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An archaeology of Western energy culture that demystifies the role that fossil fuels play in the day-to-day rituals of modern life.
Spanning the past two hundred years, this book offers an alternative history of modernity that restores to fossil fuels their central role in the growth of capitalism and modernity itself, including the emotional attachments and real injuries that they generate and command. Everything about us--our bodies, minds, sense of self, nature, reason, and faith--has been conditioned by a global infrastructure of carbon flows that saturates our habits, thoughts, and practices. And it is that deep energy infrastructure that provides material for the imagination and senses and even shapes our expectations about what it means to be fully human in the twenty-first century.
In Mineral Rites, Bob Johnson illustrates that fossil fuels are embodied today not only in the morning commute and in home HVAC systems but in the everyday textures, rituals, architecture, and artifacts of modern life. In a series of illuminating essays touching on such disparate topics as hot yoga, electric robots, automobility, the RMS Titanic, reality TV, and the modern novel, Johnson takes the discussion of fossil fuels and their role in climate change far beyond the traditional domains of policy and economics into the deepest layers of the body, ideology, and psyche.
An audacious revision to the history of modernity, Mineral Rites shows how fossil fuels operate at the level of infrapolitics and how they permeate life as second nature.
About the Author
Bob Johnson is the chair of the Department of Social Sciences and a professor of history at National University. He is the author of Carbon Nation: Fossil Fuels in the Making of American Culture.