[R5850] Crisis and Change: An Interdisciplinary Roundtable on Climate

Created by Owain Lawson
Tuesday, 10/06/20 01:30 pm


This roundtable discusses how MESA scholars in the interpretive social sciences and humanities are addressing the climate crisis, and how to foster more effective and critical engagement. It brings together scholars from different disciplines, and those whose work directly and indirectly addresses climate, to inventory the theoretical, methodological, and critical tools we possess to engage the crisis, and to conceive the new tools we need to create.

This roundtable brings together participants from Anthropology, Comparative Literature, and History. The pervasive and imminent nature of the climate crisis pushes us to reflect on our work, to ask questions of our disciplines, and to imagine new research itineraries. How can we account for this relative scarcity of scholarship on climate in our fields? How does the unfolding of climate change make us rethink our past scholarship? What are the implications of a future Middle East devastated by climate change for our studies of the present and past? How can we relate the emerging discourse of climate crisis to the Middle East? What lessons can we draw from cultures and histories of resilience in communities that have faced colonialism, capitalism, authoritarianism, precarity, and social injustice? What useful methods and concepts can we learn from one another, and from our colleagues who work on other regions?

In the past decade, scholars who work on and from within the Global South and indigenous communities have initiated the most vital new directions in critical analysis of climate change. Within MESA, political scientists, development studies scholars, and political ecologists have begun responding to these calls, including a recent special section in IJMES. This roundtable contributes to building a more robust scholarship on climate and the Middle East among the interpretive and humanistic disciplines.


Anthro; Hist; Lit



Owain Lawson

(Oberlin College)
Owain Lawson is a Doctoral Candidate in History at Columbia University. He is a historian of environment, technology, and development in the twentieth-century Middle East. His dissertation examines the history of projects to develop the Litani river in...
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;