Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Jeffrey Manuel, Ph.D., professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ (CAS) Department of History, has been awarded a prestigious position as a Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Energy Transitions and Deindustrialization. He will spend spring 2023 at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, conducting research with the history department on energy transitions over time. He will also be contributing to a large, multinational research project looking at the connections between deindustrialization – the collapse of heavy industry in many parts of the world – and the rise of populist politicians, such as Donald Trump in the U.S.
“I was extremely happy to receive this award,” Manuel said. “I’ve always been interested in how large-scale changes in the economy and the environment affect politics and culture. In my proposal application, I included what I would like to research while in Calgary and explained my previous scholarship on this topic. This award will let me dig into those questions from a perspective beyond the United States.”
During his four-month appointment, Manuel plans to work on three projects, including:
- Using public history methods to explore what energy has meant in the everyday lives of Calgary’s citizens and how they think about a coming transition away from fossil fuel
- Researching a new project looking into long-term energy transitions in river valley
- Drawing on his current research into the history of biofuels to help inform Canadians about policies for liquid transportation fuels
“Calgary is the capital of Canada’s energy sector, somewhat like Houston in the U.S., so it’s been tightly tied to oil and gas for decades,” explained Manuel. “Understanding how people working in and around fossil fuels have understood their history will be an important part of the clean-energy transition. Also, the shift from oil and gas to renewable sources of energy like wind and solar feels abrupt today, but our species has gone through multiple energy transitions in the past. We once moved, ate, and heated our homes with wood and muscle power; then used coal, oil, and gas, and soon will use other fuels. Canada’s Clean Fuel Standard is set to go into effect in 2023, so it’s the perfect time to reflect lessons from U.S. fuel standards.”
Manuel hopes that the Fulbright will help him make more international and interdisciplinary connections which will in turn benefit SIUE.
“Energy history is a global story,” he noted. “And crafting energy policies for the 21st Century requires expertise from many academic disciplines. CAS’ Department of History will benefit from higher international awareness of the great research being done here. My colleagues are already prominent scholars in many fields, and I hope to add a bit to our collective reputation.”
Active in public and oral history, Manuel is the author of Taconite Dreams: The Struggle to Sustain Mining on Minnesota’s Iron Range, 1915-2000.
To learn more about Fulbright opportunities in Canada, visit fulbright.ca.
Jeffrey Manuel, Ph.D., professor in the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of History, shown.