We generate new ways of thinking about energy and culture.

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A new way to understand energy and society.


Energy shapes culture. How we think, play, dream, and live is indebted to our use of fossil fuels.


We need new ways of thinking about energy. Art, philosophy, literature, and history can help us see our future and the challenges we face in a new light


Becoming sustainable requires more than replacing combustion engines with batteries. It means living together differently.


Solar panels, electric cars, and plastic-eating microbes? Let’s move beyond technocentric solutions to consider our social and political options.


Mark Simpson, Imre Szeman, and Caleb Wellum
Welcome to Energy Humanities

Developed by the Transitions in Energy, Culture, and Society (TECS) project and the Petrocultures Research Group, energy humanities features commentary on current developments in energy and the environment, announcements and news items, and video interviews with influential and emerging voices on energy & society. This site gathers some of the most exciting and important insights humanities researchers provide about the social nature of our environmental crises.

February 1, 2023
What is the Sun?
Oxana Timofeeva

Philosopher Oxana Timofeeva explores human conceptions of the sun, from ancient mythologies and philosophical metaphors to modern techno-scientific designs to extract virtually unlimited amounts of energy. In this elegant essay, Timofeeva offers a mythological rejoinder to unbounded techno-scientific ambitions, noting that the endless pursuit of extraction, even when applied to solar energy, is likely to end up like an ecological Icarus.

November 25, 2022
After Oil 3: Volatile Trajectories Podcast Series
Mark Simpson, Scott Stoneman, Imre Szeman, and Caleb Wellum

The Petrocultures Research Group's After Oil Collective recently began its After Oil 3 (AOS 3) project. One result of the first AOS 3 meeting is a six-episode podcast series called Volatile Trajectories, which has just been released online and as part of the Environmental Humanities Month 2022 Program. The podcast episodes were written and recorded over a day and a half at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in October 2022. They feature leading and emerging energy humanities researchers in conversation about how we move beyond fossil fuels and climate crisis.

December 8, 2022
Darin Barney

Could organizing power systems regionally on an "energyshed" model empower citizens and redistribute the political control of energy systems in a democratic direction? In this introductory exploration, Darin Barney highlights the political implications of energysheds, arguing that they "will be made, not found."


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videos & Interviews

Episode 6: Politics After Academia Part 2: Ends

How must academia change in light of the climate and other crises? In this podcast episode, recorded as part of an After Oil 3 meeting in Banff, Alberta in October 2022, Darin Barney, Walter Gordon, and Bob Johnson confront the exclusionary nature of academia's knowledge production system. Together, they explore the potential of the energy humanities to be a forum and site where experts in energy transition embrace the goal of producing a more oppositional and radically inclusion version of the university.

Episode 5: Politics After Academia Part 1: Acts

How is academia implicated in the climate crisis and the politics of energy transition? In this podcast episode, recorded as part of an After Oil 3 meeting in Banff, Alberta in October 2022, Rhys Williams, Stacey Balkan, and Tommy Davis talk about the ways in which the "revolutionary forms of infrastructure" needed to forestall climate collapse hinges on certain forms of aesthetic education and moving beyond imagination to doing the political work necessary to bring them into being. To do these things, however, means confronting the now material reality of petrocultural ideology.

Episode 4: Connections to the Land

The current fossil-fuel energy regime entails certain kinds of human-land relationships. In this podcast episode, recorded as part of an After Oil 3 meeting in Banff, Alberta in October 2022, Emily Eaton, Eva-Lynn Jagoe, Penelope Plaza, Scott Stoneman, and host Mark Simpson think through different approaches to the land that may help to break the spell of fossil capitalism. They discuss loving of land, attachments to particular forms of land use and their histories, and maintenance as a more just and sustainable paradigm for connecting to the land--and to others.

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