Energy History and the World that Carbon Made

When and Where

Friday, September 22, 2023 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Munk 108N
Munk School
1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON, M5S 3K7


Victor Seow


Energy has witnessed a surge of interest among historians and scholars in adjacent fields in recent years. This might be expected given the growing sense of urgency around our unfolding climate crisis, to which the extravagant burning of fossil fuels has been a leading contributor. Energy has been a compelling subject of study because of how important decisions related to its production and use will be to determining our collective present and future. At the same time, part of the appeal of energy has been its analytical promise. To environmental historian Richard White, it is a “protean and useful concept.” By following energy flows, one is able to weave together social and natural processes that are otherwise more commonly considered as separate threads. But the capaciousness of the energetic perspective presents its own challenge. In this talk, Seow draws on his recently published book, Carbon Technocracy, to offer some reflections on the utility of placing energy at the center of our historical and social analyses.

Contact Information


Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies, Asian Institute


1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON, M5S 3K7