Petrocultures members engage with oil, energy, and climate issues using the tools of the fine arts, arts, humanities, and social sciences. We are researchers, artists, and activists who study the past, present, and future of energy to create a more just and sustainable world.
If you would like to become a member, submit your short application. You will be asked to describe how your work fits with our mandate.
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Gretchen Bakke holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Cultural Anthropology. Her work focuses on the chaos and creativity that emerge during social, cultural, and technological transitions. She is currently a senior researcher at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam and Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, in Berlin. Bakke is the author of The Grid, a 2016 Bill Gates pick, and the 2020 ethnography The Likeness. She is currently conducting research for a cultural history of the end of fossil fuels.
Darin Barney is the Grierson Chair in Communication Studies and Professor in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. From 2005-2015 he was Canada Research Chair in Technology & Citizenship at McGill. He was President of the Canadian Communication Association (2010-2012), and served on the Advisory Council of the Law Commission of Canada (2000-2005). He has received several awards for his academic work, including the 2003 SSHRC Aurora Prize for outstanding contribution to Canadian intellectual life. He is a member of the After Oil collective and a Director of the Radical Critical Theory Circle. He convenes the Grierson Research Group (www.griersonresearchgroup.ca).
Brent Ryan Bellamy
Brent Ryan Bellamy teaches university courses on critical world building, science fiction studies, and energy humanities. His book Remainders of the American Century: Post-Apocalyptic Novels in the Age of US Decline is forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press. He has co-edited Materialism and the Critique of Energy (2018) with Jeff Diamanti and An Ecotopian Lexicon (2019) with Matthew Schneider-Mayerson. More information available at brentryanbellamy.com. (photo credit: Gange Photo)
Dominic Boyer teaches at Rice University, where he also served as Founding Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences (2013-2019). He is currently pursuing anthropological research with flood victims in Houston, Texas, and on electric futures across the world. His most recent book is Energopolitics (Duke UP, 2019), which is part of a collaborative duograph, “Wind and Power in the Anthropocene,” with Cymene Howe. With Howe, he also helped make a documentary film about Iceland’s first major glacier (Okjökull) lost to climate change, Not Ok: a little movie about a small glacier at the end of the world (2018). In August 2019, together with Icelandic collaborators they installed a memorial to Okjökull’s passing, an event that attracted media attention from around the world.
Farrukh Chishtie (he/him) is an atmospheric, climate, and earth observation scientist with extensive experience in various experimental and modelling disciplines. Holding three Master degrees and two PhDs in Applied Mathematics and Education with specialization in environment and sustainability, he has more than twenty years of research experience. Along with grassroots advocacy on issues of climate change and environmental degradation across the globe, he aims for holistic understanding towards meaningful action. His areas of expertise and active research are climate science and policy, climate adaptation and mitigation via integrating both Earth Sciences and the Science, Technology and Society (STS) lens. Ongoing research efforts include studies of air pollution and health, droughts, floods, landslides, wildfires, storms, and extreme weather events in the Asian and the American regions.
Brigt Dale is an anthropologist and political scientist and a Research Director at the Environment and Society Research group at Nordland Research Institute, Norway. His research focuses on extractive industries in the north, climate policy and action, and the politics of oil and post-petroleum trajectories. Current projects focus on socio-ecological tipping points in transformation, the importance of understanding impact chains in climate risk mitigation and planning, and the need for adaptive and transformative action when building sustainable alternative industries in oil-dependent regions, such as the Arctic. More recent interest includes conflicts over land-use and negative ecosystem effects of onshore windmill parks and aquaculture, and new green-tech solutions such as offshore wind, CCUS solutions, hydrogen and ammonia production, and charging- and storage infrastructure. He is currently (2018-2021) an affiliated professor at IBES Brown Institute for Environment and Society, RI, USA. A list of publications can be found here.
Jeff Diamanti is Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities (Cultural Analysis & Philosophy) at the University of Amsterdam. His first monograph, Climate and Capital in the Age of Petroleum: Locating Terminal Landscapes is forthcoming with Bloomsbury in June 2021. His work can be found at www.jeffdiamanti.com.
