Prof. Dr. Hannes Bergthaller (National Chung Hsing University/Universität Würzburg): "How Deep is Oil? Energy Regimes and American Culture"

Thursday, 07.05.2015, 9:55 a.m.-12:10 p.m., U5/02.22

Oil has shaped social realities in the United States more profoundly than any other commodity. It provides the material basis for a form of life in which freedom is equated with individual mobility, home-ownership and unrestricted access to an ever expanding range of consumer goods. It has informed the way in which Americans understand both ther own way of life and their relationship to the rest of the world. This talk will survey some recent attempts to shed new light on the role oil has played in the cultural and political history of the United States and place them within the larger frame of the theory of energy regimes.

Hannes Bergthaller is an associate professor at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Chung-Hsing University, Taiwan, and currently an Alexander von Humboldt research fellow at the University of Würzburg, where he is working on a book about ecological biopolitics and liberalism in the US. He is a founding member and immediate past president of the European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and the Environment (EASLCE), and book review editor for the journal, Ecozon@. His research interests are focused on US environmentalism, social systems theory, and environmental philosophy. Among his recent publications are a guest-edited cluster on ecocriticism and environmental history in ISLE (2015), a guest-edited theme section on ecocriticism and comparative literature in Komparatistik (2014) and the edited volume Addressing Modernity: Social Systems Theory and US Cultures (together with Carsten Schinko, 2011).