Feminist Energy Futures: Power Shift and Environmental Social Justice

Feminists of all genders have been at the forefront of environmental social justice activism in Canada and around the world and have much to contribute to the urgent collective project of energy transition from petroleum inequality and dependency to equitable renewable systems. Yet feminist and allied insights, perspectives and practical innovations are once again being ignored. The ways the sexist division between public and private domains of our lives and our society are organized hold significant and unjust consequences for women and other feminized and racialized groups. Feminized labour is made invisible and devalued through its relegation as private domesticity or as negatively stereotyped women’s work; feminist political activism and agency is ignored or repressed unless it conforms to patriarchal public norms and expectations; feminist solidarities, modes of expression and conviviality are denigrated unless they can be co-opted, commodified and capitalized by patriarchal and colonial institutions while the injustices created by economic growth and capitalist development are externalized as private, personal problems. This research project examines, documents, and theorizes how feminists and their allies are resisting these injustices and inventing just and sustainable energy futures.

Research Objectives

Using feminist intersectional theories and qualitative methods this interdisciplinary research project will record existing and co-construct new feminist knowledge about how we might collectively delink from existing modern colonialist and capitalist production platforms that degrade ecosystems, accelerate global warming and exploit gendered and racialized bodies. We will do so by creating an archive of energy transition texts (stories, video, art, textiles, artefacts) produced through participatory action research; by analyzing how feminist ideas, narratives, digital media creations and social justice activism intersect with women’s marginalized traditions and practices of social reproduction and common value creation on which the sustainability of households and communities depend; and by showing how practices of social reproduction are important for developing feminist strategies of communication and networks of cooperation, conscientization and repoliticization. The significance of Feminist Energy Futures is its documentation of a network of feminist knowledge in relation to energy transition, its analysis of how this knowledge unfolds in feminist activism, how it is mediated, and how it is represented in different places through cultural production, as well as how this knowledge is remembered and transmitted through a media ecology. We examine, moreover, how feminist environmental justice practices, knowledges and communication strategies are rooted in and build upon the invisible, feminized labour of common value creation that make households and communities sustainable. This project aims to not only identify feminist knowledge absent from patriarchal institutions and expertise, but to empower feminist social actors through participatory action research methods to creatively capture their stories and in so doing to recognize individual and community-held wisdom.

Research Principal Investigators

Dr. Sheena Wilson, Campus Saint-Jean
Dr. Sourayan Mookerjea, Department of Sociology
contact: justpowers@ualberta.ca

Check out our sister projects:

Speculative Energy Futures

Molecular Media and Regenerative Sympoetics

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