Call for Papers

Energy and the Left, 2018 Workshop at NYU, 30 March

27th Sep 2017

Call for Papers: Energy and the Left, 2018 Workshop at NYU


Event’s Date: 30 March 2018

Abstracts Due: 1 November 2017

Location: NYU, Washington Square campus

Organisers: Zack Culyer ( and Troy Vettese (


What is the relationship between the creation of new energy infrastructures and opportunities for leftist struggle? Recent events–such as efforts to thwart the DAPL–have brought this question to the forefront, but it has a much longer history. This new focus on the politics of energy and energy infrastructures contrasts to the historiography of the 1990s and 2000s, which tended to take three forms: dry business histories of Big Oil, technocratic reconstructions of energy transitions, or orientalist studies of ‘petro-dictatorships.’ New work, however, has centered on how social struggle takes place through energy transitions. Scholars are now fruitfully bringing together approaches of the environmental humanities, the ‘new materialism’, labour history, science and technology studies, and business history. Recent works that have energized this area of study include Being Nuclear by Gabrielle Hecht, Carbon Democracy by Timothy Mitchell, and Fossil Capital by Andreas Malm.

This will be the second workshop held on the theme of Energy and the Left, and will be sponsored by the NYU department of History and supported by the Hagop Kevorkoian Center for Near East Studies. Like the first workshop held last spring, it will be international and interdisciplinary. We expect submissions from sociology, literature, anthropology, and history, but we would welcome work from across the arts and sciences. We also hope that the group of participants at the workshop will represent all stages of an academic career, from post-grads to tenured professors. The format of the workshop is as follows: only a small group of scholars will be invited, but they will be expected to read everyone’s papers, as well as serve as a designated discussant for one of their peers. The event will take place over the span of a single day, but if there is interest an outing on Saturday will be planned. The keynote lecture will be delivered by Antina von Schnitzler, an anthropologist at the New School, who will discuss the politics of coal and labour in South Africa.

The deadline for the submissions is 1 November 2017. We will select participants soon after. Papers between five thousand and ten thousand words will be circulated amongst the group on March first. Please tell us if you’ll need a subsidy for travel and accommodation. Send a short CV and three hundred word abstract to Troy and Zack ( with the subject line: ‘Energy and the Left’.