WITH PETROCULTURES 2024, THE BIENNIAL CONFERENCE SERIES COMES FOR THE FIRST TIME TO THE UNITED STATES.
We are delighted to have Los Angeles as our host city since LA epitomizes many of the paradoxes and precarities of early 21st century petroculture. Before it became a media and entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles was an oil town, with the spectacle of derricks occupying many of its treasured beaches. Over the course of the 20th century, LA evolved into a quintessential petro-city, famous for its endless freeways, traffic jams, smog, and consumer culture–and less famous for refineries, pipelines, pumpjacks, and container ships that are key features of the land- and waterscape.
OIL CITIES AND POST-OIL CITIES
Is there such a thing as a sustainable megacity, even after oil? How can the abundance of petro- infrastructures be repurposed or retrofit for a post-oil future? Can the post-fossil transition be leveraged to create more equitable and just urban environments and experiences?
Can LA’s media culture help to accelerate the end of petroculture? To what degree does the promise of a cleaner future for LA merely push extractive processes and problems onto other people and places?
LA remains an oil town today: there are 26 oil and gas fields and 5,000 active and idle wells within city limits. But, unlike most petrocities, LA is now taking definite strides toward enacting a post-fossil future. In December 2022, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban new fossil fuel production and to phase out existing wells within 20 years (also unanimously adopted by the Los Angeles County Supervisors). This followed a California state ban on sales of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035.
It seems we are poised for a period of rapid change but questions remain: Is there such a thing as a sustainable megacity, even after oil? How can the abundance of petro- infrastructures be repurposed or retrofit for a post-oil future? Can the post-fossil transition be leveraged to create more equitable and just urban environments and experiences? Can LA’s media culture help to accelerate the end of petroculture? To what degree does the promise of a cleaner future for LA merely push extractive processes and problems onto other people and places?
THE CENTRAL THEME FOR PETROCULTURES 2024 LA WILL BE “OIL CITIES AND POST-OIL CITIES.”
We especially invite paper and panel proposals related to the intersection of energy, infrastructure, and urban life, particularly those that seek to draw connections between Global North and South. But as in Petrocultures events past, we also welcome paper and panel proposals on any topic of current interest in energy and environmental humanities. This is your forum: Tell us where you think energy humanities is going from here.
PETROCULTURES 2024 AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.
The Petrocultures 2024 LA host institution will be the University of Southern California (USC), a leading private research university located in central Los Angeles, only minutes from Downtown LA. The USC Center on Science, Technology and Public Life is our primary on-campus sponsor. In addition to panels, keynote events will take place at USC in collaboration with local partners. Discounted room rates for conference attendees will be available on or near campus. More information will follow on registration fees and logistics, including options for remote participation, later in the summer.
SEND US YOUR ABSTRACTS
We are putting out this CFP earlier than usual to help enable international and early career scholars to attend. We will review submissions of 100 word abstracts for proposed individual papers and 300 word abstracts for proposed panels on a rolling basis with international applicants prioritized. The deadline for all abstracts is September 15, 2023. If you find yourself in need of an invitation letter to support a visa application, please let us know and we will do what we can to help.
INQUIRIES AND PROPOSALS – contactLA [at] petrocultures2024.com
The Petrocultures Los Angeles organizational team is Dominic Boyer (Rice U), Christina Dunbar-Hester (USC), Devin Griffiths (USC), Andy Lakoff (USC), Colin Maclay (USC), Ciruce Movahedi-Lankarani (USC), and Emily Rose Anderson (USC).