Gökçe Günel

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Arizona, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9461

Approve Date

April 25, 2017

Project Title

Gunel, Dr. Gokce, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on 'Powerships: Energy Imaginaries, Provisional Infrastructures and Afro-Asian Connections'

Preliminary abstract: Many countries around the world are having difficulty in meeting rising power demands, and employing quick energy generation mechanisms to satisfy the needs of their populations. These provisional infrastructures allow various state and private actors to extend their influence, unevenly bind cities, regions and continents, and refashion social and environmental relationships. This project will study the construction, use and political impact of such provisional energy infrastructures. Relying on detailed ethnographic fieldwork, it will show how quick solutions to energy poverty reorganize Afro-Asian networks, motivate alternative means of technological development, and transform political landscapes in the locations where they are designed, manufactured and utilized. One such technology is powerships — repurposed ships that serve as mobile power generators. Currently, the only producer of powerships is a Turkish company called Karadeniz, which converts second-hand boats into floating power plants. Powerships attach themselves to national grids, and using fuel oil and natural gas, produce inexpensive electricity for countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, Ghana, Zambia and Indonesia. Through multi-sited fieldwork in Turkey, Lebanon and Ghana, this project will explore the production and use of powerships, analyze the factors that facilitate such provisional solutions, and investigate domestic political responses to the implementation of short-term infrastructures. By doing so, it will contribute to the literature on energy imaginaries, infrastructure and Afro-Asian connections, and shed light on science and technology in the global South.