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The Rope Swing

Imre Szeman and the Petrocultures Research Group

April 2016
PB 978-0-9950420-0-1


After Oil explores the social, cultural, and political changes needed to make possible a full-scale transition from fossil fuels to new forms of energy. Written collectively by participants in the first After Oil School, After Oil explains why the adoption of renewable, ecologically sustainable energy sources is only the first step of energy transition.

Energy plays a critical role in determining the shape, form, and character of our daily existence, which is why a genuine shift in our energy usage demands a wholesale transformation of the petrocultures in which we live. After Oil provides readers with the resources to make this happen.


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Imre Szeman is Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies and Professor of English, Film Studies, and Sociology at the University of Alberta. His recent books include Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and Environment and The Energy Humanities Reader. He is the codirector and cofounder of the Petrocultures Research Group.


"An indispensable, accessible cluster of essays that ponder how leaving oil behind could—with careful and collective thought, imagination, and action— be an opportunity to create a world more just and equal than the one that oil has made. Pathbreaking both for what it says and how it was written, this little book demonstrates the value of interdisciplinary conversation about the social, ecological, aesthetic, libidinal, economic, and political aspects of the oil-soaked present and about the impasses that stand in the way of life after oil. Essential reading for everyone."
Jennifer Wenzel, Columbia University