Energy in Asia

Energy has been commonly viewed as a source of power for performing work. Through its many forms, such as chemical, thermal, electrical, and nuclear, energy has been a crucial component for various types of production. In this capacity, energy has been an integral, material-based resource for economic purposes and security. Beyond its value as a resource for material production, energy, from the premodern to the modern era, has assumed other meanings and been valued in different ways. In religious and spiritual traditions, for example, energy has been defined as a source of creation, living, and healing. As an abstract force, energy has been seen as a spiritual element that influences, determines, and powers location, place, space, relationships, the workings of the human body, and the make-up of nature. In terms of language, energy has been used as a metaphor or a colorful term to describe human actions, emotions, and behavior. In these different forms, energy has been long framed and defined through a variety of angles.

In whatever form it has existed, been employed or conceived of, energy cannot be understood without its connection to social context, especially different forms of authority. Political, social, cultural, economic, philosophical, and religious systems have played a role in the formation and influence of energy as a material and discursive element and force. The ways in which energy has been employed and defined have not only influenced geo-politics and international relations, but also gender relations, patterns and directions in design, paths for healthcare and well-being, and relationships between humans and non-humans. In order to understand energy’s role and place in human and non-human life, it is necessary to interrogate the relationship between energy and context.

This conference specifically examines the different meanings, values and uses of energy in Asia from the premodern to the modern era and the intersection between energy and context. It welcomes papers on energy from different periods of time, disciplines, including the sciences, and fields of study. Please send an abstract of 500 words (maximum) of a potential paper and a one-page CV to Albert L. Park (Claremont McKenna College, The Claremont Colleges), and Namhee Lee (UCLA), by October 12. Selections will be announced by October 22. Travel and accommodations will be covered by the conference (including international travel).

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