If you are interested in becoming a member of the Petrocultures research cluster, please contact Jordan Kinder or Sheena Wilson


Lynn Badia is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta in the Department of English and Film Studies.  Her research explores issues of representation and epistemology with respect to scientific knowledge and the natural world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  She is currently completing her book manuscript, Imagining Free Energy: Fantasies, Utopias, and Critiques of America, which argues that speculation about free or unlimited energy has operated as a critical framework for imagining the future of human society during the Anthropocene.

Jeff Diamanti is a postdoctoral fellow in “Energy / Materialism / Infrastructure” with the Petrocultures Research Group, and is the co-editor of Contemporary Marxist Theory on Bloomsbury Press, as well as the forthcoming collections on Marxism and Energy for MCM Prime Press, and the Bloomsbury Companion to Marx for Bloomsbury. He is currently preparing a monograph titled Capital and Energy that maps the mediations of economic growth and energy deepening in the long 20th century.

Jon Gordon teaches Writing Studies at the University of Alberta and at Athabasca University. He has also taught English and Writing Studies courses at The University of Western Ontario, Maskwachees Cultural College, and The King’s University. His interest in petrocultures developed out of his study of representations of community in Alberta literature for his dissertation. Thinking about questions of community in relation to representations of Fort McMurray and Alberta’s bituminous sands has led to several articles as well as the monograph Unsustainable Oil: Facts, Counterfacts and Fictions (University of Alberta Press, 2015), which looks at how facts about bitumen extraction are linked to counterfacts—ideas, often implicit, about the future that extraction will create. Unsustainable Oil adds counterfactuals—the symbolic, imagined, and fictional sub-texts of bitumen narratives—to the debate.

David Kahane is a Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. His research and activism focus on citizen participation in climate policy making and energy/climate action. He leads Alberta Climate Dialogue (ABCD), a SSHRC-funded community-university research partnership that has convened citizens in Alberta to deliberate on climate change policy. This work included developing the Citizens’ Panel on Edmonton’s Energy and Climate Challenges, which met for six days in 2012; recommendations from the Panel fed into Edmonton’s Energy Transition Strategy, passed by Council in April 2015. At the moment, his research focuses on understanding the impact (or lack of impact) of innovative citizen involvement processes given the complex democratic ecosystems in which they reside.

Jordan B. Kinder is a SSHRC-supported doctoral student in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. His research examines the intersections between the cultural politics of oil and new media, as well as critical theory, environmental studies, and radical political theory more generally.

Hereward Longley is a doctoral student in the Department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta. Hereward’s research assesses the political and economic development of the oil sands industry against the social and economic impacts of development on nature and Indigenous peoples. Using theoretical insights and methods from environmental history, political ecology, and Indigenous history, Hereward is examining how landscapes and Indigenous communities have been changed by bitumen extraction since 1970, and how late 20th century social and environmental change has influenced resource extraction conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, government, and extractive industry in the Athabasca region. Hereward works as an Indigenous land use and historical research specialist with Willow Springs Strategic Solutions Inc., a social science, environmental and management consulting company that specializes in community capacity-building in resource-development zones. Hereward holds a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, the Roger Soderstrom Doctoral Scholarship, and the J. W. Pickersgill Doctoral Fellowship.

Mike O’Driscoll is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, where he is also Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Arts and Co-Editor of ESC: English Studies in Canada. He teaches and publishes in the fields of critical and cultural theories with a particular emphasis on deconstruction and psychoanalysis, and his expertise in 20th Century American Literature focuses on poetry and poetics. His publications include an edition of Jackson Mac Low’s The Complete Light Poems; After Poststructuralism: Writing the Intellectual History of Theory; The Event of the Archive; First Impressions: The Fledgling Years of the Black Sparrow Press, 1966-1970 (winner of the American Library Association’s Leab Award), and A Bibliography of the Black Sparrow Press. He has published widely in journals such as Modernism/modernity, Contemporary Literature, Studies in the Literary Imagination, and Mosaic.

Sina Rahmani is Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta. He recently completed his PhD in the Department of Comparative Literature at UCLA. His current research examines the link between the rise of the refugee problem and the postwar history of containerization.

Mark Simpson teaches US American Studies at the University of Alberta. His work takes up the politics of mobility in modern life. “After Oil” will provide him the opportunity to examine the significance of energy as substance and concept in historical and contemporary struggles over mobility as a social and political resource — and, more importantly, to collaborate on new modes of knowing and doing that can break through our current energy impasse.

