James Adams

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Irvine, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9722

Approve Date

October 23, 2018

Project Title

Adams, James R., U. of California, Irvine,CA - To aid research on 'Data Ideologies in Energy Politics: Negotiating Infrastructure Transition in Austin, Texas,' supervised by Dr. Kim Fortun

Preliminary abstract: Texas is the petrochemical capital of the United States and widely known for strong laws and culture supporting its fossil fuel industries. Nevertheless, Austin, Texas’s capital, has a wealth of local residents and organizations invested in transitioning to post-carbon energy resources. While the emerging field of transition studies has facilitated generative debates on the logistics of energy transition, these studies tend to conceive of transition planning and practice in terms of its technological, economic, and political challenges, to the neglect of its ethical, epistemological, and affective implications. In Austin, the ethical tensions between the obvious technical and procedural challenges of energy transition and the ensuing environmental hazards of conventional energy practices have fractured the local environmentally conscious community, bringing the issue of what constitutes responsible energy governance to the fore. With this project I propose to foreground these culturally inflected dimensions of energy science and governance through an analysis of how energy transition planning takes shape in and through diverse semiotic practices, modes of producing and circulating data, and through experimental arrangements of human and non-human entities. Accordingly, the project will advance a growing literature on the anthropology of energy, social studies of climate change, and the anthropology of science, technology, and infrastructure in the public sphere.