Syed Ali Mehdi Zaidi
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationStanford U.
Grant numberGr. 10548
Approve DateApril 6, 2023
Project TitleZaidi, Syed Ali Mehdi (Stanford U.) "Living in Hellfire; Heatwork and Global Warming in Karachi"
Pakistan is at the forefront of climate change experiencing overall increase in heat ten times the global average along. Resultantly, people are spending more resources and labor to contend with the issue of heat. This project examines how people respond to heat focusing on sellers of heat alleviating technologies. These are merchants of technologies like air conditionings, ice, seasonal beverages, and perfumes in a middle class neighborhood in Karachi. This project investigates how individuals and households are learning to eat, sleep, drink and use space strategically to contend with heat. It also seeks to understand how people deploy different epistemologies scientific, religious, familial, local to make sense of freak weather events, changes in weather patterns, and increased overall heat. I investigate how heat becomes a social mediator by demarcating certain bodies as undesirable due to their inability to escape heat manifested in sweat and odor. But also, by introducing both opportunities for and limits to social and economic activity. Reading the anthropology of the anthropocene alongside literature on embodiment and work, I situate climate change as an embodied experience.