30 Jul New and Forthcoming Titles

Paula Anca Farca (ed), Energy in Literature: Essays on Energy and Its Social and Environmental Implications in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literary Texts (TrueHeart Press, July 2015)

Description from TrueHeart Press:

How are sources of energy presented in twentieth and twenty-first century literary texts? Energy in Literature shows the connections in twentieth and twenty-first century literary texts between energy, society, and environment. The edited volume includes a substantial introduction, poems on energy, eighteen critical essays from international contributors, and a photo essay. The book explores how authors of recent world literature present energy sources ranging from coal and oil to solar, wind, nuclear, biofuels, and hydropower, and how these sources affect local and global communities. The anthology focuses on the impact energy sources have on individuals and the environment, and on salient themes including pollution; disposal of waste; industrial landscapes; sustainability;  resource extraction and its economic, social, and developmental consequences; the intertwining between nature and culture; and gender and ethnic identity constructions.

Barry Lord, Art and Energy (University of Chicago Press, 2014)

Description from U Chicago Press:

In Art& Energy, Barry Lord argues that human creativity is deeply linked to the resources available on earth for our survival. From our ancient mastery of fire through our exploitation of coal, oil, and gas, to the development of today’s renewable energy sources, each new source of energy fundamentally transforms our art and culture—how we interact with the world, organize our communities, communicate, and conceive of and assign value to art. By analyzing art, artists, and museums across eras and continents, Lord demonstrates how our cultural values and artistic expression are formed by our efforts to access and control the energy sources that make these cultures possible. Ultimately, Art& Energy reveals how, in Lord’s words, “energy transition is a powerful engine of cultural change.”

Ian Morris, Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve (Princeton UP, 2015)

Description from Princeton UP:

Most people in the world today think democracy and gender equality are good, and that violence and wealth inequality are bad. But most people who lived during the 10,000 years before the nineteenth century thought just the opposite. Drawing on archaeology, anthropology, biology, and history, Ian Morris, author of the best-selling Why the West Rules—for Now, explains why. The result is a compelling new argument about the evolution of human values, one that has far-reaching implications for how we understand the past—and for what might happen next.
Fundamental long-term changes in values, Morris argues, are driven by the most basic force of all: energy. Humans have found three main ways to get the energy they need—from foraging, farming, and fossil fuels. Each energy source sets strict limits on what kinds of societies can succeed, and each kind of society rewards specific values. In tiny forager bands, people who value equality but are ready to settle problems violently do better than those who aren’t; in large farming societies, people who value hierarchy and are less willing to use violence do best; and in huge fossil-fuel societies, the pendulum has swung back toward equality but even further away from violence.
But if our fossil-fuel world favors democratic, open societies, the ongoing revolution in energy capture means that our most cherished values are very likely to turn out—at some point fairly soon—not to be useful any more.

Peter A. Shulman, Coal and Empire: The Birth of Energy Security in Industrial America (Johns Hopkins UP,June 2015)

Description from Johns Hopkins UP:

Since the early twentieth century, Americans have associated oil with national security. From World War I to American involvement in the Middle East, this connection has seemed a self-evident truth. But as Peter A. Shulman argues, Americans had to learn to think about the geopolitics of energy in terms of security, and they did so beginning in the nineteenth century: the age of coal. Coal and Empire insightfully weaves together pivotal moments in the history of science and technology by linking coal and steam to the realms of foreign relations, navy logistics, and American politics. Long before oil, coal allowed Americans to rethink the place of the United States in the world.
Shulman explores how the development of coal-fired, ocean-going steam power in the 1840s created new questions, opportunities, and problems for U.S. foreign relations and naval strategy. The search for coal, for example, helped take Commodore Matthew Perry to Japan in the 1850s. It facilitated Abraham Lincoln’s pursuit of black colonization in 1860s Panama. After the Civil War, it led Americans to debate whether a need for coaling stations required the construction of a global island empire. Until 1898, however, Americans preferred to answer the questions posed by coal with new technologies rather than new territories. Afterward, the establishment of America’s island empire created an entirely different demand for coal to secure the country’s new colonial borders, a process that paved the way for how Americans incorporated oil into their strategic thought.
By exploring how the security dimensions of energy were not intrinsically linked to a particular source of power but rather to political choices about America’s role in the world, Shulman ultimately suggests that contemporary global struggles over energy will never disappear, even if oil is someday displaced by alternative sources of power.