Spaceship in the Desert: Energy, Climate Change, and Urban Design in Abu Dhabi | Friends of the Lehigh Libraries talk, Thu., Oct. 20

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book cover with spaceship in a desert. there are several cars underneath and a man walking by through the sand

The Friends of the Lehigh University Libraries invite you to join us on Thursday, October 20, 2022 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. via Zoom for Spaceship in the Desert: Energy, Climate Change, and Urban Design in Abu Dhabi, presented by Gökçe Günel, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rice University.

In 2006, Abu Dhabi launched an ambitious project to construct the world’s first “zero-carbon” city: Masdar City. This talk investigates the construction of renewable energy and clean technology infrastructures in oil-rich Abu Dhabi, as the era of abundant oil supplies slowly comes to an end. It explores the production of Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, and shows how the Masdar City project was instrumental for economic diversification in the United Arab Emirates, helping generate a “green” brand image. At the same time, it demonstrates how the renewable energy and clean technology infrastructures of Masdar City fueled an aspiration for the manageability of ecological problems, where business models and design solutions would contain and resolve climate change and energy scarcity without surrendering hope for increasing productivity and technological complexity. By focusing on iconic renewable energy and clean technology initiatives, this talk responds to the debates on whether Masdar City and its multiple infrastructures were successes or failures, and examines the potential of evolving projects.

About the speaker:

Gökçe Günel is Associate Professor in Anthropology at Rice University. Her latest book Spaceship in the Desert: Energy, Climate Change and Urban Design in Abu Dhabi (Duke University Press, 2019) focuses on the construction of renewable energy and clean technology infrastructures in the United Arab Emirates, more specifically concentrating on the Masdar City project. Dr. Günel finished her PhD in Anthropology at Cornell, and held positions at the University of Arizona and Columbia University. Her articles have been published in a wide range of journals including Engineering Studies, Public Culture, Anthropological Quarterly, Avery Review, PoLAR, Log, e-flux, and South Atlantic Quarterly. Dr. Günel co-authored A Manifesto for Patchwork Ethnography (2020).

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session led by Boaz Nadav Manes, Lehigh’s University Librarian. This event is free and open to the public.

Please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Sponsored by The Friends of the Lehigh University Libraries.