Danine Farquharson is Associate Professor of English at Memorial University. Her early research focused on violence in Irish literature and film but her current interests are in ocean studies and energy humanities, specifically working on a joint research project with Dr. Fiona Polack: Cold Water Oil. Together, they examine how the North Atlantic offshore oil and gas industry is imagined in a wide range of high and popular contexts – everything from social media, to visual art, to literary fiction. She is co-founder and co-curator with Dr. Julia Wright of Dalhousie University of the research cluster and blog: SSHORE (Social Science and Humanities Ocean Research and Education).
Rania Ghosn is Associate Professor of architecture and urbanism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founding partner of Design Earth with El Hadi Jazairy. She is editor of New Geographies 2: Landscapes of Energy (2010) and co-author of Geographies of Trash (2015) and Geostories: Another Architecture for the Environment (2018). Ghosn’s scholarly writings chart geographic portraits of energy infrastructure to describe the frictions and unanticipated consequences that inevitably accompany such projects. Chapters have appeared in several edited volumes, including: The Arab City (2016), Energy Accounts: Architectural Representations of Energy, Climate, and the Future (2016); The Camp and the City (2017); and Infrastructure Space (Routledge, 2017). The Design Earth “After Oil” project of is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Derek Gladwin is an Assistant Professor of Language & Literacy Education and a Sustainability Fellow with the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. He has also held visiting fellowships at National University of Ireland, Galway, University of Amsterdam, University of Edinburgh, and Trinity College Dublin. Gladwin is the author or editor of several books focusing on environmental literacy and narrative education in digital, visual, and literary culture, including Ecological Exile (2018), Gastro-Modernism (2019), and Rewriting Our Stories (2021). He is currently working on a SSHRC-funded project on energy literacy and storytelling.
Jacob Goessling is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Literature and Languages at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN, with a PhD in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University. His essay “Seeing Extraction: The Production and Reproduction of Energy Culture” was recently published in Transformations: A Journal of Media, Culture and Technology. Jacob’s research considers the residual cultural presence of extractive infrastructure in regions that have been shaped through resource mining. His teaching explores topics related to environmental and energy justice, place-based composition, and the literature and culture of climate emergency.
Walter Gordon is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Public Energy Humanities at Transitions in Energy, Culture, and Society (University of Alberta) and the Petrocultures Research Group. His research is concerned with African American literature, energy, and the environment, particularly in relation to questions of labor. He is currently working on two projects: a digital, interactive adaptation of Shirley Graham’s 1941 play Dust to Earth, and a monograph entitled “Oh, Awful Power”: Energy and Modernity in African American Literature, which tracks the interlinked cultural histories of King Coal and Jim Crow.
Rachel Havrelock is a Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she directs the UIC Freshwater Lab. Her interest in Petrocultures largely focuses on pipelines, in particular the world’s first transnational oil pipeline that ran from Kirkuk to Haifa and the Enbridge Lakehead System. In addition to academic articles, Rachel has published digitally on the Line 5 pipeline and Chicago River as a manner of pipeline.
Cymene Howe is Professor of Anthropology at Rice University. Her books include Intimate Activism (Duke 2013), The Anthropocene Unseen: A Lexicon (Punctum 2020) and Ecologics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene (Duke 2019), which follows human and more-than-human lives intertwined with renewable energy futures. Her current research focuses on adaptation to ice-loss in the Arctic region and sea level rise in coastal cities around the world. She co-produced the documentary film Not Ok: A Little Movie about a Small Glacier at the End of the World and initiated the Okjökull memorial, the world’s first memorial to a glacier felled by climate change.
Bob Johnson is Director of the Honors Fellows for Social Change at National University in San Diego. He is author of Mineral Rites: An Archaeology of the Fossil Economy and Carbon Nation: Fossil Fuels in the Making of American Culture, and he has published on subjects spanning environmental history, technology studies, and cultural studies. His current research examines the social construction of climate in southern California.