Imre Szeman is Canada Research Chair of Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. He is the co-director of the Petrocultures Research Group and director of the collaborative group research project, After Oil: Explorations and Experiments in the Future of Energy, Culture and Society. His forthcoming books on energy in contemporary culture and society include On Empty: The Cultural Politics of Oil, and the edited volumes Fueling Culture: Energy, History, Politics and Petrocultures: Oil, Energy, Culture. A translated collection of his essays is being published later this year in Chinese under the title, Globalization, Culture, Energy: Selected Essays, 2000-2013.

Carolyn Veldstra is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. She completed her PhD in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University where her dissertation focused on understanding cynicism’s function as both affect and politics in terms of neoliberal subject formation. Most recently, she co-edited a special issue of the journal Comedy Studies called “You Can’t Be Serious,” looking at the role of discourses of seriousness and unseriousness in a variety of humorous forms. Currently, Carolyn is working on two book length projects, one articulating her  understanding of cynicism and its function in relation to feelings of subjective  impasse and a second considering an affective sense immobility in the context of precarious work.

Sheena Wilson is a professor of cultural studies and co-director of the Petrocultures Research Group (petrocultures.com) at the University of Alberta. For the last decade her work has focused on the cultural politics of oil, along with critical readings of human rights, as we collectively imagine new ways of being in relationship to energy and the environment. In the fall of 2012 she co-hosted the first international conference on the cultural impacts of oil, called Petrocultures: Oil, Energy, Culture.  Publication highlights include Sighting Oil (2012) and her ongoing work as Editor-in-Chief of the SSHRC-funded journal Imaginations: Journal of Cross Cultural Image Studies. Her scholarly monograph in progress is titled Crude Intersectionalities.

Darin Barney is the Grierson Chair in Technology & Citizenship, and Associate Professor of Communication Studies at McGill University. He earned a PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto. He is the author of Communication Technology: The Canadian Democratic Audit (UBC Press: 2005); The Network Society (Polity Press: 2004); and Prometheus Wired: The Hope for Democracy in the Age of Network Technology (UBC/Chicago 2000). His work focuses on the relationship between technology and political judgment and action, with a specific focus on the politics of resource infrastructure in Canada, including current projects on the transformation of grain-handling technology in the Canadian prairies and the politics of petroleum and gas pipelines in the Pacific Northwest.

Ross Barrett is a scholar of American art and visual culture from the colonial period to the early twentieth century. His research and teaching explore the ways that fine artists navigated the political, economic, and cultural transformations that gave rise to American modernity, including the emergence of liberal democracy, the development of industrial and finance capitalism, and the explosive growth of popular culture. He is the author of Rendering Violence: Riots, Strikes, and Upheaval in Nineteenth-Century American Art (California, 2014), and co-editor, with Daniel Worden, of Oil Culture (Minnesota, 2014). He is currently at work on a book-length project on American artists who painted landscapes and speculated on land in the long nineteenth century. He is the recipient of several grants and awards, including the Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize and NCSA Emerging Scholars Award, and has published essays in The Art Bulletin, American Art, Winterthur Portfolio, Journal of American Studies, and Prospects.

Ruth Beer is an artist and researcher who is interested in interdisciplinary approaches to artistic practice. Her artwork that includes sculpture, video, photography and interactive projections has been presented in national and international exhibitions. She is the recipient of several major Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grants for research-creation projects including Trading Routes: Grease Trails, Oil Pipelines (2013-2017, Beer PI) that seeks to promote dialogue and exchange through artistic production to address the complex cultural and ecological impacts related to the expansion of natural resource extraction industries in the contested terrain of Canada’s Northwest. She holds the position of Professor of Visual Art and is the Assistant Dean of Research in the Faculty of Visual Art and Material Practice at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Brent Ryan Bellamy is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at Memorial University. He works on U.S. culture, science fiction, and the energy humanities. He is co-editor, with Jeff Diamanti, of the collection, Marxism and Energy, forthcoming from MCMPrime Press. You can read his work in Mediations, Paradoxa in the recent essay collection Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction, and in the forthcoming collection Fueling Culture: History, Energy, Politics. He is currently conducting research for a book length project on genre, energy regimes, and literary history. He is the web editor of the open accesss journal Imaginations and you can follow his ongoing research at www.brentryanbellamy.com.

