Energy Humanities: New Directions and Critiques | Oct. 30

About the Event

SYMPOSIUM: 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., Hanover Inn, Hayward Room (by invitation; please register)
KEYNOTE LECTURE: 4:30 p.m., Top of the Hop

In a time of exquisite environmental precarity, how can the critical humanities help us realize alternative energy futures? How can the humanistic disciplines help us respond to climate crisis with new ecological forms and energy systems and with more sustainable practices of energy production? How do the humanities make sense of extractive and non-extractive energy resources, active and potential forms of energy? If humanistic studies of energy have focused mostly on oil and fixated on the contemporary, how can we further research on the history of energy modernity by studying Enlightenment cultures, the transatlantic and Anglophone world, and the global south? We warmly invite you to join us for an exciting day of cross-campus, interdisciplinary engagement with energy flows and transitions in literature, history, philosophy and the arts.  

An all-day, by-invitation scholarly symposium will be followed by two public events: a talk at 4:30 p.m. at the Top of the Hop by Tim Morton, Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University and author of eight books including, most recently, Being Ecological (Penguin, 2018) and Energy Humanities Live! an after-dark environmental energy soundscape DJ Dance Party with DJs Diallo Riddle, DJ Spooky, and DJ T. Tauri at the Top of the Hop, from 8 - 11 p.m.

We thank our co-sponsors for this event: The Department of English and Creative Writing, the Leslie Center for the Humanities, the Hopkins Center for the Arts, the Associate Dean for Arts & Sciences, the Department of Music, and the Department of Environmental Studies

Tentative and Subject to Change

Energy Humanities: New Directions and Critiques Schedule

9:30 a.m. Welcome Remarks 
Alysia Garrison, English and Creative Writing, Dartmouth College
Elizabeth Wilson, Irving Institute and Environmental Studies, Dartmouth College

9:45 a.m. Framing Remarks 
Tobias Menely, UC Davis. Unremitting Energy: On the Prehistory of the Energy Humanities  

10:45 a.m.  Beyond Oil: Cultures of Hydropower and Solar Power 
Michael Ziser, UC Davis.  The Big Melt: Hydropower Before, During, and After the Human.
Elizabeth Miller, UC Davis.  Feminist Solar Power: Extraction, Energy, and Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain's "Sultana's Dream" (1905).

12 p.m.  Lunch

12:45 p.m. Energy, Enchantment and the History of Secularization 
Thomas Turnbull, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.  Coal and Catholicism: Energy Humanities at the University of Chicago in the Inter and Postwar Period
David Womble, University of Chicago.  Enlightenment Energy and Enchanted Objects.

2 p.m.  Terminations: Energy at the Ends of History and Nation 
Lynn Badia, Colorado State University.  The Nation as Energy: Imagining Society as Energy Intensity.
Jeff Diamanti, University of Amsterdam.  Terminal Landscapes.

3:15 p.m. Closing Remarks: Energy Modernity and Afro-Futurity 
Paul Miller, aka DJ Spooky 
Marisa Parham, Amherst College

4 p.m. Wrap Up and Adjourn to Keynote Address

4:30 p.m.  Public Keynote Address: Slaves to the Rhythms (Location: Top of the Hop, Hopkins Center for the Arts)
Timothy Morton, Rice University

Symposium Speakers

  • Lynn Badia, Colorado State University
  • Jeff Diamanti, University of Amsterdam
  • Tobias Menely, UC Davis
  • Elizabeth Miller, UC Davis
  • Paul Miller/DJ Spooky
  • Marisa Parham, Amherst College
  • Thomas Turnbull, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
  • David Womble, University of Chicago
  • Michael Ziser, UC Davis
About the Keynote Speaker

Timothy Morton


Timothy Morton
Timothy Morton will deliver the public keynote address, "Slaves to the Rhythms," at Dartmouth's Energy Humanities: New Directions and Critiques symposium.

"Slaves to the Rhythms"

A keynote address by ecological philosopher Timothy Morton, Rita Shea Guffey Professor at Rice University

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at 4:30 PM, Top of the Hop, Free & Open to All


Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. He has collaborated with Björk, Laurie Anderson, Jennifer Walshe, Jeff Bridges, Sabrina Scott, Olafur Eliasson, and Pharrell Williams. He co-wrote and appears in Living in the Future's Past, a 2018 film about global warming with Jeff Bridges. He is the author of Being Ecological (Penguin, 2018), Humankind: Solidarity with Nonhuman People (Verso, 2017), Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (Columbia, 2016), Nothing: Three Inquiries in Buddhism (Chicago, 2015), Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Minnesota, 2013), Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (Open Humanities, 2013), The Ecological Thought (Harvard, 2010), Ecology without Nature (Harvard, 2007), 8 other books and 200 essays on philosophy, ecology, literature, music, art, architecture, design and food. His work has been translated into 10 languages. In 2014 Morton gave the Wellek Lectures in Theory. 

"One of the 50 Most Influential Living Philosophers"

"As Morton's work spreads beyond cultural hierophants such as Björk to the pages of major news outlets, he is arguably becoming our most popular guide to the new epoch. Yes, he has some seemingly crazy ideas about what it's like to be alive right now – but what it's like to be alive right now, in the Anthropocene, is pretty crazy." – The Guardian

"Philosophy isn't just something up here, in your head; philosophy is everywhere in built space." –Timothy Morton in Living in the Future's Past

Energy Humanities Live!

Join us for an after-dark DJ dance party at the Top of the Hop, from 8 - 11 p.m. Free and open to all! 

The evening will feature:

  • T Tauri/Jeff Goldman
  • DJ Spooky/Paul Miller, selections from Phantom Dancehall
  • Diallo Riddle, of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Sherman's Showcase, possible impersonation of Sun Ra, his Arkestra and cosmo-energy to call forth black radical energy horizons