Workshop: Doing Energy History in Times of Transition
Organizers: Tensions Energy History Working Group, email@example.com
Odinn Melsted (Maastricht University), Ute Hasenöhrl (University of Innsbruck), Jan-Henrik Meyer (Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory)
Date and time: July 1st, 2021, 1 pm – 5 pm CET DST
Deadline for proposals: May 10th, 2021
In recent years, many historians of energy have related their work to contemporary debates about energy transitions and examined past changes in energy provision from a variety of perspectives. Those include shifts between specific energy carriers or technologies, grand transitions between energy regimes, deep transitions, infrastructure transitions, case studies of socio-technical transitions, to name but a few. While this research has vastly increased our knowledge on past processes, structures, actors, dynamics of energy production and consumption, and patterns of transitions, there has been little systematic discussion on how historians should best deal with the – admittedly presentist – “transitions” paradigm.
This half-day online workshop on the 1st of July 2021 will critically engage with the omnipresence of “transitions” in current energy history research. Organized by the Tensions Energy History Working Group (part of the 2nd Tensions of Europe flagship program “Technology & Societal Challenges”), it seeks to bring together scholars of all ranks and ages – including PhD students – who are currently working on or have recently completed research projects in energy history that deal with “transitions” in one way or another. The workshop seeks to facilitate discussion particularly on the following (but also other) questions:
Which kinds of transitions should historians focus on?
What are the pitfalls of focusing on “transitions” and not continuities?
Which theoretical approaches and concepts have proven to be helpful when examining historical transitions (from your experience)?
How can historians examine “transitions in scale” from low to high levels of energy consumption?
How can we approach changes within established energy patterns, such as from low to high levels of electricity use in households?
Should historians prioritize transitions in energy production or consumption?
Should we only examine successful transitions, or also “failed” or “aborted” ones? What can be learned from looking at “failures”?
Or, alternatively, should historians abandon the transitions paradigm altogether, and instead focus on continuities, energy “additions”, or “transformations”?
Please send a short description of how your research project relates to one or more of these issues, how it deals with transitions and what you would like to contribute to the discussion of around 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org until May 10th, 2021. The workshop will take place on Zoom on July 1st, 2021. Participants will be expected to hand in short papers (1.000-2.000 words) with an extended abstract of their research project and discussion inputs to be circulated to the participants beforehand.