George Caffentzis (US), political philosopher, autonomist Marxist, co-founder of the Midnight Notes Collective, professor at the University of Southern Maine.

Chelsea Chapman (US) is a cultural anthropologist and PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research is concerned with ontological pluralism in energy and authoritative energy knowledge, micropolitics in energy development conflict, and the intersection of power, religion, and environment in forecasts and prophesies of catastrophic socio-natural futures.

Yukon Flats People Speak: Ontologies of Dominion and Relationality in Alaskan Energy: Micropolitical interactions among multiple energy ontologies in ongoing negotiations over oil and gas development in central Alaska’s Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge; Charting local differences in conceptions of where energy comes from, how it should be used, and the very nature of what energy is.

Paul Corbit Brown (US), works for the organisation Keepers of the Mountains, West-Virginia, addressing the environmental, social, economic problems related to mountaintop removal mining in the Appalachians (where also a considerable share of German coal imports originate).

Timothé Feodoroff (NL) works for the Transnational Institute’s Agrarian Justice programme, Amsterdam. TNI is a transnational network of activist-researchers committed to critical analyses of the global problems of today and tomorrow; TNI Agrarian Justice aims to contribute to strengthening campaigns by social movements in order to make them more effective in resisting land and water grabbing.

Crash Course on Fracking: The current European situation regarding ‘unconventional’ methods of extracting shale gas in a global perspective, particularly in view of the recent struggles for the control on how land, water and the environment are to be used. 

Elena Gerebizza (IT), is energy and climate campaigner for Re:Common, a non-profit, public campaign organisation based in Rome, Italy.  Her experience is in campaigning to expose the environmental and social impacts of public financial support to major extractive projects in the oil and gas sector, including unconventional. In the last ten years, she participated to international civil society field visits to communities opposing large scale energy projects in Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Democratic Republic of Congo. Her most recent focus includes new European financial mechanisms to relaunch large scale energy infrastructure projects, facilitating the expansion of financial markets and the financialisation of energy infrastructure.

Re:Common is challenging the financialisation of the natural commons in solidarity with affected communities both in the South and in the North, advocating for new and democratic public financial institutions at national and global level to promote the commons (www.recommon.org)

Large scale energy infrastructure and financialisation as a lock in to dependency from fossil fuels and from financial markets. With examples (Project Bond Credit Enhancement initiative: the Castor project in Spain).

Matthew T. Huber (US), Syracuse University, Maxwell School, Department of Geography. Political economy of oil; oil, capitalism and life. Author of Lifeblood: Oil, Freedom, and the Forces of Capital (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2013.)

Oil, Neoliberalism, and the Ecology of Entrepreneurial Life:  The United States is ‘addicted to oil’ as the saying goes. But, efforts to ‘kick the habit’ must not only confront the material and technical aspects of automobility and suburban sprawl, but also the deep entanglements of oil-based practice with the broader cultural and political imaginaries of ‘life’. This talk traces the historical development of a specifically oil-powered imaginary of ‘entrepreneurial life’ central to the rightward movement or neoliberalization of American politics.

Petra Langheinrich (D/CO), works for the lawyer collective José Alvear Restrepo based in Bogotá. On the sociopolitical context and human rights abuses related to coal mining in Colombia (where one third of German coal imports originate).

Larry Lohmann (UK) is a founder of The Corner House, a UK-based solidarity and research organization and co-founder of the Durban Group for Climate Justice. Before that he worked with the Project for Ecological Recovery and other organizations in Thailand in the 1980s. At the Corner House he has since 1997 covered a wide range of issues related to environmental, social and economic justice, such as carbon markets, energy finance and ‘energy security’. He is the author of Mercados de Carbono: Neoliberalizacion del Clima(2012); Energy Security: For Whom? For What? (2012) (with Nicholas Hildyard and Sarah Sexton); Pulping the South: Industrial Tree Plantations in the Global Paper Economy (1996) (with Ricardo Carrere), Whose Common Future? Reclaiming the Commons (1992) (with Simon Fairlie, Nicholas Hildyard and Sarah Sexton), and, with many others, Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate, Privatization and Power (2006). He has also written many journal articles on topics including land and forest politics, racism, environmental conflict in Southeast Asia, the politics of cost-benefit analysis and neoclassical economics, globalization, commons, accounting, science studies, law and the discourses of development, population and environment. (www.thecornerhouse.org.uk)

Energy as Enclosure of Commons:  Any liberatory approach to energy needs to begin by acknowledging that the omnibus modern fossil-fuel-based concept of “energy” is all about maximizing the extraction of surplus and the velocity of turnover. Implications for movement-building are diverse and profound.

