Due to the excessive burning of fossil fuels since the industrial revolution, climate change has emerged as one of the biggest political, social, and economic challenges of our time. Hence, energy has also become an increasingly "hot topic" for political and social scientists as well as historians or anthropologists. Looking at critical junctures in the history of the production and consumption of energy in the long twentieth century, we will examine the interdependencies between technological innovation and socio-economic change. How did energy production and consumption affect the social fabric and forms of political representation in certain countries and which economic, social, and cultural conditions favored or hindered energy transitions? Asking these questions, we will try to determine if and in how far the history of energy can shed new light on social, political, and cultural history.
Timothy Mitchell, Carbon Democracy. Political Power in the Age of Oil, London, New York 2011. Nye, David Edwin: Consuming Power. A Social History of American Energies, Cambridge Mass. 1998. Möllers, Nina; Zachmann, Karin (Hg.): Past and Present Energy Societies. How Energy Connects Politics, Technologies and Cultures, Bielefeld 2012. Smil, Vaclav: Transforming the Twentieth Century. Technical Innovations and Their Consequences, Oxford, New York 2006.