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CFP: European Energy Shortages during the Short Coal Age (1860-1960)

Queuing for the distribution of coal in Paris, 1916.
Published Oct 05, 2022

The winter of 2022-2023 in Europe may become the harshest since 1944 due to fuel and electricity scarcity. This is an obvious moment for revisiting historical energy shortages. The Division is now organising the online workshop entitled "European Energy Shortages during the Short Coal Age (1860-1960)" which is planned for 1 February 2023.

The proposed workshop will target the period of repeated fuel shortages in Europe from roughly 1860 to 1960 – the century during which coal supplied more than 50 % of all energy in Europe. Coal consumption and prices show big fluctuations in European coal markets during this period, creating a classical “shortage” situation. Yet researchers have so far not addressed the nature of European coal shortages sufficiently. In both scholarly and recent public debates coal shortages remain largely overshadowed by the oil shocks of the 1970s. This gap calls for interdisciplinary cooperation in order to assess the story of repeated energy crises in Europe. The announced workshop is planned for 1 February 2023 and it is going to be held online. We invite scholars to reflect together upon coal shortages, their manifold faces and outcomes, during the centenarian apogee of King Coal’s rule in Europe. The event aims to bring together researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds, such as history, energy studies, international relations, the technological and environmental humanities, geography, economics, media studies and anthropology. After the workshop, we plan to turn its papers into a special issue for a major peer-reviewed academic journal, or, alternatively, into an edited volume.