Energy Challenges in the Developing World

Energy Challenges in the Developing World

Friday, February 20th, 2015 / 9:30 AM
Multipurpose Room, Student Resource Building

As climate change threatens communities worldwide, how to transition to cleaner sources of energy remains a global challenge. For developing countries, the stakes are high: they must simultaneously respond to climate change impacts and strive to develop using more expensive, fossil fuel-free energy sources. In this context, what have been developing countries’ approaches to energy policy and fuels? How are these challenged by the current pressure to switch to cleaner energies, and with what effects? What have developing countries been doing to participate in new markets for fuels and energy technologies, and respond to new energy challenges, like for mobile technologies that are increasingly important not just in cities but also in rural areas across Africa and Latin America? Can developing countries benefit from new energy sources, like lithium used in electric cars? Or are fossil fuels still black gold, as Brazil’s and Ghana’s recent oil discoveries suggest? At this workshop we will reflect on these questions and explore on-going research into these issues.

9:30 AM  Keynote Speaker: Gabrielle Hecht  (History, University of Michigan)
“Toxic Tales in the African Anthropocene”

The Anthropocene has become a rallying point for interdisciplinarity across the humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences.  Yet these conversations easily falter, especially when critics observe that the notion can obscure massive inequalities by attributing the unfolding catastrophes to an undifferentiated “humanity.” The Anthropocene thus poses significant conceptual and methodological challenges to the humanities and qualitative social sciences. How can we theorize temporal and spatial scales that allow us to hold the planetary and the particular in the same frame? How can humanists gain purchase on the nexus of waste, toxicity, and violence that forms the core of the Anthropocene? This talk tackles these questions by exploring material histories of toxic waste in and beyond Africa.

11:00 AM Panel 1 “Legacies of Extractivism and Energy”

Chris Walker (English, UCSB) “Romance and Radioactivity: H.G. Wells at the Limits of Materiality”
Monamie Bhadra (Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology Program, Arizona State University)“Democracy for Some: Carving Civic Epistemologies and Publics around Nuclear Energy in India”
Lisa Parks,  (Film & Media Studies, UCSB) “Energizing Media.”
ann-elise lewallen (East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, UCSB)“Japan’s Post-311 Nuclear Diplomacy: Exporting a Failed Technology to the Developing World”

12:30 PM Lunch

1:30 PM  Panel 2 “Contemporary Policy Challenges”
Jimmy Tran (Environmental Science, UC Berkeley) “Decarbonization strategies for rural energy access in the global south”
Tammy Elwell (Geography, UCSB) “From science to policy outcomes: How a cultural ecosystem service approach informed planning decisions in Chile”
Javiera Barandiaran (Global Studies, UCSB) “Dependent Development 2.0: Lithium Mining in Chile and Argentina”
Tristan Partridge (Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society; visiting scholar in Anthropology, UCSB) “The Shale Boom: Fracking, Energy Landscapes and Corrosive Development”

3:15 PM “Ghana’s Electric Dreams – Waiting for Light”, directed by R. Lane Clark, with an introduction by Stephan F. Miescher (History, UCSB)

4:00 PM  “What Happened to Solar Innovation?”’, directed by Chris Newfield (English, UCSB) and Zach Horton (English, UCSB)

4:45  PM Closing remarks

Sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies, and the College of Letters and Science.