Energy Humanities Working Group

Energy Humanities Working Group

Deadline: Rolling

Call for Participants: Energy Humanities Working Group

Scientists, engineers, policymakers, and activists are grappling with anthropogenic climate change and generating solutions to halt its progress. But humans’ relationships with energy and the environment are also important. Energy and its uses are deeply embedded in our lived experiences, relationships, identities, understandings, and narratives. Proposed changes in energy systems and practices must take these factors into account.

The Duke University Energy Initiative and the Franklin Humanities Institute invite faculty and graduate students from all disciplines to join an interdisciplinary community of scholars interested in exploring energy through the lens of the humanities. This working group will explore the emerging field of Energy Humanities through monthly discussions of shared readings and conversations with authors. 

Questions to be examined may include (but are not limited to):

  • How do the forms of energy a society harnesses (and the means by which it does so) shape the environment, social relations, cultural practices, and humans’ relationships to their bodies, to space, and to time? 
  • In the words of Imre Sizeman and Dominic Boyer, how have the fossil fuels that undergirded modernity for the past two centuries “pumped and seeped into the groundwaters of politics, culture, institutions, and knowledge in unexpected ways?”
  • How can scholars in the humanities apply their skills and expertise to help guide efforts to manage the challenges presented by anthropogenic climate change and to transition the global energy system away from fossil fuels? 
  • What are the methodological boundaries of the Energy Humanities? How do they differ from other relatively new subfields such as Environmental/Ecological Humanities? 

Scholars from all disciplines are welcome. Previous scholarship on energy-related topics is not required—participants need only possess an interest in exploring questions such as those above.

Are you a faculty member or graduate student who is interested in the working group? Complete this survey to receive more information about upcoming activities, including the Zoom link for an initial meeting on Thurs., Nov. 19, 3-4:30 p.m. EST. Regular meetings will begin in January 2021.

Questions? Email Dr. Jon Free (, assistant director for research development at the Energy Initiative.