Doing Energy and Environmental History: A Conversation between Charles-François Mathis and Brigitte Stepanov

Event local time: 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. (Paris time)

Join us for a discussion about why historical analyses – and humanistic modes of thought more broadly – are indispensable to understanding how societies fuel themselves and conceive of energy over time. We will be focusing on how evaluating past notions of energy can allow us to take better stock of our current energy crises and help us find equitable and just solutions moving forward.

Co-sponsored by the Atlanta Global Studies Center.

About the Speakers

Brigitte Stepanov is an assistant professor of French and Francophone studies at Georgia Tech and a 2023-2024 Energy Equity, Environmental Justice, and Community Engagement Faculty Fellow. She writes and teaches about how categories of being, knowledge, and aesthetic forms are stretched and blurred by violence against land and life, and in turn, how ontologies and epistemologies are shaped by violent events. This thinking is inseparable from the weaponization of energy in conflict and the ecological consequences of war. In her current book project, Cruelty, War, Fiction: Redefining the In-Human, she dissects, through legal and literary frames, martial violence witnessed in Algeria, Rwanda, and France. Trained as a mathematician and a scholar of French and Francophone Studies, she finds herself at the intersection of several disciplines, each lending a lens through which to view our present and its shifting paradigms. She is the founder and director of the Energy Today Lab, an interdisciplinary research hub that reflects creatively and analytically on the energy – broadly defined from labor to thermodynamics – of our contemporary world.

Charles-François Mathis is a professor of contemporary history at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and a member of the Institute of Modern and Contemporary History. Former president of the University Network of Researchers on Environmental History, he is on the editorial committee of the Environment and History journal and director of the “The Environment has a History” collection, published by Champ Vallon. A specialist of environmental and British history, he is notably the author of In Nature We Trust. Les paysages anglais à l’ère industrielle (In Nature We Trust: English landscapes in the Industrial Age), Greening the City: Nature in French Towns from the 17th Century, co-authored with Emilie-Anne Pépy (The White Horse Press, 2020), and La Civilisation du Charbon (Coal Civilization, Vendémiaire, 2021).

French Biography: Charles-François Mathis est Professeur d’histoire contemporaine à l’Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, membre de l’Institut d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine. Ancien président du Réseau Universitaire de Chercheurs en Histoire Environnementale, il est membre du comité éditorial de la revue Environment and History et dirige la collection « L’Environnement a une histoire », chez Champ Vallon. Spécialiste d’histoire environnementale et britannique, il est notamment l’auteur de In Nature We Trust. Les paysages anglais à l’ère industrielle (2010), de La Ville végétale. Une histoire de la nature en milieu urbain (France, XVIIe – XXIe siècles), coécrit avec Emilie-Anne Pépy (2017) et de La Civilisation du Charbon (Vendémiaire, 2021).