Writing

Imre has written, edited and or co-edited over 20 books, in addition to journal and magazine articles, book chapters, and op-eds. He also makes media appearances and gives public talks on the social challenges of energy transition and opportunities for the creation of just and equitable societies powered by renewable energy.

Learn More

Energy humanities

Imre's work in the energy humanities includes:



Publisher's Site Sample Chapter

In the shadow of climate change, it is common to presume that solar energy is the big solution to our energy problems. It is a fuel source of infinite supply, resistant to commodification and speculation, and collectible and expendable without the destructive consequences of fossil fuels and nuclear energy. What remains to be understood is not the amount of energy solar power can produce or whether it is truly an adequate replacement for fossil fuels, but the conditions of social and political possibility solar might generate.

The contributors to this special issue address the overlapping relationships, strategies, and conflicts that will attend this latest and perhaps last energy transition under the term “solarity.” By approaching the social implications—and not just the technical ones—of the emergence of solar energy, they investigate whether and how it might avoid or reproduce the pathologies of existing capitalist and colonialist petrocultures.

Read More


Publisher's Site Sample Chapter

On Petrocultures brings together key essays by Imre Szeman, a leading scholar in the field of energy humanities and a critical voice in debates about globalization and neoliberalism. Szeman’s most important and influential essays, in dialogue with exciting new pieces written for the book, investigate ever-evolving circuits of power in the contemporary world, as manifested in struggles over space and belonging, redefinitions of work and individual autonomy, and the deep links between energy use and climate change.


Publisher's Site Sample Chapter

Energy Culture is a provocative book about oil’s firm grip on our politics and everyday lives. It brings together essays and artwork produced in a collaborative environment to stimulate new ways of thinking and to achieve a more just and sustainable world. Energy Culture exposes the deep imbrications of energy and culture while pointing provocatively to ways of thinking and living that keep us bound to oil.


Publisher's Site Sample Chapter

Energy humanities is a field of scholarship that, like medical and digital humanities before it, aims to overcome traditional boundaries between the disciplines and between academic and applied research. Responding to growing public concern about anthropogenic climate change and the unsustainability of the fuels we use to power our modern society, energy humanists highlight the essential contribution that humanistic insights and methods can make to areas of analysis once thought best left to the natural sciences.

In this groundbreaking anthology, Imre Szeman and Dominic Boyer have brought together a carefully curated selection of the best and most influential work in energy humanities. Arguing that today’s energy and environmental dilemmas are fundamentally problems of ethics, habits, imagination, values, institutions, belief, and power—all traditional areas of expertise of the humanities and humanistic social sciences—the essays and other pieces featured here demonstrate the scale and complexity of the issues the world faces. Their authors offer compelling possibilities for finding our way beyond our current energy dependencies toward a sustainable future.

Read More


Publisher's Site Download Full Text

After Oil explores the social, cultural, and political changes needed to make possible a full-scale transition from fossil fuels to new forms of energy. Written collectively by participants in the first After Oil School, After Oil explains why the adoption of renewable, ecologically sustainable energy sources is only the first step of energy transition.

After Oil is available online.


Publisher's Site Sample Chapter

Fueling Culture brings together writing that is risk-taking and interdisciplinary, drawing on insights from political economy, political ecology, environmental history, eco-criticism, postcolonial and globalization studies, and materialisms old and new, including thing theory and actor network theory. Since the significant social, political and cultural predicaments generated by energy are moving to the forefront of scholarship in the humanities and social sciences, the aim of this book is to generate novel insights into the social circulation of energy and the importance of energy for critical investigations and interpretations of culture today.

Fueling Culture offers a compendium of keywords written by scholars and practitioners from around the world and across the humanities and social sciences. These keywords offer new ways of thinking about energy as both the source and the limit of how we inhabit culture, with the aim of opening up new ways of understanding the seemingly irresolvable contradictions of dependence upon unsustainable energy forms.

Read More


Publisher's Site Sample Chapter

Presenting a multifaceted analysis of the cultural, social, and political claims and assumptions that guide how we think and talk about oil, Petrocultures maps the complex and often contradictory ways in which oil has influenced the public’s imagination around the world. This collection of essays shows that oil’s vast network of social and historical narratives and the processes that enable its extraction are what characterize its importance, and that its circulation through this immense web of relations forms worldwide experiences and expectations. Contributors’ essays investigate the discourses surrounding oil in contemporary culture while advancing and configuring new ways to discuss the cultural ecosystem that it has created.
A window into the social role of oil, Petrocultures also contemplates what it would mean if human life were no longer deeply shaped by the consumption of fossil fuels.


Publisher's Site

Popular Culture: A User’s Guide, International Edition ventures beyond the history of pop culture to give readers the vocabulary and tools to address and analyze the contemporary cultural landscape that surrounds them. The International edition, updated for use by a global audience, is the fifth edition of this widely-used and celebrated book.

Zones of Instability


Publisher's Site Sample Chapter

In Zones of Instability, Imre Szeman examines the complex relationship between literature and politics by exploring the production of nationalist literature in the former British empire. Taking as his case studies the regions of the British Caribbean, Nigeria, and Canada, Szeman analyzes the work of authors for whom the idea of the"nation" and literature are inexorably entwined, such as Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, and V.S. Naipaul. Szeman focuses on literature created in the two decades after World War II, decades in which the future prospects for many colonies went from extreme political optimism to extreme political disappointment. He finds that the "nation" can be read as that space in which literature is thought to be able to conjoin two things that history has separated—the writer and the people.


MORE PUBLICATIONS

Wikipedia

Articles

Selected Articles


The Insincere Sincerity of Climate Policy in the 2021 Election

The evaluation of political parties’ environmental policy should consider ambition, follow-through and past performance on top of economic realism.

Read Article
Szeman: Canada's foreign policy needs to address climate change

Our poor performance on the environment has serious domestic implications, to be sure. Its impact on our role on the world stage is just as big.

Read Article
On the Politics of Region

Could region act as a possible site of citizenship, alternative to the one to which we presently seem fated?

Read Article
Art, Activism, and the Politics of Pipelines

Do we need the power of art to challenge today’s climate fictions?

Read Article
What is Canada Waiting For To Start Its Transition?

What is holding Canada back from energy transition?

Read Article
Energy Transition and the Canadian Suburb

To begin to address climate change, we will need to start making some big decisions about how we live day to day.

Read Article
On the Politics of Extraction

An assessment of the cultural ideas and social forces driving resource extraction today.

Read Article
Art Against Oil: Offshore and other experiments in eco-representation

On Brenda Longfellow's interactive documentary "Offshore."

Read Article
Blind Faith

Belief that some new technology will arrive to rescue us from our thorniest problems is just the latest expression of utopianism.

Read Article
The Rise of Energy Humanities

An op-ed written with Dominic Boyer, which offers a rationale for why the humanities need to explore energy.

Read Article
Are We All Entrepreneurs Now? Should We Be?

Entrepreneurship and innovation, while important and necessary, remain insufficient educational goals for Canada’s universities.

Read Article
What the frack?

Combustile Water and Other Late Capitalist Novelties

Read Article
System Failure: Oil, Futurity and the Anticipation of Disaster

Explores the dominant discourses of resource extraction that stand in the way of new energy futures: strategic realism, technoutopianism, and apocalyptic environmentalism.

Read Article

Interviews

Podcasts, news and interviews.

Listen to, watch or read some of Imre's interviews.

Learn More