ANT464H5F - The End of Coal: An Ethnographic Approach

Donald Trump holding a Trump Digs Coal sign at a rally

Professor Andrea Muehlebach
Fall 2017 term: Wednesdays 11:00-13:00 in IB 377

UPDATED Course Description as of August 8, 2017:

“Coal is Dead” is a phrase often heard these days, and yet it is quite emphatically not. The continued relevance of coal became clear for all to see when President Trump made the slogan “Trump Digs Coal” central to his political platform. This class looks at the strange afterlife of coal in order to pose social, historical, and cultural questions about the global transition towards cleaner energies. Why is this transition so protracted and piece-meal? In what ways are the foundations of our societies (our “carbon democracies,” as Timothy Mitchell put it) built up through coal and other dirty energies? How is coal connected to the question of labor, wealth, and (white) masculinity? And in what ways have mines become sites of contestation all over the world? This class should be of interest to students who would like to explore political and environmental anthropology as well as more general questions regarding history, power, labor, masculinity, and social change.

This class will NOT include fieldtrips that will require the payment of additional travel costs through ancillary fees.

Prerequisite: ANT204, ANT206

Recommended Preparation: ANT358H5 and ANT364H5 strongly recommended, priority may be given to those who have these courses depending on class enrollment.