For decades, global consensus has been growing regarding the need for a transition toward fossil-fuel free energy production. The demands to halt new leases, pipelines, and drilling projects are clear, as are the demands by activists and impacted communities to redirect financing, prioritize the investment in clean renewables, and mitigate environmental impact.
What can be said of the consensus about the labor and land use which have formed the basis of global capitalist modernity? How might an energy transition challenge or entrench the histories of extraction and exploitation that has given rise to American empire? How do we imagine equitable and sustainable futures in the era of climate crisis? What forms of energy will humans consume and where will resources be developed? Where will agricultural products be grown and how will the non-human be treated? What forms of territorial governance will be just? And who will control the land and the labor which works it?
We invite junior scholars, especially graduate students and PhD candidates, working on American History and critical geographies of empire, extraction, and the environment to gather new scholarship in dialogue for a symposium to be held at Swift Hall Commons at The University of Chicago Divinity School on April 5, 2024. It is with thanks to the generous support of the Shapiro Initiative on Environment and Society (SIES) that we will be able to provide accommodations and cover the costs of travel to and from The University of Chicago for selected panelists and, thanks to the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture, our keynote speaker (to be announced).
To submit a proposal please send a 500-word abstract and CV to symposium organizers by December 8, 2023. We particularly welcome papers that will do one or more of the following:
- Forge critical openings for understanding the past and present of extraction and land use, mass animal life and death, factory farms, or labor regimes.
- Connect energy production and securitization to transnational contexts, especially those impacting migration, human rights, and the US-Mexico border.
- Address environmental justice, racial capitalism, settler colonialism, and/or the rights of Indigenous peoples and sovereignty of Indigenous nations.
- Center themes at the intersection of the environment, resource control, law and governance, urban hyper-policing, and Black geographies of resistance.
- Reflect on sources, methodologies, and analytical frameworks which yield vital approaches to environmental emergency and its consequences.