Ursula Biemann’s video research has performed a migration from a place of deep involvement with the condition of contested zones of mobility, toward the intersection of these spaces with the extraction and circulation of natural resources. In theory we are aware of the fact that various trajectories of people, capital, information and other resources converge, but these intersections are rarely addressed in art and video works. Her aesthetic interventions explore these hybrid ecologies, taking a particular interest in the coalescence of liquid resources and other organic, social and technological elements. She has produced a considerable body of work on migration, transnationalism, technology and gender. Her curator of research and exhibition projects on contemporary geographies of mobility include The Maghreb Connection (2006), Sahara Chronicle (2006-2009), and the collaborative media platform, Supply Lines (2012). Her books include Stuff It – the video essay in the digital age; Geography and the Politics of Mobility (2003) and Mission Reports (2008), a monograph of her video works.

Dominic Boyer is Professor of Anthropology at Rice University and Founding Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences (CENHS, culturesofenergy.org), the first research center in the world designed specifically to promote research on the energy/environment nexus in the arts, humanities and social sciences. He is part of the editorial collective of the journal Cultural Anthropology (2015-2018) and also edits the Expertise: Cultures and Technologies of Knowledge book series for Cornell University Press. His most recent book is The Life Informatic: Newsmaking in the Digital Era (Cornell University Press, 2013). With James Faubion and George Marcus, he has recently edited, Theory can be more than it used to be (forthcoming, Cornell University Press) and with Imre Szeman is preparing Energy Humanities: A Reader for Johns Hopkins University Press. His next book project is a collaborative multimedia duograph with Cymene Howe, which will explore the energopolitical complexities of wind power development in Southern Mexico.

Matt Brennan is Chancellor’s Fellow of Music at the University of Edinburgh. He specialises in the interdisciplinary field of popular music studies, and has served as Chair of the UK and Ireland branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM). He is Principal Investigator on the AHRC project “Fields of Green: Addressing Sustainability and Climate Change through Music Festival Communities” and co-director of the Live Music Exchange.

Ann Chen is an artist, photographer and interaction designer from New York. She received her BA from Wesleyan University and an MPS from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). Her work has been supported by Recess, 92nd Street Y Tribeca, NYU Gallatin Galleries and The New Museum. She has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship, a Green Grant from the Office of Sustainability at NYU, NYU Tisch School of the Arts Fellowship, Fantasy Fountain Fund, and Wesleyan University’s Center for Humanities Fellowship. She was a former Executive Director of Triangle Arts Association and is involved with the following collectives and organizations: Nomadic Department of the Interior (NDOI) and Public Lab. This fall, she will be a Collaborative Productions Fellow at UnionDocs in Brooklyn, NY.

Rick Crownshaw teaches in the Department of English and Comparative Literature, Goldsmiths, University of London. He is currently working on a monograph-length project entitled American Fiction and the Anthropocene, which includes work on literary engagements with American petrocultures and their global reach.

Mona Damluji is a doctoral candidate in Architecture at the University of California Berkeley. Her dissertation examines the intersecting histories of oil, urbanism and cinema in Iraq and Iran during the mid-twentieth century. Her publications on this research include forthcoming articles in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (2013), and a forthcoming collection on Oil Talk. Her future research will continue historical and critical analyses of petroleum company film units in the Middle East during the twentieth century, with a focus on British Petroleum and ARAMCO documentaries.

Heather Davis is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University where she is currently working on a project which traces the ethology of plastic. She is the author of numerous articles and the editor of Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environment and Epistemology (Open Humanities Press, forthcoming 2015). Her writing can be found at heathermdavis.com.

Danine Farquharson (Associate Professor in English) works in partnership with Fiona Polack at Memorial University on Cold Water Oil – a multidisciplinary research project that contributes to the field of cultural studies of energy. We are examining how the North Atlantic offshore oil and gas industry is imagined in a wide range of high and popular contexts – everything from oil company websites, to government-sponsored documentaries to literary fiction. Of particular interest are texts that address, question, and explore both the contemporary affects and the historical resonances of the North Atlantic offshore oil industry on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and other Northern areas of energy extraction such as Norway, Scotland, and Ireland. Together, they are hosting Petrocultures 2016 from 31 August to 3 September, 2016.

Elysia French is a PhD candidate (ABD) and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Art History at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Her dissertation explores the visual culture of environmentalism. In it, she examines the development of the Alberta Oil Sands, with a focus on the concept of environmental knowledge and justice as it takes shape in visual debate through contemporary art, mass media and activism. Her research interests include eco-aesthetics and contemporary environmental art, the visual culture of climate change, the visual culture of oil, the affective aspects of environmental activism and the traditions and trajectories of Canadian art history. French also maintains an independent curatorial practice, with recent projects including the 2014-15 exhibition “I hope humanity…” at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. This show of contemporary art explored global environmental struggles through explicit references to humanity’s impositions on the earth in relation to the concept of hope.

