Graduate - Fall - 2018

Energy Justice in Global Perspective


Fall - 2018
  • Friday 10:00 - 1:00
    SSMS 2001


Until the emergence of environmental and energy humanities as institutionally-recognized interdisciplinary fields, knowledge about energy was long assumed as the domain of sciences, engineering, political science, and economics. Recent scholarship in humanities and humanistic social sciences has established that understanding our entanglements with energy in general, and fossil fuels in particular, is necessarily advanced by critical humanities-based approaches, attendant to complex cultural, social, political, and philosophical dimensions of global energy systems.

In Energy Humanities (2017), Imre Szeman and Dominic Boyer draw attention to the premise, “To be modern is to depend on the capacities and abilities generated by energy. Without the forms of energy to which we’ve had access and which we’ve come to take for granted, we would never have been modern” (1). Indeed, dependence on existing systems of energy production, distribution and consumption shapes contemporary everyday life in overt and invisible ways; yet, until recently, relationships between culture, expertise, environments and energy have been largely taken for granted. Recent critical studies of energy have demonstrated an investment in questions of how energy systems create, reproduce and reinforce inequalities across class, race and gender that guide the premise of this seminar.

This seminar will focus on unpacking how knowledge about our relationships with energy is shaped. To do this, we will engage diverse sources, sites and disciplinary perspectives, while assuming that 1) experiences in the global south and indigenous north are central to knowledge production about energy and 2) “expertise” derived from communities, activists, artists and otherwise marginalized non-industry stakeholders are necessary. Readings, discussions and assignments in this course will advance critical thinking, research and writing related to these course themes.

This course is offered as part of the 2018-19 Mellon Sawyer Seminar on “Energy Justice in Global Perspective” at UC Santa Barbara and co-facilitated by Professor Javiera Barandiarán in Global Studies and Professor Mona Damluji in Film and Media Studies. Graduate seminars will continued to be offered in winter and spring quarters as part of the Sawyer Seminar initiative. Although it is not required, we encourage students to take all three seminars if possible.

In addition to the graduate seminars, numerous other special events will be held throughout the year. Check the Seminar’s events page for information on additional events of interest:http://www.global.ucsb.edu/energyjustice/events.