Summary of the 19th EASCLE Webinar: Oil and Gender in European Fiction and Film


Hosts:  Dr. Julia Leyda (NTNU Trondheim) and Dr. Katie Ritson (Rachel Carson Center / LMU Munich)

Participants:

  • Lena Pfeifer, (University of Würzburg, co-coordinator)
  • Linda Hess, (University of Augsburg, co-coordinator)
  • Auerochs, Florian (University of Vechta)
  • Arutyunyan, Veronika (University of Hamburg)
  • Famà, Santi Luca (Stockholm University)
  • Filipova, Lenka (Free University Berlin)
  • Nurmi, Tom (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
  • Sandal, Tomine (University of Oslo)
  • Wurth, Verena (University of Cologne)

On March 31st, 2022, the 19th EASCLE Webinar took place, hosted by Dr. Julia Leyda (NTNU Trondheim) and Dr. Katie Ritson (Rachel Carson Center / LMU Munich) with a focus on “Oil and Gender in European Fiction and Film.” An international group of enthusiastic scholars came together and discussed a wide-ranging field of questions and concepts, from petro-masculinity, to eco-modernism, to the role of girlhood and feminism in environmental activism, to the aesthetics of oil and energy, and the renewed role of masculinity in energy-debates prompted by the war in Ukraine. In addition to two articles – Cara Daggett’s “Petro-masculinity: Fossil Fuels and Authoritarian Desire” (2018) and Jessalynn Keller’s “‘This is oil country:’ Mediated Transnational Girlhood, Greta Thunberg, and Patriarchal Petrocultures” (2021), which the group read in preparation, each participant was asked to bring an image, text, film, or other item that speaks to the topic in some way. In addition to two brief film-clips that the hosts provided, the participants’ various examples, such as documentary films, novels, podcasts, recent political debates about fossil fuels, and childhood memories, immediately showed the richness of aspects to discuss in connection to Daggett’s concept of petro-masculinity and the many intersections of gender and petroculture. 

Throughout the webinar, four central questions crystallized which connected the different threads of the discussion:

  1. In how far can Daggett’s concept of petro-masculinity, developed in a US-context, be applied to different European contexts?  
  2. What are the overlaps and differences between petro-masculinity and ecomodernism, and how might these concepts speak to changing contexts?
  3. What role does concealment (for example of destruction, of the material itself, or of certain scientific findings) play in debates about and representations of petro-culture – particularly with regard to constructions of masculinity? 
  4. What roles do/can feminism and girlhood play in environmental activism and what opportunities for other kinds of imagination (outside of eco-modernism and petro-masculinity) might they afford?

At the end of the allotted 90 minutes of the webinar, the discussion was still in full swing and could have gone on for much longer, and one of the strongest impressions at the end of the session was the current urgency of attending carefully to the role of gender in discourses of energy.

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Summary of the 19th EASCLE Webinar: Oil and Gender in European Fiction and Film


FURTHER READING

Ecozon@

Ecozon@ is a journal devoted to the relatively new field of literary and cultural criticism called ecocriticism. Ecocriticism can be broadly defined as the study of the representations of nature in cultural texts, and of the relationship between humans with other earth beings and their environment as seen in cultural manifestations. 

ARCADIANA

Arcadiana is a blog about the environment in literature and culture. It is hosted by postgraduate members of the European Association for Literature, Culture and the Environment (EASLCE).