Rania Ghosn is Assistant Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Architecture + Planning and partner of Design Earth. Her work examines the urban condition at the scale of the territory to open up a range of aesthetic and political concerns for design research. Ghosn is a recognized scholar on the relations of energy and space. She is editor of New Geographies 2: Landscapes of Energy (Cambridge: Harvard GSD, 2010), which spatializes the relations of energy and space mapping in particular the physical, social, and representational geographies of oil. Her current book project, Geographies of Oil across the Middle East: The Trans-Arabian Pipeline, traces the biography of a transnational oil transport infrastructure to document territorial transformations associated with the region’s incorporation into a global fossil fuel economy. On matters of energy infrastructures, some of her recent publications include: Energy Regions: Production without Representation (2014), Hassi Messaoud Oil Urbanism (2014), Where Are the Missing Spaces (2012), Soft Energy Controversy (2012).

Randolph Haluza-DeLay is a sociology professor at The King’s University in Edmonton. He has published over 40 academic journal articles and book chapters, and writes occasionally for magazines and newspapers. He has co-edited two books: Speaking for Ourselves: Environmental Justice in Canada which was published by The University of British Columbia Press in 2009, and the recently released How the World’s Religions are Responding to Climate Change: Social Science Investigations (Routledge, 2013). He has had an active research programme on social movement opposition to the oilsands, resulting in several book chapters and two journal articles. As a citizen, he is active in local sustainability initiatives, peace and anti-racism initiatives, and interfaith dialogue. Some of these are available at http://kingsu.academia.edu/RandolphHaluzaDeLay.

Rachel Havrelock is Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of River Jordan: The Mythology of a Dividing Line (University of Chicago Press, 2011).  Her current research concerns the parallels and potential variant outcomes of oil and water pipelines.  The pipelines in question are the Iraq Petroleum Company (a forerunner of BP) oil pipeline that conveyed crude oil from Kirkuk to Haifa from 1935-1948 and Israel’s National Water Carrier and “peace pipelines” with the Kingdom of Jordan. Rachel is the founder of The UIC Freshwater Lab for Water Policy and Diplomacy and has begun examination of oil sands pipelines from Alberta to the Whiting, Indiana BP refinery and their impact on fresh water sources.  How might a fresh water based economy in the Great Lakes region balance or transform current practices of oil extraction, transport, and processing?

Olivia Heaney is a PhD Candidate and Course Lecturer in the Department of English at McGill University. Her dissertation uses approaches from ecocriticism and petroculture to explore the ways contemporary Canadian film and theatre have responded to cultural and economic precarity.

Peter Hitchcock‘s work features Marxist and materialist analyses of culture, in the case of oil, specifically commodity cultural critique.  This work is part of series of case studies, on coffee, water, and athletic shoes, in which I attempt to measure the ways in which the commodity and commodification subvert the precepts of material(ist) engagement.  His essay for New Formations, “Oil in the American Imaginary” theorized the links between and among cultural expressions and the somewhat truncated American Century.  His work for the collection Oil Talk, “Velocity and Viscosity” is perhaps more philosophical in nature but tracks the imbrication of key conceptual categories and a certain inertia in oil economies.  His critique for Petrocultures is about the cultural logic of BP whose energy ideology provides some pertinent and provocative lessons for counter discourse.  Overall the aim is to pick away at a resource rationale that leaves us free to endlessly describe but places severe limits on paradigms of formation and transformation.  His books include, Dialogics of the Oppressed, Oscillate Wildly, Imaginary States, and The Long Space.

Cymene Howe is Associate Professor of Anthropology and core faculty in the Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences at Rice University. She is the author of Intimate Activism: The Struggle for Sexual Rights in Postrevolutionary Nicaragua (Duke 2013) and her research is broadly concerned with questions of rights, ethics, materials and movements. Recent projects have included collections centered on ethnographic approaches to “Life Above Earth,” the temporal provocations of “No Future,” and climate change in Latin America. Her second major research project and forthcoming book with Cornell University Press is entitled Ecologics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene. This work analyzes renewable energy transitions in Mexico and explores the overlapping conversations between feminist and queer theory, new materialisms, multispecies ethnography, ontologies, ethics and imaginaries of the future in the Anthropocene.

