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REF NO.: 136

SUBJECT: Rescheduled: How to Know About Oil – The Cultural Politics

DATE: March 20

The Department of English at Memorial University presents Dr. Imre Szeman, Canada Research Chair at the University of Alberta, discussing the cultural politics of oil on Thursday, March 21, in the Arts and Administration Building, room A-1049 from 12-1:30 p.m.
How to Know About Oil –The Cultural Politics, emerges from Dr. Szeman’s current work with the University of Alberta’s petrocultures research group (, whose aim is to research the social and cultural implications of oil and energy on individuals, communities and societies around the world.
The thrust of the lecture will address the socio-theoretical problems the current crisis of oil raise (problems that have nothing to do, Dr. Szeman says, in fact, with the raw stuff of petro-carbons). Oil has almost always been seen as an external energy input into our socio-cultural systems and histories – an input that can easily be replaced by new or different forms of energy. But what if oil is in fact fundamental to the societies we have now? What do we learn if we think about social, political, cultural and even intellectual developments in relation to oil?
By looking at the way in which oil has risen as an aesthetic and ethical problem in history, this talk will offer a general overview of why oil is such a crucial global and local issue and explain why anyone studying culture should have an interest in the subject.
Dr. Imre Szeman is Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies and professor of English, film studies and sociology at the University of Alberta. He conducts research on and teaches in the areas of social and cultural theory, film and visual culture, globalization and nationalism, and Canadian studies.
Dr. Szeman is the recipient of the John Polanyi Prize in Literature (2000), the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award (2003), the Scotiabank-AUCC Award for Excellence in Internationalization (2004), an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (2005-7) and the President’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision at McMaster University (2008), among other awards. He is the founder of the Canadian Association of Cultural Studies and a founding member of the U.S. Cultural Studies Association. Dr. Szeman is founding editor of Reviews in Cultural Theory and a member of the editorial collective of the journal Mediations.

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For further information, please contact Janet Harron, communications co-ordinator, Faculty of Arts, at 709-864-8292, 709-749-1707 (mobile) or


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