Energy and its limits shape our lives, connecting artistic and technological innovations, local communities and oppressive structures of power, political activism and affective fatigue, histories of environmental change and societal collapse, and the origin of life and entropic fate of the universe. This theme will bring together the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences to investigate the space between energy and exhaustion as a metaphorical realm and lived reality. Together we will explore the endless potentiality of energy and limiting effects of exhaustion as they impact aesthetic innovation, literary imagination, political anxieties, environmental limits, and activist movements—all touching upon our shared past, current political realities, and collective futures.

Energy /Exhaustion Courses

In multiple disciplines across the curriculum, courses foster inquiry into the rich intellectual possibilities raised by the theme. Energy/Exhaustion resonates in the relationship between art and activism, radical imaginations as a strategy for black survival and resistance, ethnographies of climate change, an examination of the links between climate change and infectious diseases, an analysis of the chemistry of earth’s finite resources, environmental justice in China, literary responses to migration and exile, stories of crisis and resilience prompted by climate change, the quest for freedom in Early Modern France, fictional utopias, the philosophical underpinnings of radical ecologies, attempts to transform Russian society through film, biblical prophecy and apocalypse, the struggle for human rights in Latin America, conflict and combat in Shakespeare, the intersection of museums and performance, the literature of poverty and homelessness, and many more!

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Theme Co-Sponsors

Dale Kocevski is an assistant professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. He performed his postdoctoral work at the University of California in Davis and Santa Cruz and graduate work at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. Prior to that, he received his Bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Michigan. Dale’s research focuses on the study of distant galaxies that host actively accreting supermassive black holes. There is mounting evidence that the evolution of galaxies is closely linked to the growth of their central black holes. How this connection is established remains one of the key unanswered questions in astrophysics today, and Dale wants to answer it!
Christopher Walker joined the Colby faculty in May 2017 as the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities. Chris holds a JD from Columbia University, and a PhD in English with a certificate in Environment and Society from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In the last two years at Colby, Chris has played a crucial role in inspiring students and faculty alike to engage with the Environmental Humanities. It is a mark of his success as a teacher that many of his students first learned about and fell in love with EH in his classes, and now form the greater part of the EH Student Advisory Board. Chris has also played a key role in developing the EH faculty seminar and the EH Summer Institute.

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