David Hughes is professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University. He is currently finishing a book manuscript entitled “Energy without conscience: oil, climate change, and complicity.”  Using Trinidad and Tobago as a case study, the book asks: How does it feel to change the climate?  This question seems more absurd than impolite.  It implies a chain of causation and responsibility that still remains invisible and mostly unacknowledged.   Some dispute the science and scenarios of climate change.  But explicit denial is less widespread than silence and disregard.  The bulk of informed citizens simply don’t care a great deal about carbon emissions and their consequences.  Menacing as it increasingly is, climate change has yet to become a moral issue. “Energy without conscience” seeks to explain this persistent banality.  The ethnography focuses on these dispositions and discourses that obscure responsibility for carbon emissions among those most responsible – technicians in the fossil fuel business itself.

Bob Johnson is a cultural critic and environmental historian.  His publications on energy include a recent book, Carbon Nation, and a few forthcoming articles, including a piece on the eroticism of fossil fuels in the hot yoga studio and on the ecology of production in the early whale oil industry.  He teaches as an Associate Professor of History at National University in La Jolla, California.  His personal website can be found at www.carbonchronicles.org.

Rebecca Lawton is the author of seven books, including the WILLA Award-winning novel, Junction, Utah, about domestic oil, foreign war, and Western rivers. Her second novel, 49 North, supported by a 2014 Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at the University of Alberta, explores Canadian tar sands, water quality, and North American drought. She has received the Ellen Meloy Fund Award for Desert Writers, the Waterston Desert Writing Prize, Pushcart Prize nominations in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and residencies at Hedgebrook, The Island Institute, and Playa Residency Program for Creative Individuals. Her work has been published in Aeon, Brevity, Orion, The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, Shenandoah, Sierra, and many other journals. For many years she was Director of Research for a publicly funded research, restoration, and education organization in northern California, where she founded, built, and oversaw a U.S. EPA-approved laboratory for monitoring stream water quality and quantity. One of the first women guides on Western whitewater, she was an oarswoman on the Colorado in Grand Canyon and other rivers for fourteen seasons. She has served on the Board of Directors of Friends of the River and currently is as an external advisor for the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Program at Sonoma State University.

Lianne Lefsrud is an Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering.  She uses mixed methods to study how institutional and new venture entrepreneurs use persuasive language and imagery to shape our conceptions of technology, the environment, and regulation.  Her dissertation is an extended case study from 1960 to 2011 of the Alberta oil sands, using network analysis to visualize evolving vocabularies and rhetorical analysis of actors’ shifting discussion from technical, economic meanings to morally transcendent values. Most recently, Lianne was a Dow Sustainability Postdoctoral Fellow with the Erb Institute, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.  She received her PhD in Strategic Management and Organization, interdisciplinary MSc in Environmental Engineering and Sociology, and BSc in Civil Engineering from the University of Alberta. She also spent several years as a regulator of engineering/geoscience and worked for a railroad, an oil and gas company, and environmental consultancies.  (website: http://liannelefsrud.com/) 

Stephanie LeMenager is Barbara and Carlisle Moore Professor of English and Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon. She is author of Living Oil: Petroleum Culture in the American Century (Oxford, 2014), Manifest and Other Destinies (Nebraska, 2005), and co-editor of Environmental Criticism for the Twenty-First Century (Routledge, 2011), Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities (Nebraska, ongoing), and the forthcoming Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities (Routledge). Professor LeMenager is currently working a projects involving oil and coal trains in the Pacific Northwest, an exhibition catalogue piece responding to the work of Zina Saro-Wiwa, and a book titled Weathering: Toward a Sustainable Humanities.

Andriko Lozowy is a photographer-researcher (2013, Lozowy) currently considering the Canadian Oil Sands through, a sociology of images, photo-methodologies, and collaborative youth practices of resistance. Andriko is currently teaching Sociology at Keyano College, in Fort McMurray. Recent publications include; 2015. Shields, Lozowy. Mashup: New Representations of the City, Theory Culture & Society. 2014. Lozowy. Picturing Industrial Landscapes, Space & Culture. 2013. Lozowy, Shields & Dorow. Where is Fort McMurray? The Camera As a Tool for Assembling “Community.” Canadian Journal of Sociology. 2012. Patchett & Lozowy. Reframing The Canadian Oil Sands. Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies.

Graeme Macdonald is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick, UK, where he teaches modern and contemporary literature and drama and critical and cultural theory. He has authored various articles and essays on nineteenth to twenty-first century literature and culture, and is editor of Post-Theory: New Directions in Criticism (1999) and Scottish Literature and Postcolonial Literature (2011). He has recently edited and introduced a new edition of John McGrath’s 1973 play The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil (2015), and is part of the Warwick Research Collective (WreC), who have just published a collective monograph, Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature (2015). He has published articles on Oil, Energy Resources and Culture, the most recent an article on SF, Energy and Future Fuel, in Paradoxa: SF Now (2015). He teaches a graduate class on Petrofiction and is at present engaged on a monograph project on Oil and World Literature.

