BECC Webinar: Energy Futures: Anthropocene Challenges, Emerging Technologies, and Everyday Life

March 15, 2023 | 2:30pm - 3:30pm EDT

As pressure to respond to climate change intensifies, there is increasing urgency to change our energy systems and energy practices. Visions of the energy future are changing, and new imaginaries – values and symbols through which people imagine their social whole – are emerging alongside innovative approaches to technology. Around the world, people are seeing new possibilities in digitization and automation. Some are promoting a world reliant on data analytics. Others desire a retreat from grids and networks in favor of self-reliance. A global shift to electrification, and diversification of electricity production, has material impacts on energy practices at all scales. It is time to rethink the ways energy is and will be sourced, shared, and used.

Join us for a webinar to learn about future imaginaries of energy. Attendees will hear from editors of the new book Energy Futures as they look at how ethnographic methods provide new knowledge about imagined and possible approaches to energy within the context of emerging technologies, Anthropocene challenges, and everyday realities.

Moderator: Dr. Susan Mazur-Stommen, Cultural Anthropologist, Founder and Principal, INDICIA Consulting

Dr. Mazur-Stommen is an anthropologist who has researched culture, behavior, and sustainability for over twenty years. Dr. Mazur-Stommen founded Indicia Consulting LLC in 2006 to bring ethnography to a wider audience, increasing sustainability by using proven social science insights and methods. She is a Fulbright recipient and a former Smithsonian Institution fellow. She was the co-chair for the BECC conference from 2011-2014, and now serves as the Chair on the American Anthropology Association’s Members’ Programmatic, Advisory, and Advocacy Committee (MPAAC). Currently, she is working on a portfolio of projects concerning heat resilience in disadvantaged communities, under the aegis of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories Energy Technologies Area.


Dr. Simone Abram, Professor in Anthropology, Durham University UK & Co-director, Durham Energy Institute

Simone is a member of the Research Centre for Socially Inclusive Energy Transitions (Oslo University), and is involved in several energy research projects in cooperation with engineers and other scientists: GEMS (Geothermal Minewater and Solar Heat) explores the reuse of abandoned mines for district heating in the context of mining heritage; ICHP (Zero-Carbon Emission Integrated Cooling, Heating and Power Networks) is demonstrating the use of local energy hubs for multiple uses;  ELEXIA demonstrates integration of digitized energy systems, and POWERPOOR investigates the conditions of energy vulnerability in Norway.

Dr. Nathalie Ortar, Senior Researcher in anthropology, ENTPE-University of Lyon-France

Nathalie's research has mainly focused on the links between dwelling and spatial mobility. Since 2010, she has been leading research on the changes in social practices that occur in the ways of living in a context of injunctions to mobility and energy transitions and the vulnerabilities they produce. Relating to energy she is the co-editor of Ethnographies of Power: A Political Anthropology of Energy, Berghanh (2021) with Simone Abram and Tristan Loloum and L'énergie et ses usages domestiques (2018).

Dr. Karen Waltorp, Associate Professor and Filmmaker, Head of the Ethnographic Exploratory, Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen-Denmark

Karen studies digital media and emerging technologies; and how they afford new configurations of personhood and sociality, as well as the implications for the environment(s) we inhabit. She is PI of the research project DigiSAt: Digital Everyday Lives in a South African township far from Silicon Valley (DFF 2022-2024). Filmmaking is an integral part of her practice toward more public and interventional formats in social science research. She is director of Manenberg (Royal Anthropological Institute/DR 2010); author of Why Muslim Women and Smartphones: Mirror Images (Routledge 2020); and co-editor of An Anthropology of Futures & Technologies (Routledge 2022), and Energy Futures (De Gruyter 2022).

Dr. Miriam Aczel, McQuown Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute for Energy & Environment (CIEE) at UC Berkeley

Dr. Aczel is working on the Oakland EcoBlock community solar pilot project. She is an Honorary Research Associate at Imperial College London’s Centre for Environmental Policy. Dr. Aczel earned her PhD at Imperial College London, where she was a President’s PhD Scholar. She is also co-founder and co-director of the Amir D. Aczel Foundation for Research and Education in Science and Mathematics, a nonprofit working on environmental education in Cambodia. Dr. Aczel is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. 

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