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.

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.

November 16, 2022
Why Read Fiction while the Planet is in Crisis? Reflections on Cli-Fi Book Clubs
Misty Matthews-Roper

Climate fiction stories, sometimes known as "cli-fi", have captured the imagination of writers and their readers. But it isn't yet clear if reading dramatic narratives about climate change can or will translate into action. Amidst a significant push for new narratives to shift climate anxiety into action, researcher Misty Matthews-Roper has turned to book clubs to understand the social power of reading cli-fi. She reports on her preliminary findings about how social reading can create meaningful conversations about how to live and respond to the ongoing climate crisis.

October 12, 2022
The Ecological Stakes of America’s New Cold War with China
Andrew Pendakis

"Climate change," writes Andrew Pendakis, "is not a box on a diplomatic checklist: it’s now the checklist itself." In this provocative essay, Pendakis argues that the increasingly aggressive posture of US policy towards China threatens to undermine the kind of radical and collaborative actions that the climate crisis demands. To have any hope of addressing the crisis, the United States must abandon xenophobic nationalism and adopt a much more open and cooperative position on China.


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videos & Interviews

Episode 3: Democracy, Sovereignty, Populism, Pleasure

Effective climate action will require collective agency, but to this point, such agency is constrained by larger political structures. In this expansive and lively discussion, recorded as part of an After Oil 3 meeting in Banff, Alberta in October 2022, Allan Stoekl, Sarah Marie Wiebe, Casey Williams, and Imre Szeman discuss the contours of those restrictive political structures and what will be required to build mass support for energy transition at multiple scales.

Episode 2: Efficacious Action

If we have all the ideas and technologies that we need to address climate change, what is missing? In this podcast episode, recorded as part of an After Oil 3 meeting in Banff, Alberta in October 2022, Cara New Daggett, Swaralipi Nandi, and Jennifer Wenzel work through the hegemony of "heroic action", critical consider degrowth, and explore models of climate action that prioritize care and critical thought.

Episode 1: Museums of the Future

"Futuring" is a process of imagining and planning for possible futures. In this podcast episode, recorded as part of an After Oil 3 meeting in Banff, Alberta in October 2022, Graeme Macdonald, Terra Schwerin Rowe, and Hiroki Shin explore futuring as a potential method to evade the "domino effective" narrative of climate catastrophe. Much of their conversation is about museums as futuring spaces and whether museums can move past their entanglements with the technological sublime of fossil-fueled industrialism.

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