Sebastian Rötters (D), is consultant for climate and resource justice at the German NGO PowerShift since October 2013. Before that he worked as a consultant for mining at the international human rights NGO FIAN for several years and as an international observer for Peace Brigades International in Colombia for 18 months between 2004 and 2007. He lives in Berlin.

Anhand der Studien “Bitter Coal” (urgewald, FIAN, April 2013) und “Banking on Coal – Undermining our Climate” (urgewald, PowerShift et al., November 2013) wird Sebastian Rötters aufzeigen, dass die weltweite Kohleproduktion trotz des Klimawandels nach wie vor ansteigt. Er wird erklären, welche Länder und welche Firmen in erster Linie dafür verantwortlich sind und welche Banken die größten Finanziers der Kohlebergbau-Industrie sind. Er wird den Bogen nach Deutschland schlagen und die Rolle von RWE und anderen deutschen Stromkonzernen als Kohle-Produzenten und – importeuren kritisch beleuchten und darlegen, warum die Energiewende in Deutschland auch über die Grenzen des Landes hinaus aufmerksam verfolgt wird.

Benjamin Steininger (AT) is a cultural scientist, media theorist, historian of technology and exhibition maker. He studied cultural studies and philosophy at Humboldt-University Berlin. In 2013 he is guest scholar at liquid things. His main research topics include: a history of materials in the 20th century, theory and epistemology of fossil resources. He held scholarships at the Deutsches Museum Munich, MPIWG Berlin, University of Vienna, IFK Vienna and the ZfL Berlin. He wrote a book on the history of the German motorway system, a dissertation on catalysis as a key notion of the 20th century. Currently, he coordinates the setup of a participatory, digital showroom on 100 years of cultural history of fossil fuels in Austria (www.rohstoff-geschichte.at). Selected publications: Katalysator. Mobilmachung des Materiellen, in: Tumult –Schriften zur Verkehrswissenschaft vol. 40, 2013, Pipeline in: Tumult –Schriften zur Verkehrswissenschaft vol. 39, 2012, p.22-27, Raum-Maschine Reichsautobahn, Berlin 2005.

Pipeline und Katalyse – Zwei Medien der fossilen Moderne: Geologische Wissenschaften und chemische Industrien sind zentral für die Epoche der Moderne. Nahezu alle wichtigen Stoffe der Moderne: Kraftstoffe, Kunststoffe, Sprengstoffe, Pharmaka, Kunstdünger und damit auch Lebensmittel, stammen aus einem industriell-fossilen Komplex. Trotz ihrer großen Bedeutung ist die epistemische, aber auch die imaginäre Bedeutung dieser Industrie wenig untersucht. Der Beitrag nimmt zwei Kernmomente dieses durchaus widersprüchlichen Komplexes in den Blick. Pipelines verbinden die technische Gegenwart mit der Vorzeit des Planeten. Ökonomische Wertschöpfung basiert seit der Industriealisierung aus der Nutzung fossiler Energiekonten. Katalysatoren, und damit chemische Mittel der Beschleunigung und Steuerung, prägen seit 1900 die gesamte Produktion der Chemieindustrie. Protobiotisch, scheinbar ohne Energie zu verbrauchen, sind diese Stoffe wirksam – aus den Untergangsphantasien des fin de siècle wird modernes Wachstum, wird der Traum vom kostenlosen Fortschritt. In beiden Fällen sind hybride Zeit- und Steuerungstechniken am Werk. Das Tempo der Moderne erscheint als Effekt einer Verbindung von fossiler und technischer, von geologischer und chemischer, von zyklischer und linearer Zeit.

Terisa Turner (CA), University of Guelph. On Nigerian women’s struggle against the oil companies.

Gisa Weszkalnys (UK), is an anthropologist at the London School of Economics. For the last few years, her research has been concerned with the entanglement of geology, potentiality, and speculations about oil in the African Atlantic island state of São Tomé and Príncipe. In particular, Gisa has aimed to provide an anthropological critique of the concept of the resource curse, by questioning the “magic” it implies and showing how the transnational anticipatory politics it has triggered play out in people’s hopes and fears about oil extraction.

Oil’s Magic: What is the magic of oil that has seduced scholars, corporations, and people living in oil-producing countries? What can be gained from understanding it, not as a black box or deterministic force, but as a magic/materiality, the material outcome of a complex set of articulations between people, technologies, and substances in particular places and times.