Carrie Karsgaard is a Doctoral Candidate in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Alberta. Her doctoral research explores the participatory nature of public pedagogy on Instagram, using the large-scale data available on Instagram to trace and analyze how publics reinforce, reject, and/or destabilize settler colonialism as they leverage platform affordances to engage with the Trans Mountain pipeline issue. Carrie’s research interests include critical and anticolonial studies in international, intercultural, and environmental education.
Stephanie LeMenager is the Barbara and Carlisle Moore Distinguished Professor in English and American Literature, and Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon. Her work on climate change and the humanities has been featured in The New York Times, ClimateWire, Science Friday, NPR, the CBC, and other public venues. Her publications include the books Living Oil: Petroleum Culture in the American Century, Manifest and Other Destinies, Environmental Criticism for the Twenty-First Century, and Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities. LeMenager’s four-volume collection of the best scholarly articles in Literature and Environment, co-edited with Professor Teresa Shewry, will be published by Bloomsbury in January 2021. She is currently finishing two book projects, on fictionality in the era of climate change and the cultural meanings of public lands.
Sourayan Mookerjea is director of the Intermedia Research Studio in the Department of Sociology, University of Alberta, in Treaty Six Territory, where he specializes in critical social theory, global sociology, political ecology and intermedia research. His research addresses questions regarding the cultural and class politics of renewable energy transition, and critically engages with eco-feminist degrowth and commons theory. Current research projects examine how social and environmental justice theory and praxis can delink from the colonizer’s model of the world and the world-ecologies of racial capitalism. He is co-director of Feminist Energy Futures Powershift and Environmental Social Justice as well as iDoc: Intermedia and Documentary and is a co-investigator on the research-creation collaboration, Speculative Energy Futures.
Anne Pasek is an interdisciplinary researcher working at the intersections of climate communication, the environmental humanities, and science and technology studies. She studies how carbon becomes communicable in different communities and media forms, to different political and material effects. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cultural Studies and the School of the Environment at Trent University, as well as the Canada Research Chair in Media, Culture and the Environment, and Reviews Editor for the Journal of Environmental Media.
Karen Pinkus is Professor at Cornell University. Author of numerous essays in environmental humanities and climate change, her books include Fuel. A Speculative Dictionary (Minnesota, 2016).
Penelope Plaza is Lecturer in Architecture at the School of the Built Environment, University of Reading, UK. Her research engages with the politics of culture, public space and state power, with a particular focus in urban artivism and petrocultures. Her monograph, Culture as renewable oil: how territory, bureaucratic power and culture coalesce in the Venezuelan petrostate, unpacks the links between state power, oil energy, and urban space and culture by looking at the petro-socialist Venezuelan oil state to examine how oil is a cultural resource, in addition to a natural resource, implying that struggles over culture implicate oil, and struggles over oil implicate culture. The book was shortlisted for the Royal Geography Society’s Political Geography Research Group Book Award 2019-2020, awarded Special Commendation by the judging panel.
Fiona Polack is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, as well as Academic Editor at Memorial University’s scholarly press. Her research in energy humanities focuses primarily on cultural figurations of the offshore oil industry. She currently leads the SSHRC Insight project “Oil Rigs and Islands” (2020-25) and, with fellow Petrocultures researcher Danine Farquharson, is presently co-editing Cold Water Oil: Imagining Offshore Petroleum Cultures for Routledge’s Environment and Sustainability series. Fiona and Danine hosted Petrocultures 2016: The Offshore at Memorial University.
Kimberly Skye Richards
Kimberly Skye Richards obtained a PhD in Performance Studies from the University of California-Berkeley. Her research examines how Indigenous and anti-colonial artists and activists use embodied practices to disrupt the development of new extractive infrastructure and foster a “petro-political consciousness,” and inspire a just energy transition. She recently co-edited an issue of Canadian Theatre Review on “Extractivism and Performance” (April 2020) and has also published in TDR: The Drama Review, Theatre Journal, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, and several edited collections. At present she is a Public Energy Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow in the Transition in Energy, Culture, and Society network at the University of Alberta.
