Capitalism's Nature: A Global History of Mining, Empire, and Resistance in Tunisia

Rebecca Gruskin

University of Pennsylvania

Monday, December 11, 2023 3:30 pm EST

392 Claudia Cohen Hall
249 S 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

In the early twentieth century under French colonialism, phosphates mined in Tunisia fed Europe’s voracious appetite for agricultural fertilizers. This talk explores the environmental and social history of Tunisia’s Gafsa phosphate mining region from the late 19th century to the present day. It advocates an approach to global history that remains committed to place-based context, centering Gafsa to illuminate new global histories of food production, industrial pollution, occupational health, and anti-colonial resistance. It breaks down the boundary between environmental and social history as fields, showing how Gafsa’s working-class and agrarian residents shaped capitalism’s ecology both in and beyond the Gafsa region.