East Duke 204A
(CCI) Cross Cultural Inquiry
(STS) Science, Technology, and Society
(SS) Social Sciences
Climate change has transformed how we think about energy. Until recently, discussions about energy have focused on the chemical or financial nature of energy—how it’s produced, how much it costs. And debates about the political effects of energy production centered on the “resource curse” of “petrostates.” But with the mainstreaming of environmentalism and disasters like the Gulf oil spill, increasing concerns about “peak oil” and 21st century struggles over natural resources, questions have arisen about how the chemical, economic, political, and social natures of energy interact.
In this class, we’ll look at the ways the production of energy has shaped the development of societies throughout the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries by using comparative ethnographic cases from cultural contexts in and outside the United States. We specifically focus on how conflicts over energy resources may be connected to social justice, human rights, and environmental disruption in the midst of climate change. And we take a critical lens to the sociocultural and political-economic dimensions of human-energy "ecologies."