Trish Kahle (Moderator)

Trish Kahle is a historian specializing in energy, work, and politics in the modern United States and globally. With a keen interest in using energy as a lens to examine political life, social relations, the economy, and the environment, she is dedicated to shedding light on the intricate connections between these elements. Her first book explores the profound influence of coal miners on modern U.S. social citizenship and the nation’s energy system. Spanning from the Gilded Age to the post-Ronald Reagan era, the book delves into how Appalachian coal miners have left an enduring imprint on the United States’ political imagination and governance practices. Currently, she is embarking on a series of projects aimed at reinterpreting the history of the U.S. electric power system. By narrating it from the perspective of those who built, operated, powered, maintained, and connected it, she seeks to rectify the historical oversight of the labor force behind the country’s grid. As a co-leader of the Energy Humanities Research Initiative alongside Vicky Googasian and Firat Oruc, she spearheads interdisciplinary exploration supported by the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS). Currently, they are preparing a special journal issue titled “Affects of Energy Transition,” which compiles interdisciplinary perspectives on affect theory and the transformation of energetic lives.

Ziad Abu-Rish

Zaid Abu-Rish is and Associate Professor of Human Rights and Middle Eastern Studies at Bard College, where he also directs the MA Program in Human Rights and the Arts. His research interests center around state formation, economic development, and popular mobilizations in late colonial and early post-independence Lebanon and Jordan. He is currently completing a book manuscript titled “The State of Lebanon: Popular Politics and Institution Building in the Wake of Independence.” His previous publications have appeared in Middle East Report, Review of Middle East Studies, and several edited volumes. Ziad is a co-editor of Jadaliyya and Arab Studies Journal. He also collaborated with artist Tania El Khoury to create The Search for Power, a research-based interactive installation on the history of electricity in Lebanon.

Laleh Khalili

Laleh Khalili is the Al Qasimi Professor of Gulf Studies at the University of Exeter. She is the author of Heroes and Martyrs of Palestine: The Politics of National Commemoration (2007), Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgenies (2013), Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula (2020), and The Corporeal Life of Seafaring (2023). She is currently working on a project on the afterlives of nationalisation of oil.

Victor Seow

Victor Seow is a distinguished historian of technology, science, and industry, with a specialization in China and Japan within their global contexts, as well as in the histories of energy and labor. His research focuses on understanding the intersections of technological artifacts, scientific knowledge, and forces of production in shaping economic life and environmental outcomes in modern industrial society. Seow is the author of “Carbon Technocracy: Energy Regimes in Modern East Asia” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2022), Victor delves into the deep connections between energy extraction and technocratic politics, tracing the history of East Asia’s largest coal mine. The book uncovers the pivotal role of the state in energy transitions toward coal and oil, as well as the enduring reliance on human labor power in the carbon age. “Carbon Technocracy” has garnered several prestigious awards, including the John Whitney Hall Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies, the Academic Excellence Award from Chinese Historians in the United States, and the Michael H. Hunt Prize in International History from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.