Negar Mottahedeh is Associate Professor in Literature and Women’s Studies at Duke University. She is the author of Displaced Allegories: Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema (2008) and Representing the Unpresentable: Historical Images of National Reform from the Qajars to the Islamic Republic of Iran (2008). Her forthcoming book is entitled #iranelection: Hashtag Solidarity and the Transformation of Online Life (2015).

Swaralipi Nandi is an Assistant professor of English at Loyola Academy, Hyderabad. She has a PhD in English from Kent State University, USA with a research focus on postcolonial literature in the era of neoliberal globalization, mostly concerning the issues of environment and the violence of global capitalism in South Asia. She is currently working on energy regimes of India, particularly studying the trajectory of coal in India’s colonial past through vernacular Indian literature and art, and investigating India’s energy modernities through the cultural imaginary of oil in contemporary creative works. She is currently co-editing a volume of critical essays on postcolonial petro-fictions titled Oil Fictions : World Literature and our contemporary Petrosphere that seeks to explore petrocultures of the global South.

Erin Obodiac received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of
California, Irvine and has held teaching and research appointments at UC Irvine, the
University of Leeds, SUNY Albany, and Cornell University. Her writings assemble
residual questions from the deconstructive legacy with emergent discourses on technics
and animality, media ecology, and machinic subjectivity. She is currently a Visiting
Scholar at Cornell University, completing a book called The Transhuman Interface,
which repositions critical theory and deconstruction within the history of cybernetics and machinic life. The Transhuman Interface is a result of the research project “Robots at Risk: Transgenic Art and Corporate Personhood,” which Obodiac began as a Fellow at Cornell’s Society for the Humanities. The project and the accompanying book manuscript examine contemporary theories of machinic life and robotics as well as the philosophical traditions that underpin them.

Damilola Olawuyi is a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford. He is currently a University Research Fellow at the Consortium for Peace Studies, University of Calgary. His research interests cut across an examination of the international dimensions of resource driven violence, oil driven conflicts and war. He explores the linkages between natural resources and environmental insecurity, with focus on the manifestations of natural resource course dilemmas and the Dutch disease conundrum in resource based countries.  He also examines paradigms for the resolution of resource driven conflicts as well as post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation. Damilola has practiced law in Nigeria, United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. He is the author of two books and several journal articles in the area of natural resources, energy and international environmental law.

Karen Pinkus researches and teaches about climate change, among other areas. Her forthcoming book, Fuel (University of Minnesota Press) is an idiosyncratic dictionary of fuels (both real, including oil, and imaginary). It uses critical theory to think about fuels as separate from energy in an attempt to open up new grids, new relations with substances that are fossil-based and not. She also contributed to the anthology Fueling Culture with the entry “risk.” She has published widely on issues around petrocultures.

Marcelina Piotrowski is a PhD Student at the Centre for Cross-Faculty Inquiry in Education (CCFI) at the University of British Columbia. She conducts research in the area of cultural and media studies, political theory, and environmental pedagogy.  Marcelina has a Master of Arts in Communication and Culture from York University. Her thesis examined the aesthetics of multimodal documentary film storytelling in portraying environmental issues, particularly by examining the work of Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky. Her current research is on how new media contribute to the conditions of political pedagogy of engagement in environmental issues of oil in British Columbia. Her research is focused on how online news coverage and documentary videos on YouTube on the proposed Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipeline projects are an inquiry into more than environmental framing and symbolism. Environmental issue representation also teaches about legitimized and available political subjectivities which contextualize how people engage in these topics, or whether they do at all. Her study examines the way oil identities are assembled and how environmentally concerned citizens practice a Foucauldian ‘care of the self’ by engaging in new media.

Penelope Plaza-Azuaje: I received my Architecture degree from Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela, in 1997. In 2005 I was awarded the Shell Centenary Fund Scholarship to complete an MPhil in Latin American Studies at University of Cambridge. I am currently pursuing a PhD in Cultural Policy and Management at City University London. My research project titled “The power of oil and the construction of public space in Caracas in Bolivarian Venezuela” focuses on the relationship between oil, the state, and public space in Venezuela. I am also founding member of the Venezuela Research Network, which aims to bring together scholars from a range of institutions, disciplines, and political perspectives who are engaged in research on Venezuela.

