Marwa Koheji

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

North Carolina, Chapel Hill, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9909

Approve Date

October 25, 2019

Project Title

Koheji, Marwa (North Carolina, Chapel Hill, U. of) "Staying Cool in Bahrain: Heat, Air-Conditioning, and Everyday Comfort"

MARWA KOHEJI, then a graduate student at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was awarded a grant in October 2019 to aid research on “Staying Cool in Bahrain: Heat, Air-Conditioning, and Everyday Comfort,” supervised by Dr. Margaret Wiener. As climate change results in an increase in the intensity and frequency of heat waves, air-conditioning has become the primary technological solution to keep humans cool. In a remarkably short period of time, this machine has spread to many places around the world where it previously did not exist. The growing popularity of air-conditioning has created concerns on the part of policy makers and scholars surrounding its energy and environmental costs. It is, therefore, important to consider how this technology moves to, becomes integrated in, and transforms new places and cultures. This project investigates this question by studying the production and use of air-conditioning in Bahrain, a country in one of the hottest regions on earth. Through historical and fieldwork research, it engages three key processes: The historical introduction of air-conditioning to Bahrain and its effect on local architecture and everyday routines; the manufacturing of air-conditioning and its connection to larger infrastructures; and everyday experiences of heat exposure and cooling as they shape, and are shaped by, class and gender differences. This research shows that far from simply a response to a hot climate, the adoption and use of air-conditioning is entangled with particular historical trajectories and socio-material developments.