Miss Josephine Taylor

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My research focuses on the emerging field of petrocultures which addresses how fossil fuels have shaped the social imaginary of the 21st century, and thus suggests an energy transition is not just a structural or economical issue, but a cultural one. I apply a feminist animal studies lens to petrocultures exploring how oil has impacted non-human life. My theoretical perspective draws on thinkers such as Simone Weil, Anat Pick, and Judith Butler using their work as a way to recognise violence and suffering beyond the domain of the human. I present an analysis of a range of literature, film, and art from the 19th Century to present day through the lens of what Anat Pick coins the creaturely, exploring the role of the animal within energy production and the effects of oil culture upon the non-human animal. Beginning with Herman Melville’s Moby Dick through to Steve Baker’s Road Kill art exhibition, and Ben Okri’s What The Tapster Saw, my sources and analysis reveal the non-anthropocentric narrative of oil and energy consumption. The feminist animal studies discourse that runs through the thesis invites a recognition of the violence of petrocultures which are found in the cultural sources and in turn considers a more ecological way of encountering our non-human kin and the earth itself.

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