The Energy Working Group (EWG), brings together faculty and graduate students from a range of disciplines who are motivated by both the contemporary energy crisis and the proliferation of scholarship on energy infrastructures, economies and ecologies.

Our engagement with energy explores the limits of current knowledge practices around materialities, ontologies, and the political. We are curious about the challenges posed to the physical and social sciences and the humanities in their engagement with the concept of energy as it is enacted across multiple scales, locations and temporalities, from everyday uses to global politics. Our hope is that this mode of engagement will foster conversations across disciplines by troubling the notions of crisis, sustainability, scarcity, risk and harm that shape thinking around energy.

Structuring Questions:

  • What is the political, epistemological, ontological and aesthetic work that concept of energy can and might do?
  • How are exposure thresholds enacted and energetic harms made intelligible?
  • What multiple imaginaries and practices gather under the term energy?
  • How is energy made to matter?
  • How can weave other forms of energetic life into these conversations, particularly the subtler energies that propel bodies and selves in everyday life?
  • How can we connect our virtual lives to the very real and harmful energy waste produced by big data?
  • How are renewable energies linked to growth economies? How, if at all, do the materialities of different “renewables” matter? How do they shape and how are they shaped by divergent geopolitics and ecologies? How do they take shape in different contexts?
  • How are the residues of energetic processes used to speculate on future ecologies?
  • What legacies are inside of the contemporary global energy crisis?
  • How do we make the visible the imperceptible dimensions of of energy waste?

The Energy Working Group is funded by the Plant Studies Collaboratory at York University