Petra Dolata is the current Scholar-in-Residence


(Hi)Stories of Energy Transitions

As current discussions revolve around decarbonizing the economy, net zero emissions targets and the upcoming global energy transition, understanding society’s role in such transformative processes will be paramount. Recognizing that energy transitions also include social and cultural transformations and conceptualizing energy systems and regimes as socially constructed and narrated, this project studies both the histories of specific energy transitions in the past as well as the many stories that have been created to make sense of and frame these transformative processes. It investigates how individuals, communities and nations have caused, adapted to and rejected changes in energy systems providing a better understanding of historical resilience and agency while facilitating empathy, especially since energy transitions are often connected to processes of deindustrialization and always entail winners and losers. Different societies and cultures have responded differently to and created different stories about the same energy challenges. This diversity of historical experiences and narratives highlights how important it is that we know more about our energy pasts. Such historical knowledge facilitates informed discussions about our energy futures that include and give voice to every citizen and have the potential to facilitate the creation of just and sustainable policies.

Sustainability in the Anthropocene

This project researches the emergence and development of the concept of sustainability since the 18th century and understands it as an idea that is closely related to industrialization and growth paradigms. It particularly focuses on the 1970s as a period, in which the ecological interconnections between man and nature as well as energy systems approaches led to a more comprehensive understanding of sustainability, which often contained a radical critique of liberal market economies and economic growth. It examines how people engaged with these new environmentalist insights and how ideas of a “conserver society” in Canada influenced discussions on sustainability.

Scholar in Residence 2018-2023

Dolata, Petra

(Hi)Stories of Energy Transitions
Sustainability in the Anthropocene

SSHRC Connection Grant, Energy and Scale, 2019-2020: $16,654

SSHRC Insight Grant, The 1970s Energy Crises and Energy Security: A Cross-national and Transatlantic History, 2017-2022: $70,519

Tier II SSHRC Canada Research Chair, The Many Stories of Energy, 2014-2019: $500,000

SSHRC Insight Grant 2018-2019 (Co-applicant), The Manhattan Voyage and the Creation of the Modern Canadian North: $63,686

SSHRC Insight Grant 2018-2019 (Co-applicant), The Reconfiguration of Canada-Europe Relations after Brexit: $299,673

Associate, Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University, 2017 to 2020

Senior Research Associate, European Centre for Energy and Resource Security EUCERS, King’s College London, UK, 2014 to present

Co-Convenor, Energy In Society Working Group, Calgary Institute for the Humanities, University of Calgary, 2016 to present

Dolata, Petra. “A global Arctic? Chinese aspirations in the North.” Canadian Global Affairs Institute. 2018.

Dolata, Petra. “Alberta Oil and the Decline of Democracy in Canada.” Canadian Journal of History, vol. 53, no. 3, 2018. pp. 537-539

Dolata, Petra. “Kanada und die USA: Ein ambivalentes Verhältnis.” Länderbericht Kanada, Ursula Lehmkuhl (ed.). Berlin: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 2018.

Dolata, Petra, Ludger Basten and Peter Dörrenbacher. “Naturräumliche Potenziale und ihre In-Wert-Setzung in Kanada.” Länderbericht Kanada, Ursula Lehmkuhl (ed.). Berlin: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 2018.

Dolata, Petra. Powering Up Canada: A History of Power, Fuel, and Energy from 1600. RW Sandwell, ed. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016. pp. 733-736.

Dolata, Petra. “Energy and Resource Security.” Palgrave Handbook of Intelligence and Security, Rob Dover, Huw Dylan, and Michael S. Goodman, eds. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Dolata, Petra. “Review Essay: Canada and/in the World.” Canadian Journal of Political Science, vol. 50, no. 1, 2017. pp. 351-367.

Dolata, Petra. Energy Security. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. pp. 47-62.

Dolata, Petra. “A Global Arctic? Chinese Aspirations in the North.” Policy Perspective (Ottawa: Canadian Global Affairs Institute/Institut canadien des affaires mondiale, October 2018)

Dolata, Petra. “Understanding the Shift in Energy Security.” 2017 Energy Series (Ottawa: Canadian Global Affairs Institute/Institut canadien des affaires mondiale, April 2017)

Government, Community and Media:

Invited Expert, Environmental Scan on Global Trends, Department of Global Affairs Canada, Foreign Policy Research and Foresight Unit, CMSS, Calgary, 22 November 2019

Invited Expert, Roundtable Discussion on Brexit and UK’s External Relations, Department of Global Affairs Canada, Ottawa, 26 October 2018

Invited Expert, Discussion on the International Dimension of the Arctic Policy Framework, Global Affairs Canada, Ottawa, 23 November 2017

Invited Expert, “Germany After the Election: Analysis and Outlook,” co-sponsored by the Jean Monnet Chair “Democracy in the European Union” in the Centre for European Studies (CES) at Carleton University, the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS) at the University of Ottawa, and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Ottawa, 25 September 2017

Podcast, The Global Exchange - A CGAI Podcast: “The Shifting Tides within Canada's Energy Industry,” 5 May 2017

Invited Participant, Canada’s Science Review, Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Calgary, 29 September 2016

Interview, Radio SRF (Swiss National Radio) “Tagesgespräch: Brände in Kanadas Ölprovinz,” 11 May 2016,

Co-organizer, International Conference: Energy and Scale, Calgary and Banff, 18-21 September 2019

Co-organizer, Workshop: Energy Transitions – Histories, Cultures, Politics, University of Calgary & Fort McMurray, 21-24 June 2018

Organizer, Workshop: Arctic Science, University of Calgary, 28 November 2017

Co-organizer, Workshop: Global Energy Transition, University of Calgary, 18-19 October 2017

Co-organizer, Lecture Series: Energy In Society, University of Calgary, 2016-2018

Organizer, Public Event: Is Oil a Dirty Word? Stories from the Humanities, Congress 2016, Theatre Junction Grand, Calgary, 29 May 2016