Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationHarvard U.
Grant numberGr. 10425
Approve DateOctober 11, 2022
Project TitleKhatib, Dina (Harvard U.) ""Made in Qatar": Innovation, Vitality, and the Work of Preparedness in Qatar's Agricultural Sector"
From 2017–2021, Qatar was cut off from food imports as the result of a trade blockade by four of its neighbors (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain). In response, the water-scarce, arid country intensified efforts to cultivate domestic food sources, despite ecological limits—transformations which were then cast as sources of future national vitality. This project is an ethnography of agricultural technologists and agribusiness professionals in Qatar and their ongoing attempts to innovate food production technologies in the wake of this crisis. Through ethnographic research at laboratories, experimental plots, farms, and start-up offices, this project considers how the discourse around crisis, limits, and locality is shaping new arrangements of environment, technology, labor, and governance in Qatar. In addition, this project attends to the contradictions and dilemmas that a project of national self-sufficiency and preparedness animates in a country dominated by a majority (over 90 percent) non-national and transient population and workforce. At a broader level, this research asks how uncertainties about global climate change and resource supplies can give rise to new forms of governance; affinities to the local; and visions of the future at various scales (the individual, the workplace, the nation).