PhD Opportunity:Towards Sustainable Energy Futures for Displaced Communities

A fully-funded PhD opportunity at Coventry University to explore sustainable energy futures for displaced communities drawing on anthropology and engineering.  

Project details

Globally, over 80% of the 8.7 million refugees and displaced persons in camps have little or no access to electricity. For refugee settlements and host communities to have access to reliable, sustainable and modern energy, humanitarian responses need appropriate guidance and data to deliver improved energy solutions in displacement settings.
This transdisciplinary project will build on the HEED project principles of community co-design. It will draw on fields of energy anthropology, energy ethics and socially informed Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) design approaches to rethink energy protocols in refugee settings. The project will use qualitative methods such as interviews and community-based participatory research.

The project objectives are:

• To understand the social, cultural and subjective meanings of energy in the case study community to support energy systems design that can respond to and respect the energy needs and aspirations of displaced people
• To examine decision-making processes and preferences about energy access and use of households, individuals and collectives of geographically co-located people to inform energy systems design protocols that promote security, well-being and improve life chances of displaced people.
• To add to literature on the barriers that limit displaced communities from accessing and benefitting from modern, affordable, and safe energy.
The closing date for the application is 24 May, 2021.

Further details can be found here:

Please contact Esra Kaytaz at if you have any questions about the call for applications. 

Ethnographies of Power. A Political Anthropology of Energy

Energy related infrastructures are crucial to political organization. They shape the contours of states and international bodies, as well as corporations and communities, framing their material existence and their fears and idealisations of the future. Ethnographies of Power brings together ethnographic studies of contemporary entanglements of energy and political power. Revisiting classic anthropological notions of power, it asks how changing energy related infrastructures are implicated in the consolidation, extension or subversion of contemporary political regimes and discovers what they tell us about politics today.


Introduction: Politicizing Energy Anthropology
Tristan Loloum, Simone Abram and Nathalie Ortar

Chapter 1. Southern Spectrums: The Raw to the Smooth Edges of Energopower
Raminder Kaur

Chapter 2. Ecuadorian Amazonia amidst Energy Transitions
Chris Hebdon

Chapter 3. ‘Nepal’s Water, the People’s Investment’? Hydropolitical Volumes and Speculative Refrains
Austin Lord and Matthäus Rest

Chapter 4. Energopolitics in Times of Climate Change: Productive and Unproductive Politics of Energy Infrastructures in Poland
Aleksandra Lis

Chapter 5. The Earth is Trembling, and We Are Shaken: Governmentality and Resistance in the Groningen Gas Field
Elisabeth N. Moolenaar

Chapter 6. Delving at the Core of Everyday Life: Between Power Legacies and Political Struggles, the Case of Wood-Burning Stoves in France
Nathalie Ortar

Afterword: People Thinking Energetically
Leo Coleman

Ethnographies of Power Edited by Tristan Loloum, Simone Abram and Nathalie Ortar is available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) with support from the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Ethnographies of Power is the first edited volume of the Energy Anthropology Network.

Doctoral Fellow in Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Lausanne

LACS is looking for a doctoral fellow (5 years, fully funded) with interests in some combination of the following: anthropology of energy and the energy transition; economic anthropology; extractivism; anthropology of materialities; resource conflicts; and the anthropology of alternative futures. A requirement for this position will be the ability to assist courses in French, although the working languages of LACS are English and French. 

For more information and to apply: Doctoral Fellow in Cultural and Social Anthropology 

CFP, Special issue of Roadsides on sensory dimensions of infrastructure


Collection no. 006 – Senses

In the study of critical infrastructure, debates over the visibility and invisibility of sociotechnical systems have privileged the visual over other sensory engagements. While some scholars have argued that material infrastructures remain out of sight until they fail, others have pointed to a spectrum of perceptibility across time and space. And yet, encounters with infrastructure are more than merely visual. Even in its refusal to be seen, infrastructure can be felt and embodied through other, interdependent sensory fields: the vibrating sound of generators, the pungent smell of petroleum, the tactile shock of electricity, the bitter taste of chlorination all convey the functioning or malfunctioning of systems that sustain our daily life. Rather than think along the lines of sensory deprivation then, infrastructure—broken or not—evokes a multiplicity of embodied sensations across the human sensorium. While the senses may thus serve to mediate infrastructure, the meaning of infrastructure is likewise made and mediated through the senses.

 This issue of Roadsides focuses on the sensory dimensions of infrastructure that have yet to be adequately explored and theorized in the literature. The proliferation of scholarship on material infrastructures continues to emphasize the social and the technical over the sensorial, rather than bring these approaches together to study the dense networks that facilitate the provision of goods and resources. This collection seeks to understand the diverse and contingent ways in which we apprehend and make sense of infrastructural worlds through particular modes of sensing. We invite scholars to consider how sensations of infrastructure produce cultural meaning and inspire political action in response to racial, gender, and class inequalities. We especially encourage a non-ocularcentric perspective that addresses one or more of the following questions:

·      In what ways do people “sense” infrastructure and how do those embodied experiences deepen our understanding of human and nonhuman relationships to sociotechnical things?

·      How are social and political subjectivities generated through sensory encounters with infrastructures and their toxicities?

·      What might be gained from bringing the field of sensory studies together with the growing literature on infrastructure?  What new perspectives on infrastructure can a focus on the senses provide?

·      How might an attention to the politics of sensation offer new understandings of citizenship and social belonging or exclusion?

·      How are the senses governed through infrastructure? And conversely how is the state “sensed” through infrastructure

·      What methods might best be deployed to capture the range of human sensory experiences of infrastructure and their significances? 

We invite textual and cross-genre, multimedia submissions that employ innovative and interdisciplinary approaches through the arts and/or other forms of audiovisual material. 

Please send a title, abstract (max. 300 words) and a short biography (max. 200 words) by April 20, 2021 with the subject line “Roadsides: Senses” to Please also specify the type of contribution that you intend to submit (see Guide for Authors The authors of conditionally invited essays will be notified by April 30, 2021. Final essays are due by May 31, 2021 and will subsequently undergo a “double-open” peer review. Publication of the issue is scheduled for November 2021.

The issue will be edited by Christina Schwenkel (University of California, Riverside; ).

Cover design by Chari Hamratanaphon.

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