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Fats and Spirits: A Story of Modern Humanities’ Energy Dependence


Tamir, Dan (2021). Fats and Spirits: A Story of Modern Humanities’ Energy Dependence. In: Mišík, Matúš; Kujundzic, Nada. Energy Humanities : Current State and Future Directions. Cham: Springer, 37-51.

Abstract

This chapter examines the relation between the social ability to dedicate time and resources to scholarship in the humanities, and the availability of energy. Its main argument is that the blooming of the humanities during the 19th and 20th centuries was tightly related to the great abundance of cheap fossil fuels – coal, gas, and, most significantly, petroleum—which sparked ‘growth’ in many aspects of human life, the humanities included. The humanities represent a human occupation which is not aimed at immediate gains or the satisfaction of the most basic needs; therefore, they have been among the first to suffer due to the declining availability of cheap and easy-to-get energy during the past decades. Dwindling resources and threats brought upon by greenhouse gas emissions are now putting an end to the modern flourishing of the humanities, which will need social, economic, and political supporting mechanisms different from those which have been supporting them for the past two centuries.

Abstract

This chapter examines the relation between the social ability to dedicate time and resources to scholarship in the humanities, and the availability of energy. Its main argument is that the blooming of the humanities during the 19th and 20th centuries was tightly related to the great abundance of cheap fossil fuels – coal, gas, and, most significantly, petroleum—which sparked ‘growth’ in many aspects of human life, the humanities included. The humanities represent a human occupation which is not aimed at immediate gains or the satisfaction of the most basic needs; therefore, they have been among the first to suffer due to the declining availability of cheap and easy-to-get energy during the past decades. Dwindling resources and threats brought upon by greenhouse gas emissions are now putting an end to the modern flourishing of the humanities, which will need social, economic, and political supporting mechanisms different from those which have been supporting them for the past two centuries.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:energy humanities peak oil
Language:English
Date:2021
Deposited On:04 Jan 2021 14:23
Last Modified:05 Jan 2021 09:06
Publisher:Springer
ISBN:978-3-030-57479-6
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57480-2_3
Related URLs:https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-57480-2 (Publisher)

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Content: Accepted Version
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only until 3 November 2021
Size: 211kB
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Embargo till: 2021-11-03
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