Energy History

The Energy History Working Group will provide a showcase for works-in-progress within the field of energy history, globally conceived. There is strong interest for a dedicated group to discuss proposals, workshop papers, and share ideas within the field. Along with papers published in the Journal of Energy History, energy history papers and panels feature prominently at conferences such as American Society for Environmental History, Society for the History of Technology, Labor and Working Class History Association, and others. However, despite over two decades of growing interest, there are few dedicated venues for energy historians to gather and share work. This Working Group will help to fill this gap.

Please set your timezone at

Consortium Respectful Behavior Policy

Participants at Consortium activities will treat each other with respect and consideration to create a collegial, inclusive, and professional environment that is free from any form of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

Participants will avoid any inappropriate actions or statements based on individual characteristics such as age, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, nationality, political affiliation, ability status, educational background, or any other characteristic protected by law. Disruptive or harassing behavior of any kind will not be tolerated. Harassment includes but is not limited to inappropriate or intimidating behavior and language, unwelcome jokes or comments, unwanted touching or attention, offensive images, photography without permission, and stalking.

Participants may send reports or concerns about violations of this policy to

Upcoming Meetings

  • Friday, October 13, 2023 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm EDT
    • Chao Ren, “Global Circulation of Low-End Expertise: Knowledge, Hierarchy, and Labor Migration in a Burmese Oilfield”


  • Friday, November 10, 2023 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm EST
    • Petra Dolata and Victor McFarland, “Oil Consultant Walter J. Levy”


  • Friday, December 8, 2023 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm EST
    • Wout Saelens, “Energy politics: urban fuel policy and the transition to coal in Ghent (eighteenth-nineteenth centuries).”


  • Friday, January 12, 2024 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm EST
    • Julia Mead, “Frozen Assets: Czechoslovakia’s 1979 Blizzard and the Energetic Social Contract of Late Socialism”


  • Friday, February 9, 2024 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm EST
    • Chad Montrie, “‘What is Labour’s Stake?’: Workers and the History of Environmentalism in Alberta.”


  • Friday, March 8, 2024 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm EST
    • Minseok Jang, Testing a New Energy Resource: Fire Tests and the Risk of Kerosene in the Anglo-American World, 1859-1911


  • Friday, April 12, 2024 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm EDT
    • Andrew Kettler, “Disenchanting the Senses: Sulfuric Discourse and the World System”


  • Friday, May 10, 2024 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm EDT
    • Odinn Melsted and Candida Sánchez-Burmester, “Geoscience Spillover: The Oil Industry and Geothermal Development in Greater California, 1960s-1970s”
    • Dante LaRiccia, “Kurt Waldheim, the United Nations, and the Campaign for a ‘World Energy Order’


  • Friday, June 14, 2024 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm EDT
    • Joya John, Energy Histories, Museums, and Postcolonial Development in India


Past Meetings

  • September 8, 2023

    "Crude Oils: Petroleum Culture in Postwar Britain," Tobah Aukland-Peck

  • July 14, 2023

     James Allison,  “Seeing Coal: The Geologists, Local Actors, and Distant Capitalists that Industrialized Appalachia.”

  • June 9, 2023

    ·      Tobah Aukland-Peck, “Mineral landscapes: The Mine and British Modernism.”
    ·      Dr. Helge Wendt, “Building materials from coal-waste. An extension of the history of energy in the interwar period in France and Germany.”

  • May 12, 2023

    V. M. Roberts, “Grandpa Tallman’s Engine.”

  • April 14, 2023
    • Michiel Bron, “Uranium’s geographies: How the geographical properties of uranium determined the formation of an infamous cartel and the involvement of oil companies in the uranium market.”
    • Hilary Blum, “The Public Need to Know: Public Relations, Public History, and Secrecy at the Hanford Nuclear Site.”

  • March 10, 2023

    Nathan N. Kapoor, "The Coal Answer: The Huntly Power Station and New Zealand's Energy Regime."

  • February 10, 2023

    Katja Bruisch, “More-than-human histories of extraction: Labour at the margins of Russia’s fossil economy.”

  • January 13, 2023
    • Ritam Sengupta, “The Laws of Electricity and the Laws of Men: Governing technical conduct in colonial India.”
    • Matthew Shutzer, “Machines of Development: Ecology and Energy at the End of Empire.”

  • December 9, 2022

    Jennifer Eaglin, “Brazilian Nuclear Ambitions, Hydroelectricity, and Water Resources.”

  • November 11, 2022

    Elizabeth Chatterjee and Sachaet Pandey, “Dams and the Deep Earth: Human Geological Agency and the Koyna Earthquake of 1967.”

Group Conveners

  • brian.leech's picture

    Brian Leech

    Brian Leech is Associate Professor of History at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. He is an environmental historian of North American regions with a focus on the history of natural resources, including mining, energy, and food. Leech is the author of The City That Ate Itself: Butte, Montana and Its Expanding Berkeley Pit (2018) and he is at work on two projects: a history of the portrayal of mining in popular culture and a history of speed limits in the American West.


  • Robert Lifset

    Robert Lifset is an Associate Professor of History in the Honors College at the University of Oklahoma. His books include Power on the Hudson, Storm King Mountain and The Emergence of Modern American Environmentalism (2014) and American Energy Policy in the 1970s (2014). Lifset is currently researching a history of the energy crisis of the 1970s. Robert Lifset is also the founding web and list editor of H-Energy (, an online, interdisciplinary website devoted to the study of energy history.


  • Sstanfordmcin's picture

    Sarah Stanford-McIntyre

    Sarah Stanford-McIntyre is an Assistant Professor in the Herbst Program for Engineering, Ethics & Society at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her book project, Natural Risk: An Environmental History of West Texas Oil and the Rise of Sunbelt Texas (Forthcoming, Columbia University Press), examines how oil workers responded to industry hazards and shaped Texas industrialization. She is co-editor of American Energy Cinema (West Virginia University Press), which historicizes American film depictions of the energy industries.
    She has also published on grain elevator disasters, oil industry labor battles, computing and geophysics, Texas hydroelectric development, and wind energy. She is beginning a second monograph on renewable energy development in the US Southwest.


185 Members