Fiona Polack is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Memorial University. Her current research focuses on cultural constructions of the oil industry, and is informed by her background in post-colonial and island studies. Along with colleague Danine Farquharson, she is presently working on “Cold Water Oil.” This project investigates how the North Atlantic offshore oil and gas industry is imagined in a wide range of high and popular contexts – everything from oil company websites, to government-sponsored documentaries to literary fiction. Of particular interest are texts that address, question, and explore both the contemporary affects and the historical resonances of the North Atlantic offshore oil industry on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and other Northern areas of energy extraction such as Norway, Scotland, and Ireland. Fiona Polack and Danine Farquharson are hosting Petrocultures 2016 in St. John’s from 31 August-3 September, 2016.

Emily Roehl is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and the co-founder of Mystery Spot Books, an independent artist book publisher based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is currently at work on a dissertation that analyzes representations of contemporary oil extraction in five sites running from upstream to down in the material life of oil—Alberta, North Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, and Louisiana—and from a variety of perspectives, including those of industry representatives, artists, and activists. She received her Master of Arts in English and American Literature from Mills College in Oakland, California, where she produced an interdisciplinary reading series that featured the work of fiction and poetry writers, dancers, sound artists, book makers, and literary scholars. Her work with Mystery Spot Books has been exhibited internationally and is held by a number of artist publication collecting institutions, including Printed Matter, the New York Public Library, and the Los Angeles Contemporary Archive. In addition to her scholarly and artistic work, she is the co-director of social media initiatives for the Department of American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

Jackie Seidel is an Associate Professor in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary. Her scholarly commitments include ecological and contemplative pedagogies, and exploring teachers’ existential experiences with ecological crisis. In collaboration with teachers she inquires into classroom practices that disentangle the schooling project not only from its ‘oily’ inheritances, but in ways that enable awakening to the ways that schools remain largely under the industrial and colonial shadow thus rendering the institution highly resistant to change. The ‘progress’-oriented future towards which much curriculum claims to educate the young is being increasingly revealed as impossible fantasy, even while a dominant and monocultural image of schooling is being globally reproduced to foster a particular and problematic set of values, lifestyle and ecological footprint that is a very real threat to planetary ecological and human biolinguistic/cultural diversity. This work with teachers seeks to provide material examples of attempts and possibilities of doing schooling “otherwise”.

Janet Stewart is Professor in Visual Culture and German at Durham University, where she directs the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture. She is the author of two monographs, Fashioning Vienna: Adolf Loos’s Cultural Criticism (2000) and Public Speaking in the City (2009). Her current research project, ‘Curating Europe’s Oil’ develops her interests in modernity and visual culture in a new context, exploring the role that oil plays in twenty-first century cultural memory. She is a member of the Durham Energy Institute and of the European Oil and Gas Archivists Network, and serves on the Advisory Board of Capturing the Energy, a multi-partner initiative to document Scotland’s energy history.

Anne Szefer Karlsen is a curator and writer. She was Director of Hordaland Art Centre in Bergen, Norway (2008-14). In addition to series of exhibitions and seminars for the Hordaland Art Centre, as well as further developing its residency programme, she has curated exhibitions for other art spaces and is teaching/lecturing in formal and informal education. She has commissioned several works by artists; such as Toril Johannessen (NO), Pedro Gómez-Egaña (CO/NO), HC Gilje (NO), Elsebeth Jørgensen (DK), and during her time at Hordaland Art Centre she introduced artists such as Omer Fast (US), Renata Lucas (BR), Len Lye (NZ), Maarten Vanden Eynde (BE) and Imre Bukta (HU) by curating their first solo exhibitions in Norway. Exhibitions curated and publication projects edited by Szefer Karlsen will generally host an international roster of artists and other contributors

Josephine Taylor is a PhD Candidate at Royal Holloway University of London, funded by the School of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Her thesis is titled Petro-Consciousness and Feminist Creaturely Energy Transitions. The research puts petrocultures in conversation with feminism and animal studies in order to understand the structural systems underpinning a contemporary culture, which, despite the environmental dangers, is clearly addicted to the use of fossil fuels. In order to critique the oil social imaginary which naturalises oil culture as a way of life, I turn to Anat Pick’s Creaturely Poetics with her focus on the Philosophy of Simone Weil. This perspective invites the question how creaturely thinking can be used to critique oil culture and instead encourage a transition to more sustainable practices.

Michael Truscello is an Associate Professor in English at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. His research interests include the poetics and politics of infrastructure, anarchism and technology, and communication and cultural studies. Currently, he is working on two book-length projects: a study of art, infrastructure, and the new materialism; and a genealogy of destruction in the anarchist tradition.

