General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Just transition to low carbon economies
Language English
Module lecturer prof. UAM dr hab. Aleksandra Lis-Plesińska
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Associate Professor
Faculty Faculty of Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Semester 2024/2025 (winter)
Duration 30
USOS code tbc


Module aim (aims)

The aim of this module is to present students with the concept of just transition to low carbon economies and to critically discuss different cases of transition. We will deal with the following processes: phasing out coal in vulnerable regions, renewable energy project – their positives and downsides, electric mobility – its societal distribution – and energy poverty. The main conceptual apparatus that will be proposed to frame our discussions are different types of justice: distributional, procedural, justice as recognition, epistemic justice. We will discuss different visions of energy futures and socio-technical imaginaries as institutionalized and embedding transition processes in different contexts.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

It is required that participants in this course have a good command of English language – both in speaking and reading – as many readings will be assigned for each class.


Week 1:                      Introduction: climate change, energy transition and social justice


Week 2:                      Concepts: different dimensions of energy justice

Week 3:                      From environmental justice to climate justice

Week 4:                      Marxist critic of capital-nature relations

Week 5:                      Phasing out coal – visions and vulnerabilities (an invited guest?)

Week 6:                      Energy humanities and the concept of Energopower

Week 7:                      Renewable energy sources – green and black renewables

Week 8:                      Renewable energy sources – wind projects in Mexico

Week 9:                      Energy poverty – how to measure and how to address it

Week 10:         The aesthetics of petro-cultures and petro-masculinities

Week 11:                     Electric mobility – for whom?

Week 12:         Autonomous vehicles – a seductive vision of a robot taxi and other promises of artificial intelligence


Week 13:         Students’ presentations


Week 14:         Students’ presentations


Week 15:         Students’ presentations

Reading list

  1. J. Heffron, D. McCauley, The concept of energy justice across the disciplines, Energy Policy 105 (2017) 658–667,
  2. Ramazan, S., Voyvoda, E., Lacey-Barnacle, M., Karababa, E., Topal, C., Islambay, D., Energy justice - a social sciences and humanities cross-cutting theme report., Cambridge: Shape Energy (2017). (accessed January 29, 2020).
  3. High, Mette M. and Jessica M. Smith. 2019. Energy and Ethics? Special Issues of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Volume 25(S1)
  4. Cohen, B. and G. Ottinger. 2011. “Introduction: Environmental Justice and the Transformation of Science and Engineering”, in: Cohen, B. and G. Ottinger (eds) Technoscience and Environmental Justice. MIT Press.
  5. Kim Fortun “Afterword: Working Faultlines” ibidem.
  6. Climate Gangsters vs. Climate Justice
  7. Bali Principles of Climate Justice, 29 August 2002
  8. Andreas Malm (2016) Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming, Verso: London, New York. (selections in the class folder)
  9. Jason W. Moore (2015) Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital, Verso: London, New York. (selections in the class folder)
  10. Magdalena Kuchler, Gavin Bridge (2018) Down the black hole: Sustaining national socio-technical imaginaries of coal in Poland, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 41, 2018. Pages 136-147.

  11. Mitchell, T. 2011. Carbon democracy: political power in the age of oil. Verso: London, New York. “Introduction” and “Chapter 1” or Carbon Democracy in Economy and Society

  12. Boyer, D. (2014) Energopower: An Introduction, Anthropological Quarterly , Spring 2014, Vol. 87, No. 2 (Spring 2014), pp. 309-333

  13. “Introduction” from Energy Humanities by D. Boyer and I. Szeman, 2017, John Hopkins University Press.
  14. Jaume Bartolome Franquesa (2018) Power Struggles: Dignity, Value, and the Renewable Energy Frontier in Spain. Indiana University Press. Chapter 6 “Accessing Wind”
  15. Energopolitics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene, Dominic Boyer, Duke University Press. Chapter 2 “La Ventosa”. Energopolitics is one half of the duograph Wind and Power in the Anthropocene, along with Ecologics.
  16. Sareen, S., Thomson, H., Herrero, S. T., Gouveia, J. P., Lippert, P. Lis, A. (2020) “European energy poverty metrics: Scales, prospects and limits” Global Transitions 2(2020): 26-36.
  17. Energy Poverty in the EU
  18. Wenzel, Jennifer(2006) 'Petro-magic-realism: toward a political ecology of Nigerian literature', Postcolonial Studies, 9: 4, 449 — 464, To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/13688790600993263
  19. Daggett, C. N. (2018). Petro-masculinity: Fossil Fuels and Authoritarian Desire. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 030582981877581. doi:10.1177/0305829818775817