Energy Infrastructures and the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press

This project focuses on representations of energy infrastructures in the nineteenth-century Anglophone periodical press. I posit that the periodical press of the nineteenth-century played a central role in the creation of systems and epistemologies of energy that continue to structure our understanding of and relationship with energy today. In particular, I am interested in the affordances of the periodical as a miscellaneous literary form for creating and negotiating energy imaginaries, the connections between energy infrastructures and the British Empire, and how understanding these imaginaries and connections may help us grapple with our relationship with energy today.

The project is situated in the energy humanities, an emerging field of the last decade that seeks to understand how energy systems shape history, culture, and literature and that is likely to gain in importance and relevance in the coming years. A growing group of researchers within the energy humanities have turned to the nineteenth century to find ways of understanding our conflict-ridden relationship with energy, arguing that the roots of the current energy and climate crisis lie in the fossil fuel economy of the nineteenth-century. The project posits that periodical press was vital in enabling and structuring the global imagination of energy systems, indeed of energy as a system, in the first place. The nineteenth-century Anglophone periodical press in particular remains under-researched from this perspective and my project will lead to the first book-length study on the central relevance of the periodical press in the creation of energy systems.

The poster below provides an initial overview over a section of the project on energy infrastructures and the British Empire.

Featured Image by Bence Balla-Schottner