Jan 03, 2016
Imre Szeman is Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies and Professor of English, Film Studies and Sociology at the University of Alberta. He conducts research on and teaches in the areas of energy and environmental studies, literary and cultural theory, social and political philosophy, and Canadian studies. In 2015, Szeman received the J. Gordin Kaplan Award for Excellence in Research (2015), the U of Alberta’s most prestigious research award that recognizes research excellence in humanities, social sciences, law, education and fine arts.
The decision by President Obama in November 2015 to kill the Keystone XL pipeline project was followed a week later by new Prime Minister Trudeau's implementation of a moratorium on oil tanker traffic on British Columbia's coast, effectively killing the Northern Gateway pipeline project. The block on these two pipeline projects has left oil from the Alberta oilfields landlocked and with limited ways to get oil to markets. Does this mean that the environmental threat of large cross-country, cross-border pipeline projects is over? Or are its effects and impacts felt in other ways, too? This speech will provide an overview of the politics of pipelines in North America. In what ways do pipelines engage in "extrastatecraft" -- the use of infrastructure to move prevailing ideologies across borders and around the world? And how might the political drama over pipelines understand the role of energy and its infrastructures in global neoliberalism?