Professor Cross-Appointed

Photo of Imre Szeman.

PhD, Duke
MA, Western Ontario
BA, Queen's

Extension: 37621
Office: ML 241


My main areas of research are in energy and environmental studies, social and political philosophy, and critical theory and cultural studies. From 1999-2009, I taught at McMaster University, and from 2009 to 2016 I worked the University of Alberta. At Waterloo, I will be teaching in and conducting research on environmental communication, energy justice, literary and critical theory, and cultural studies.

Selected Publications

Energy Humanities: An Anthology (with Dominic Boyer). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017.

Popular Culture: A User’s Guide (with Susie O’Brien). 4th revised edition. Toronto: Nelson, 2017. 

Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and Environment (with Jennifer Wenzel and Patricia Yaeger). New York: Fordham University Press, 2017. 456 pages.

Petrocultures: Oil, Politics, Culture (with Sheena Wilson, Adam Carlson). Montreal-Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017. 464 pages.

Popular Culture: A User’s Guide (with Susie O’Brien). International edition. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017. 400 pgs.

After Oil. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Press, 2016. 80 pgs.

Fellowships & Awards

  • John Polanyi Prize in Literature (2000)
  • Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award (2003)
  • Scotiabank-AUCC Award for Excellence in Internationalization (2004)
  • Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (2005-7)
  • President's Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision at McMaster (2008)
  • Killam Research Professorship (2013).
  • J. Gordin Kaplan Award for Excellence in Research (2015)

Current Research

I plan to continue my research into the social and cultural changes necessary to enable and support energy transition: the transition from the current dominant form of energy—oil—to other energy systems. If the forms of energy used by a society shape it in fundamental ways, what might be the impact and repercussions of a transition from oil to renewable energy? How might an understanding of the deep links between dominant modes of energy and socio-cultural forms (e.g., political systems, legal frameworks, educational practices, organization and experience of daily life) create insights into especially important changes that need to be made in order to manage energy transition in a productive way? And how might research in the humanities and social sciences enable us more effectively to address those impasses that have to date prevented more serious social engagement with the problem of energy transition? These are the big questions motivating me right now. 

Areas of Graduate Supervision

  • Environmental communication
  • Energy justice
  • Literary and critical theory
  • Cultural studies
University of Waterloo

Profiles by type