Zahra Babar (Moderator)
Zahra Babar, Associate Director for Research at CIRS at Georgetown University in Qatar. Previously, she has served with the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Development Program. Her current research interests include rural development, migration and labor policies, and citizenship in the Persian Gulf states.
Ewan Gibbs is a historian of work, labor, and community in energy industries at Glasgow University. He is currently researching the history of the British energy economy since the 1940s with a focus on locales at the centers of the expansion of conventional electricity, nuclear, hydrocarbons, and renewables. This research emphasizes onshore activities related to the offshore North Sea oil and gas industry, including rig manufacturing and pipeline and terminal services in the rural Scottish Highlands and Islands. His first book, Coal Country: The Meaning and Memory of Deindustrialization in Postwar Scotland, was published by the University of London Press in 2021.
Peyman Jafari is an Assistant Professor of History and International Relations at the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia) and a research fellow at the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam). His research focuses on the relationship between empires, labor, and ecology in the global history of oil, the social history of revolutions, and the role of the labor movement in contemporary Iran. He is the author of Der andere Iran: Geschichte und Kultur von 1900 bis zur Gegenwart (C.H. Beck, 2010). He has co-edited two volumes: Iran in the Middle East: Transnational Encounters and Social History (IB Tauris, 2015) and Worlds of Labor Turned Upside Down: Labor Relations and Revolutions in Global Perspective (Brill, 2021).
Trish Kahle is a historian specializing in energy, work, and politics in the modern United States and globally. With a keen interest in using energy as a lens to examine political life, social relations, the economy, and the environment, she is dedicated to shedding light on the intricate connections between these elements. Her first book explores the profound influence of coal miners on modern U.S. social citizenship and the nation’s energy system. Spanning from the Gilded Age to the post-Ronald Reagan era, the book delves into how Appalachian coal miners have left an enduring imprint on the United States’ political imagination and governance practices. Currently, she is embarking on a series of projects aimed at reinterpreting the history of the U.S. electric power system. By narrating it from the perspective of those who built, operated, powered, maintained, and connected it, she seeks to rectify the historical oversight of the labor force behind the country’s grid. As a co-leader of the Energy Humanities Research Initiative alongside Vicky Googasian and Firat Oruc, she spearheads interdisciplinary exploration supported by the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS). Currently, they are preparing a special journal issue titled “Affects of Energy Transition,” which compiles interdisciplinary perspectives on affect theory and the transformation of energetic lives.
Munira Khayyat is a Clinical Associate Professor of Anthropology at New York University Abu Dhabi. Her research revolves around life in war, intimate genealogies of empire, and theory from the South. She is the author of A Landscape of War: Ecologies of Resistance and Survival in South Lebanon (University of California Press 2022). Her second book project fleshes out the complex heart of empire in Saudi Arabia. Heart of Black Gold draws on a personal archive meticulously created by her maternal grandfather, who was among the first Arabian employees of ARAMCO, the Arab American Oil Company. Her research has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Arab Council for the Social Sciences, the Rachel Carson Center. Her writing has appeared in American Ethnologist, Public Culture, JMEWS, Cultural Anthropology, Anthropology News, HAU, and a number of edited volumes. Khayyat was a Member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2018-2019). Before joining NYUAD, she taught at the American University in Cairo (2013-2023) and the American University of Beirut (2011-2013).