Feb. 26 symposium to explore oil's impact on humanity

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Melissa Osgood

Oil shapes human life and affects human values in profoundly connected ways across the planet. Yet rarely is oil – or other forms of energy – considered beyond technology and policy. A Feb. 26 symposium, “Oil and the Human: Views From the East and South,” will consider the relationship of oil with everyday life, human choices, politics and art across Africa, Latin America, Russia and East Asia. The event will be held in the A.D. White House from 1-4 p.m. with a reception following.

“Oil is naturally an urgent focal point of emerging scholarship in the environmental humanities,” says organizer Anindita Banerjee, associate professor of comparative literature. “Even though there is no better example of a resource and its economy affecting human life and the environment on a planetary scale, scholars working on oil in different disciplines and parts of the world rarely get together to compare their insights. This symposium, featuring literary scholars, anthropologists and historians working on oil across Africa, Latin America, Russia and East Asia, marks a much-needed turn toward transregional analysis in energy humanities.”

Participants include:

  • Victor Seow, history, Cornell;
  • Douglas Rogers, anthropology, Yale University;
  • Jennifer Wenzel, English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University; and
  • Ericka Beckman, Latin American and Caribbean studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Banerjee will moderatate.

The symposium is sponsored by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, with support from the Society for the Humanities.

Linda B. Glaser is a staff writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.


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