Publications by Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences faculty and staff

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    (2015) Schneider-Mayerson, Matthew; Szeman, Imre; Wenzel, Jennifer; Yaeger, Patricia; Fordham University Press
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    Disaster Movies and the ‘Peak Oil’ Movement: Does Popular Culture Encourage Eco-Apocalyptic Beliefs in the United States?
    (2013-09-30) Schneider-Mayerson, Matthew; Equinox
    Using two large-scale surveys, I argue that the prevalence of apocalyptic popular culture influences apocalyptic beliefs in the United States. I focus especially on Hollywood disaster movies of the 1990s and 2000s, most of which deal with environmental themes, and participants in the ‘peak oil’ movement, a quasi-religious American apocalyptic social movement organized around a vision of energy depletion and social collapse. In these surveys, ‘peakists’ reflect on their relationship with fictional narratives of disaster and destruction. I contend that disaster films influenced major aspects of the ‘peak oil’ ideology, such as the hope for regeneration (or even a better world) as a result of environmental crisis and social collapse; the tendency towards fatalism; and the imagination of social and environmental change as immediate and explosive instead of gradual. This cultural influence is situated in the context of contemporary responses to other environmental issues, such as climate change.
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    From politics to prophecy: environmental quiescence and the ‘peak-oil’ movement
    (2013-09-30) Schneider-Mayerson, Matthew; Taylor and Francis
    Adherents of the ‘peak-oil’ theory believe that resource depletion will cause an imminent social collapse that will lead to a simpler and more environmentally balanced world. Although American ‘peakists’ are extremely concerned with environmental issues, their awareness of the scale of ecological crises (such as climate change), gloomy evaluation of the state of American environmental politics, and vision of a post-apocalyptic future lead them to retreat from politics. Their beliefs, inaction, and impact on American environmental politics are explored.