Heather M. Turcotte (Ph.D. University of California, Santa Cruz) is committed to anti-oppressive transnational feminist approaches to decolonizing academia, the interstate system and daily exchange.  She is an assistant professor in Crime and Justice Studies at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and is an associate editor at The Feminist Wire (www.thefeministwire.com).  Her interdisciplinary research and teaching is located in the historical intersections of Africana and American studies, critical legal and justice studies, feminist studies and critical geopolitics.  Dr. Turcotte’s writing focuses on the transnational criminalization of gender, the politics of violence—particularly the linkages of petroleum and sexual violence—and collective frameworks for justice and abolition. Her manuscript Petro-Sexual Politics: US Legal Expansions, Geographies of Violence and the Critique of Justice is under contract with the University of Georgia Press in the Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation Series.  More of Dr. Turcotte’s work can be found on academia.edu at: https://umassd.academia.edu/HeatherMTurcotte.

Ila Tyagi is a Ph.D. candidate in Film and Media Studies and American Studies at Yale University. Her dissertation, Extending the Eye: The American Oil Industry in Moving Images, examines industrial image-making technologies that overcome the challenges to visibility posed by the oil enterprise’s inaccessibility, structural complexity, and spatiotemporal scale. The project covers a wide range of images drawn from early cinema, Classical Hollywood films, sponsored educational movies, documentaries, live television streams, and digital oilfield maps. It contributes to growing recent scholarship on energy culture, as well as building on longer traditions of work on ocularcentric modernism and the porous boundary between man and machine.

Mickey Vallee is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Lethbridge. He researches cultural theory, popular music studies, and currently is turning his  attention towards petroculture. He has published in such journals as Autralasian Canadian Studies, The Journal of Historical Sociology, Popular Music and Society, Cultural Politics, and the edited anthology, Ecologies of Affect (WLU Press). He is currently editing a glossary of terms by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (Red Quill Books) and writing a book on the moral regulation of rock and roll (Continuum). His current interest in petroculture focuses on the governance of dissent, the national construction of radicalism, and the possibility for reconceptualizing Canadian oil culture through the deployment of conceptual developments in new materialism and queer ecologies.

Aaron Veldstra is a multidisciplinary artist interested by themes of industrial impact on the environment as well as resource use as it relates to sustainability. He is currently an MFA candidate in the Intermedia/Drawing department of the Faculty of Art & Design at the University of Alberta, and is scheduled to defend his thesis June 16, 2015.

Dr. Barret Weber received his Ph.D. in sociology at University of Alberta in 2013. He wrote his dissertation on the political development of the Canadian north with a focus on Inuit self-determination social movements in the Canadian eastern Arctic since the Second World War. His interdisciplinary research and extensive teaching experience spans the boundaries of political geography, economy and social theory. He is now a research manager with the Parkland Institute where he aims to produce non-partisan research to foster the common good in Albertan and Canadian society.

Caleb Wellum is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Toronto. His dissertation examines the relationship between futurity, ecology, and neoliberalism in U.S. political culture during the energy crises of the 1970s. In particular, his work considers how the energy crisis reshaped environmental discourse by simultaneously rendering more acute its apocalyptic imaginary and undermining the perceived capacity of the state to manage an energy transition. The energy crisis, thus, created a cultural space in which anti-state, apocalyptic futurity thrived alongside efforts to create disciplined, conserving subjectivities conditioned to accept the necessity of cyclical crises and the purported efficiencies of oil futures markets.

Daniel Worden is currently Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of New Mexico, where he will be Assistant Professor starting in Fall 2012. He is the author of Masculine Style: The American West and Literary Modernism, and he has recently edited, with Ross Barrett, Oil Culture, a special issue of the Journal of American Studies that will be published in May 2012. His essay on oil’s ties to futurity in Giant, Dallas, and There Will Be Blood will appear in the special issue. He is currently at work on a new book project that analyzes the aesthetics and politics of literary non-fiction in the twentieth-century United States, and as a part of that project, he is developing an account of the tropes, narratives, and devices that journalists have used to represent the oil industry.

Nikoleta Zampaki is a PhD Candidate of Modern Greek Philology in the Department of Philology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. Her research areas focus on Modern Greek Poetry and American Poetry (19th-20th ce.), comparative philology and literature, environmental humanities (ecocriticism, ecopoetics, metabolic poetics etc.), feminist and perception literary theories, philosophy and modern philosophy of H.G. Gadamer, literary genres, translation, literature and painting.