Presentation in the ASCA Cities seminar by Dr. Imre Szeman, University of Waterloo.
Pipelines were never meant to be involved in politics. Over the past decade, however, pipelines have entered the mainstream of political discussion and debate as never before. Around the world, the new visibility of pipelines is due to intensified anxieties about the impact of fossil fuel use on the planetary ecosystem and its repercussions for the future of the environment. If pipelines now figure politically in ways that they never have before, it is because they index and figure the means by which infrastructure helped produce fossil fueled modernity and its consequences: a global society fueled by dirty energy, whose quotidian operations constitute a threat to existence.
What are the new politics of pipelines and how do these play out amidst the new set of complex sovereignties that have emerged in 21st century Canada? And what lessons do Canadian pipeline politics have for other sites and spaces of resource extraction?
Imre Szeman is University Research Chair and Professor of Communication Arts at the University of Waterloo. Most recently, he is author of On Petrocultures: Globalization, Culture and Energy (2019) and co-author of After Oil (2016), and co-editor of Energy Humanities: An Anthology (2017) and Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and Environment (2017), among other books. He is currently at work on a book called Theory After Energy (MIT Press).