Political Phenomenology of Oil

Live Online & Interactive Seminar

Instructor: Tere Vaden, PhD

Course Description:The course discusses the role of energy, fossil fuels, and especially
oil in shaping modern experience.

The experience of modernity is one of economic growth, underwritten by an increasing use of energy. Most of the work in industrial economies is done by burning fossil fuels. If there is reason to believe that material circumstances such as the ownership of the means of production, geography, or levels of technological development shape society, culture and experience, then there is reason to believe that the continually increasing input of energy has had a similar, if not greater, impact on human history. However, the essential role of fossil fuels has been in a (relative) blind spot of critical thought –– and this blind spot in itself is one of the most striking characteristics of modernity. An “automatic system of machinery” (Marx), “total mobilization” of resources (Jünger) and a “technological understanding of Being” (Heidegger) are possible only on the basis of more work performed decade by decade — work that goes unmentioned by these thinkers. The approach of the course is “political phenomenology” in analogy with “political economy”: while political economy is a discipline studying economics while at same time presenting a critique of the conditions of “economy” as a field, political phenomenology investigates the experience of fossil modernity with a critical eye towards the conditions of its existence.

Course Objectives
- to give an introduction to the empirical role of fossil fuels and
especilly oil in industrial civilizations
- to present a theoretical framework for analysing the role of oil in
shaping the experience of modernity
- to provide critical and analytical tools for understanding the
challenges that post-fossil transition presents

There will be four lectures, a reading period, and a follow-up
discussion session. The course is live, but if you can't make the live
sessions, don't worry you can watch the recordings.

Be Challenged: This course is live and interactive. You can take it just for enrichment or you can take it Pass/Fail. If you pass the course you will receive 1 Silver GCAS token. Earn 5 GCAS Silver tokens, and receive one Gold GCAS Token plus a free course. 2 Gold GCAS Tokens = 1 Platinum GCAS Token. 1 Platinum Token = 100 GCAS Dollars. GCAS Dollars are for you to use to purchase GCAS books and other goods we'll sell starting in our online bookstore starting January, 2018. In addition to a school we're starting to build an economy based on knowledge and ideas not on profits. Join us!

To pass the course, you will need to respond in the class forum at least 2 times between lectures or sessions (see schedule below). Each time must be at least 150 words. Respond to the lecture or respond to someone else's response and help create the conversation inside the online classroom. You can also write a blog post (no more than 1,000 words) about the course. If we publish it, you will receive an additional 1 GCAS Silver Token (2 maximum GCAS Silver Tokens per course).

Although we strongly encourage you to attend the lectures live online in our Platform (see below for how to join) it's not required for you to pass the course. You just have to view the recordings, which will be uploaded inside the course in your GCAS E-School virtual classroom.

Schedule and Meeting Times: on our Live and Fully Interactive via our Platform, Big Blue Button--see below for how to access this platform live on the Internet

1 Net energy and the role of oil in industrial civilisation(s) — facts &

2 Oil in a blind spot — why and how has critical thought missed oil, and
what does that tell us — an introduction to nafthology

3 Phenomena of oil — acceleration, con-distancing, atomisation,
sovereign breaks …

Reading Break: After oil

4 State of exception — how does the political phenomenology of oil
inform post-fossil transitions

5 Follow-up discussion — to be agreed later

Recommended texts:
Petrocultures research group: After Oil
Salminen & Vadén: Energy and Experience

How to Join:

We use the very simple on-line platform: Big Blue Button (BBB).

Here’s how you join: click on the Big Blue Button link. (http://gcas.blindsidenetworks.net/gcas/)

Sign in with your name.

Select your course name (which will be put-up on BBB)

Password: researcher505

Here’s a tutorial for Big Blue Button: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHTZvbL1NT4

We recommend that you have a good to very good internet connection (this is crucial so you can fully experience the interactions between you and other participants (we call them researchers) and the instructor.

Your Instructor

Tere Vadén, PhD
Tere Vadén, PhD
Tere Vadén is a philosopher working with the multidisciplinary research unit Bios.fi that focuses on anticipation of deep socio-ecological transformations. He has taught philosophy, art education and new media in various universities in Scandinavia. Tere has published several articles on the philosophy of mind and language, as well as co-authored the books Rock the Boat. Localized Ethics, the Situated Self, and Particularism in Contemporary Art (2003), Wikiworld (2010), and Heidegger, Zizek and Revolution (2014). Together with Mika Hannula and Juha Suoranta, he has worked on the methodology of artistic research (Artistic research. Theories, methods, practices. (2005) and Artistic research methods. Narrative, Power, and the Public. (2014)). Recently he has been obsessed with the question of energy, especially fossil fuels, and their impact on the experience of modernity, publishing with Antti Salminen the book Energy and Experience. An Essay in Nafthology (2015). He is also a long-time editor of the Finnish philosophical journal niin & näin and the managing director of the activist hedge fund

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a MOOC?
NO! A MOOC is a "massive open online course" that assumes the participant is passive. Our model is different: We teach and meet-up live and offer interactive courses that allow you to meet others and share your ideas freely.
How do I access the live course?
We use the very simple on-line platform: Big Blue Button (BBB). Just logon: http://gcas.blindsidenetworks.net/gcas Sign in with your name > Select your course name (which will be put-up on BBB) > Password: researcher505
When does the course start and finish?
Each course starts when scheduled. Check the schedule and be sure to participate in the live session. If you're not available to participate in the live session, that's ok. We'll record the live session and post it for you to engage when you're able.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 7 days and we will give you a full refund.

Get started now!