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On empty: The cultural politics of oil

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • SSHRC IG awarded 2013: The character of contemporary life depends fundamentally on oil -- an accessible, easy to store, easy to transport, and rich source of energy that has created the material conditions for manufacturing economies, global trade, large-scale human population growth, auto-mobility, and more. undertake a multifaceted analysis of the cultural and social claims and assumptions that shape and guide how we think and talk about oil - a map of the multiple, complex and often contradictory ways in which oil is positioned in our social imaginaries. The book that will emerge from this research will probe the narratives and discourses surrounding oil at three distinct sites: (1) in recent visual art, documentary cinema and contemporary fiction; (2) as they emerge in public debates in relation to three major oil 'events': the running aground of the Exxon Valdez, the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the emergence of the oil sands as an environmental problem on an international level; and (3) in philosophical discussions about ecological limits, sustainability, and the capacity of contemporary society to undergo intensive and extensive social and political change. By investigating each of these sites, what I wish to capture is the full range of the contemporary discourses that have emerged in relation to this puzzling substance, whose impact on human life has been deeper than we have previously believed, and whose eventual decline and disappearance will pose substantial cultural, political and philosophical challenges.

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  • Type of Item
    Research Material
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  • License
    © Szeman, Imre. All rights reserved other than by permission. This document embargoed to those without UAlberta CCID until 2021.
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  • Source
    Imre Szeman
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