A transdisciplinary and genealogical analysis of the experiences of European dictatorships and political regimes in the 20th century has become an urgent task in a context characterised by the rise of the extreme right, the return of war to European territory in Ukraine and the dependence of our societies on fossil fuels, which are responsible for anthropogenic global warming and whose future availability is threatened. In order to contribute to rethinking and intervening in this scenario, the international conference “Modernity, Energy and Power. An eco-energetic cultural history of Southern Europe” explores the historical relationship between colonialism, authoritarianism and fossil fuels from the fields of the ecological and energy humanities.

Focusing on Southern Europe, these two days analyse the developmentalist projects of the Second World War and their link with the implementation of a fossil metabolism, but also with the emergence of other alternative energy imaginaries (such as hydroelectric or nuclear energy), all in a period conditioned by the global expansion of neo-capitalism and the tensions arising from the Cold War. This approach implies considering the colonial vector that runs through the energy imaginaries of industrial modernity, tracing its emergence during the 19th century, its variations under the fascist regimes of the 20th century, and its perpetuation through the intrinsic violence of more recent extractivism.

What is the link between different forms of modern power and the energy regimes of industrial modernity? To what extent are energy alternatives to fossil modernity driving the transformations necessary to confront the ecological emergency? What can we learn from the political history of energy in our context to confront the current ecological and democratic crossroads?

You can find the full programme of the event at this link.

Organised by
Museo Reina Sofía; Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Dept. of Humanities: Philosophy, Language and Literature); Technique and Ecological Humanities Research Group (THECO) of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Project 101086202 – Speak4Nature – HORIZON-MSCA-2021-SE-01. T), and CSIC (Research project “Energy Humanities: Energy and socio-cultural imaginaries between the industrial revolution and the ecosocial crisis” (PID2020-113272RA-I00, HUMENERGE)).

Organising committee
Adrián Almazán (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid), Alberto Berzosa (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), Carolina Espinoza (Museo Reina Sofía), Alberto García Aznar (Museo Reina Sofía), Germán Labrador (Museo Reina Sofía), Mariona Peraire (Museo Reina Sofía) and Jaime Vindel (CSIC).