Presentation & Conversation: Solar India and the Pursuit of Emancipatory Energy Futures

"The Only Problem We Have Now Is That Our Emotions Have Ended": Solar India and the Pursuit of Emancipatory Energy Futures


When: 17th of January, 2023, 14.00-15.00 (Helsinki time, EET) / 12.00-13.00 (UTC) 

Where: Recording of the event on the EXALT YouTube page.


In January, EXALT is delighted to welcome Shayan Shokrgozar, from the University of Bergen, to give a presentation and hold a discussion on alternative emancipatory energy futures, drawing from anti-colonial struggles and post-development praxes, grounded in fieldwork in Rajasthan, India.



The socio-ecological devastation wrought by the extraction of fossil fuels and their mobilization as fuel has culminated in climate change, deteriorating the condition of the human and other-than-human worlds. Whether conventional or (often incongruently called) "green," the extraction of resources and energy, alongside control over the lands on which they exist, is an impetus for the loss of a rich tapestry of lifeways (e.g., ethnocide), ecological degradation (e.g., ecocide), and climate change.

Optimism over the technical possibilities of transitioning from conventional energy sources to their unconventional counterparts has bypassed the emancipatory possibilities of alternative models of social life, such as post-extractivism, also being critical to improving social cohesion and ecological well-being. Rajasthan, India has seen a myriad of military, extractive, and infrastructural encroachments on agropastoral lands. The latest are industrial-scale solar plants, which cause the loss of pastoral and sacred lands (orans) used by subsistence-based villagers, semi-nomadic people, and other-than-human entities, in turn resulting in material dispossession and spiritual deprivation. These "sustainability transitions" trajectories, pursuing progress, growth, and modernity, violate place-based onto-epistemologies and the interests of human and other-than-human inhabitants.

Drawing from anti-colonial struggles and post-development praxes, and grounded in fieldwork in the state of Rajasthan, Shokrgozar explores the urgency of alternative energy futures that can emanate from the communities. Overall, their talk argues that through prioritizing redistribution and sufficiency over expansion and growth, alternative energy futures can safeguard human and other-than-human well-being within socio-ecological limits.

This presentation will be followed by a Q&A & conversation.


About Shokrgozar:

Situated in Political Ecology and Agrarian Studies, Shayan Shokrgozar's Ph.D. project involves exploring the implications of solar rollout (and related aspects) in Rajasthan, India, for both human and other-than-human inhabitants. Broadly, their interests lie in investigating anti-colonial energy futures that draw on scholarship from degrowth and post-development, with the aim of fostering convivial futures.