19 Sep Matthew Huber: “A Critique of ‘Energy Culture’: Notes on Energy and Class Struggle”

The University of Alberta Department of English & Film Studies and the Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies invite you to attend the following upcoming talk:

A Critique of ‘Energy Culture’: Notes on Energy and Class Struggle
September 30 @ 4:00 pm.
Lecture Theatre 3, Humanities Centre
Reception to follow, 3-95 Salter Reading Room, Humanities Centre

It has become common to theorize energy as central in fueling a particular “culture.” In this talk, I draw on critiques of the concept of culture to argue that notions of an “energy culture” obscure class antagonisms within society. Although culture often connotes notions of internal homogeneity and shared values, I examine how energy systems help reproduce societal divisions and inequality. I illustrate this argument through a critique of three notions of culture in relation to energy – (1) a culture of suburbia (2) a culture of consumerism (3) a culture of excess. Although much of our energy thinking is tinged with images of scarcity, I conclude by suggesting we need to revive a political imaginary centered upon bringing more energy to economically insecure and impoverished masses.

Matthew Huber is Associate Professor of Geography at Syracuse University. he teaches on energy, environment and the political economy of capitalism. His research looks at the relationships between energy systems and the larger social, cultural and political forces. His 2013 book, Lifeblood: Oil, Freedom and the Forces of Capital examines the role of oil in shaping suburbanization and the rightward turn of American politics in the 1970s and beyond. His new project examines the industrial fertilizer industry and their immense natural gas consumption and carbon emissions.

Please note that the poster shows a previous time. The event’s time has been updated to 4:00pm to avoid conflict with another Faculty of Arts event.