
MESA panels: The Environment page organized and sponsored two sessions at the online Middle East Studies Association conference in December 2021: “Spatial and Environmental Histories of Iraq” with Camille Cole, Huma Gupta, Kali Rubaii, Gabriel Young, and Faisal Husain; and “Critical Environmental Perspectives of the MENA” with Jeannie Sowers, Jennifer Derr, Noura Wahby, China Sajadian, Gabi Kirk, and Owain Lawson.
Announcing NYU Hagop-Kevorkian Center 2021-2022 Virtual Series: Elements of Border and Infrastructure
Extended Media Roundup (March-April 2021)
Extended Media Roundup (May-June 2021)