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.
- 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
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)
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.