Petrocultures reading course

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This course gives an introduction to the growing field of petro cultures literature. The past years have seen the emergence of new fields within the humanities prompted by the need for cross-disciplinary research in order to understand and tackle the challenges our societies are facing. One such field is energy humanities (Szeman et al. 2017). One central area of research that has emerged as part of this field focuses on oil and 'petro culture.' Central aspects of this research concern for example the effectiveness of oil, which makes it particularly addictive oil as an intrinsic part of the political and economic system, the cultural and material omnipresence of oil, and the historical roots of our oil "addiction". This research aims to reveal the role of oil as an underpinning force in global society, both culturally (i.e. as a hidden assumption in our popular culture narratives), materially (i.e. in plastic, medicine, cars, as a material basis of our consumer and media culture)and economically (i.e. as a major economic sector which, in turn, funds other sectors). In order to understand why our current system is so difficult to change, we need to acknowledge that oil is pervasive to our global society: We live in a petro culture. This reading course will examine the state-of-the-art of this strand of energy research. The cure consists of 6 seminars, with a reading list to be completed before each seminar. The students also write a reflection on the material for each seminar.

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Anna Åberg


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Anna Åberg, Susanna Lidström, Jens Millkrantz