Emily Roehl is a Lecturer in the Honors College at Texas State University and the co-founder of artist book publisher Mystery Spot Books. Roehl previously served as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Transitions in Energy, Culture, and Society program at the University of Alberta and as a Mellon Sawyer Seminar Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Roehl holds a PhD in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and writes about energy, art, and environmental justice at the confluence of cultural history and media studies. Her current research focuses on the art and media that has emerged from the movements against KXL, DAPL, and Line 3.
Karl Emil Rosenbæk
Karl Emil Rosenbæk is a PhD student at the University of Southern Denmark. His PhD project wishes to transport the insights of petroculture studies to a Scandinavian context, where the understanding of oil as culture is a fairly understudied subject. In Scandinavia there is, however, a present ambiguity of green frontierism and continuing oil dependency and this is the background for Karl Emil’s preliminary study of Scandinavian petrofiction. His work asks how this ambiguous oil relation is being negotiated aesthetically and what does this possibly mean for the vital response to the climate crisis?
Janet Stewart is Professor of German & Visual Culture at Durham University, where she is founding member of the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture and a member of the Durham Energy Institute. Her research in the energy humanities has a focus on visual culture. Together with Zeigam Azizov, she co-curated an international exhibition on ‘OilScapes’ held at Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen in 2012. Her publications in this area include work to define the concept of ‘extractive seeing’. She is currently working on a research monograph, ‘Curating Europe’s Oil’, which employs this idea to frame its exploration of the place of oil in twenty-first century cultural memory. She is also co-editing, with Graeme MacDonald, a Handbook of Energy Humanities for Routledge and is part of an international collaborative research project funded by the Swedish Research Council investigating Climate Imaginaries.
Jennifer Wenzel has been a regular participant in Petrocultures since 2012. Her 2006 article, “Petro-Magic-Realism: Towards a Political Ecology of Nigerian Literature,” helped pioneer the study of literature and oil. With Imre Szeman and Patricia Yaeger, she co-edited Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and Environment (Fordham, 2017). Trained as a scholar of African and South Asian literatures, she has brought a postcolonial perspective to the emergence of environmental and energy humanities. Her most recent monograph, The Disposition of Nature: Environmental Crisis and World Literature, was published by Fordham in 2019. With Imre Szeman, she is co-editing Energized: Keywords for a New Politics of Energy and Environment. She is jointly appointed in English and Comparative literature and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University.
Casey Williams is a doctoral candidate in the Program in Literature at Duke University. His work examines representations of climate change in U.S. media to better understand the social and cultural barriers to a just energy transition. With Michael Gaffney and Claire Ravenscroft, he co-edited a special issue of the journal Polygraph on “Marxism and Climate Change,” and his entry on “Energy Humanities” will appear in the updated Johns Hopkins Guide to Critical Theory and Cultural Studies. His public writing on topics ranging from energy transition to far-right climate politics to the South African labor movement has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Jewish Currents, In These Times, and elsewhere.
Daniel Worden is Associate Professor in the School of Individualized Study at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is the author of Neoliberal Nonfictions: The Documentary Aesthetic from Joan Didion to Jay-Z (University of Virginia Press, 2020) and the coeditor of Oil Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), among others. He is currently working on a project about the aesthetic, industrial, and material imbrications of the comics medium and energy cultures, from ink-stained woodblocks to intergalactic superheroes. His website is http://danielworden.com.
Nikoleta Zampaki is a PhD Candidate in Modern Greek Philology at the Faculty of Philology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece, an Instructor at OLLI, Furman University in U.S.A., and Junior Fellow at Universität Tübingen in Germany. She works in Comparative Literature, Environmental Humanities, Post Humanities, Literary Theory and the Phenomenology of M. Merleau-Ponty. She is editor and reviewer in several journals and a current member of ASLE U.S.A., The International Merleau–Ponty Circle, The International Ecolinguistics Association, BCLA, Posthumanism Research Institute at Brock University in Canada, Environmental Humanities Network at Warwick, etc. Her academic website is https://uoa.academia.edu/NikoletaZampaki.
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