Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Pressemitteilungen

THESys Lecture by Prof. Boyer & THESys Award Ceremony

Lecture on "Base Load and its discontents" by Prof. Boyer and THESys Award Ceremony
  • Wann 07.12.2017 von 17:15 bis 20:00
  • Wo Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Grimm-Zentrum, Geschwister-Scholl-Str. 1/3, Auditorium (ground floor)
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Base Load and its discontents


This lecture seeks to document changes in expert thinking about how electricity can and should be generated and provided in the future; and it contributes to a broader scholarly effort to surface the role that electricity has played in our modernity. 

Dominic Boyer argues specifically that the relationship of electricity and modernity fundamentally involves the problem of desire—specifically the desires for modern luxury and convenience, the desire for freedom from onerous labor, but also the irrational desire of endless economic growth and wealth generation and the repetition compulsion of investment in fossil fuels even as signs of global warming and ecological disruption multiply.

Since psychoanalysis is the only domain of social theory that takes desire seriously as a political force in its own right, Freud emerges as a muse for thinking through the aspirations of wind power development and grid expansion in Mexico’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec as well as the contentious politics of “baseload” and “smart grid” in the global North.

Dominic Boyer is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the CENHS (Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences) at Rice University, Houston (TX). 

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THESys Award


Since 2015, the IRI THESys awards prizes for excellent bachelor and master theses in the field of human-environmental research – the THESys Award. The award ceremony takes place every winter term with graduates from the previous two semesters. The THESys Award is given in two categories, i.e. bachelor and master thesis. Besides scientific excellence, the nominated theses were evaluated for their contribution to answering an interdisciplinary research question in the context of IRI THESys’ aims and scope. Furthermore, the winners have shown their motivation for pursuing an academic career.

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