Contesting Energy-Department of English - Carnegie Mellon University

Contesting Energy: Labor Culture and Politics

We invite you to a two-day symposium on the important ways in which energy, culture, labor and politics are interconnected. This event is sponsored by a seed grant from the Scott Institute and is part of the Scott Institute’s Energy Week programming. This event is also supported by the English and History departments at CMU.

Read more about this event.

Register here for Contesting Energy.

From Gasland to Promised Land: Hollywood and Hydraulic Fracturing
Thursday, March 30 - 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
CMU Cohon University Center - McKenna/Peter/Wright Rooms
Reception to follow from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the CUC Danforth Lounge.

During this roundtable a handful of film scholars and historians will consider the local, global, and racial implications of the emergence of Pittsburgh as an “Energy Capital.” Panelists will frame this conversation through two Pennsylvania-based films: the documentary Gasland, which follows director Josh Fox on a 24-state investigation of the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing, and the film Promised Land, a semi-fictional tale of two corporate salespeople who visit a rural town in an attempt to buy drilling rights from the local residents.
Vanessa Fabien, Africana Studies, Brown University
Jinying Li, Film Studies, University of Pittsburgh
Kathy M. Newman, English, Carnegie Mellon University
Richard Purcell, English, Carnegie Mellon University
Joel Tarr, History, Carnegie Mellon University

Featured Keynote: Timothy Mitchell
William B. Ransford Professor of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Students, Columbia University
"The Energy for Democracy"
Friday, March 31 - 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
CMU Cohon University Center, Rangos 3

Lunch is provided, but to attend this event you must be registered for the lunch through the Energy week website (link above). Register under the Thursday and Friday events titled "Contesting Energy."

Mobilizing Around Oil: The Promise and Peril of Petroleum Work in the Americas (Panel 1)
Friday, March 31 - 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
CMU Cohon University Center - McKenna/Peter/Wright Rooms

The petroleum industry almost always mobilizes people. Migrant workers inhabit boomtowns that often displace or marginalize local groups. Oil workers have also mobilized politically in order to gain greater control over their livelihoods. The twenty-first century has seen new forms of oppositional mobilizations in the form of transnational networks of indigenous and environmental groups. This panel offers historical and sociological perspectives on the people who work in and around oil fields in Latin America and Canada. 
John Soluri, History, Carnegie Mellon University
Sara Dorow, Sociology, University of Alberta
Myrna Santiago, History, St Mary’s College of California

Power and the People: Citizen Science and Understanding the Risks of Energy Production (Panel 2)
Friday, March 31 - 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
CMU Cohon University Center - McKenna/Peter/Wright Rooms

In the 21st century, the Internet and Internet connectable devices have given the public and social justice advocates unprecedented power to collect data on and broadcast information about risk. The speakers on this panel explore how these new technologies are shaping the public conversation about energy production and its consequences with special attention to how they contribute to social justice and the development of citizen-centered forms of communication.

James Wynn, English, Carnegie Mellon University
Sara Wylie, Health Sciences, Northeastern University
David Yoxtheimer, Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, Penn State University

Resource Histories: The Temporality of Energy Landscapes (Panel 3)
Friday, March 31 - 2:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
CMU Cohon University Center - McKenna/Peter/Wright Rooms

The threat of climate change has led many to reevaluate how we characterize humanity’s interactions with the environment. Moments that seem regional or particular take on new significance when we understand how they have added up to what now seems to be unavoidable environmental crisis. This panel addresses how we can foreground the role of energy in history to ask how and why we construct our energy narratives.

Jacob Goessling, English, Carnegie Mellon University
Brian C. Black, History, Penn State Altoona
Marah Nagelhout, English, recent CMU MA student