Re-centering Energy Justice

Re-centering Energy Justice

Re-centering Energy Justice

Uninsulated waste heat ducts link two coal-fired power plants and a planned industrial park in the remains of a village in Jiangsu Province, China, May 2014. Image credit: Jia Ching Chen

Re-centering Energy Justice is a Research Focus Group that aims to address critical debates within the field, while upholding the conviction that the movements, practices, and debates among Indigenous communities worldwide and societies of the Global South are central and not auxiliary to understanding humanity’s deep entanglements with energy. The following inquiries guide our interdisciplinary approach:

• How are frontline and indigenous communities disproportionately affected by entrenched energy regimes and ignored in energy justice debates?
• Why have such injustices been normalized and perpetuated in energy transitions?
• How can scholars work with communities to address social and ecological inequities?

Re-centering Energy Justice will foster the continuation and growth of the successful community-building and research outcomes initiated during the 2018- 2019 Mellon Sawyer Seminar on Energy Justice in Global Perspective at UC Santa Barbara The objectives of this RFG are (1) regularly convene an interdisciplinary community of engaged scholars who are invested in critical debates on energy justice and (2) support work-in-progress by those graduate students and faculty in the Humanities and Social Sciences who are engaged in producing new scholarship in the field.

Our Work

Energy Justice Syllabus

Energy Justice on California’s Central Coast: A Public Syllabus seeks to enable participants’ understanding of the cultural values and ethical and ecological consequences built into the energy systems that fuel the Central Coast of California. By exploring three local energy events (the 1928 St. Francis Dam Disaster, the 2017 Thomas Fire, and the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill), the syllabus investigates how energy systems continue to impact and contour the region geographically and socially. Through its three central events, this public syllabus highlights for participants how energy systems, capitalism, climate change, and ongoing extractive colonialism are co-constitutive.

Imagined primarily as a tool for activists and those interested in learning more about energy systems on California’s Central Coast, this syllabus aims to equip participants with an understanding of the intersecting power structures at the heart of energy.


Javiera Barandiaran, Global Studies

Jéssica Malinalli Coyotecatl Contreras, Anthropology

Mona Damluji, Film and Media Studies