Dominic Boyer

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Dominic Boyer is a cultural anthropologist, media maker and co-founder of the field of Energy Humanities. In addition to serving on the Board of Governors of the Rice Sustainability Institute, he co-directs Rice’s new Center for Coastal Futures and Adaptive Resilience (CFAR) and will direct its forthcoming Social Design Lab (SDL). Boyer's design for the world’s first glacier memorial was named a Finalist for a 2020 Beazley Design of the Year Award by the London Design Museum. The same project inspired The Economist to create its first-ever obituary for a non-human. Boyer’s recent research has been supported by NSF, NOAA, the Berggruen Institute, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, among others. The author of nine books and volumes and more than 100 research articles, Boyer’s latest book is No More Fossils (U Minnesota Press, 2023), a discussion of the fossilization of fossil fuels and the coming transition from petroculture to electroculture.


Classical Social Theory and its Ecologies; Experts and Cultures of Expertise; Media, Culture and Society; Neoliberalism and Globalization; Phenomenological Anthropology; Proseminar in Anthropology


Publications: Books, volumes, pamphlets

The Life Informatic: Newsmaking in the Digital Era. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013 (248p.)

Understanding Media: A Popular Philosophy. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2007 (103p.)

Spirit and System: Media, Intellectuals, and the Dialectic in Modern German Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005 (323p.)

Journal Articles (peer-reviewed, single and co-authored):

“Aeolian extractivism and community wind in Southern Mexico.” Public Culture, 2016. (with Cymene Howe)

“Anthropology Electric.” Cultural Anthropology 30(4), 2015.

Aeolian Politics.” Distinktion, 2015. (with Cymene Howe)

Los márgenes del Estado al viento: autonomía y desarrollo de energías renovables en el sur de MéxicoJournal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, Special Issue, “Energy, Transition and Climate Change in Latin America” 2015. (with Cymene Howe and Edith Barrera).

Wind at the Margins of the State: Autonomy and Renewable Energy Development in Southern Mexico” In Contested Powers: The Politics of Energy and Development in Latin America, J-A McNeish, A Borchgrevink and O Logan (eds.), Zed Books, 2015, 92-115. (with Cymene Howe and Edith Barrera)

The Rise of Energy Humanities” (with Imre Szeman) University Affairs March:40, 2014.

"Energopower: An Introduction." Anthropological Quarterly, 2014 (forthcoming)

"Simply the Best: Parody and Political Sincerity in Iceland" American Ethnologist 40 (2): 276-27, 2011

News Agency and News Mediation. Social Anthropology 19(1):6-22, 2011.

"On the ethics and practice of contemporary social theory: from crisis talk to multiattentional method." Dialectical Anthropology 34(3):305-324, 2010.

(with Alexei Yurchak) "American Stiob: Or, what late socialist aesthetics of parody reveal about contemporary political culture in the West" Cultural Anthropology 25(2):179-221, 2010.

"Digital Expertise in Online Journalism (and Anthropology)." Anthropological Quarterly 83(1):73-96, 2010.

Thinking through the Anthropology of Experts.” Anthropology in Action, 15(2):38-46, 2008.

Conspiracy, History, and Therapy at a Berlin Stammtisch.” American Ethnologist, 33(3):327-39, 2006.

Ostalgie and the Politics of the Future in Eastern Germany.” Public Culture, 18(2):361-381, 2006.

Turner’s Anthropology of Media and Its Legacies.” Critique of Anthropology, 26(1):47-60, 2006.

Gender and the Solvency of Professionalism: Eastern German Journalism before and after 1989.” East European Politics and Society, 20(1):152-179, 2006.

(with Ulf Hannerz) “Introduction: Worlds of Journalism.” Ethnography, 7(1):5-17, 2006.

(with Steve Sangren) “Introduction to Turner Special Issue.” Critique of Anthropology, 26(1):5-13, 2006.

Visiting Knowledge in Anthropology: An Introduction.” Ethnos 70(2):141-148, 2005.

The Corporeality of Expertise.” Ethnos 70(2):243-266, 2005.

(with Claudio Lomnitz) Intellectuals and Nationalism: Anthropological Engagements.” Annual Review of Anthropology 34:105-120, 2005.

Censorship as a Vocation: The Institutions, Practices, and Cultural Logic of Media Control in the German Democratic Republic.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 45(3):511-545, 2003.

Foucault in the Bush. The Social Life of Post-Structuralist Theory in East Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg.” Ethnos 66(2):207-236, 2001.

“Media Markets, Mediating Labors, and the Branding of East German Culture at ‘Super Illu.” Social Text 68(Fall):9-33, 2001.

Yellow sand of Berlin.” Ethnography 2(3):421-439, 2001.

On the Sedimentation and Accreditation of Social Knowledges of Difference: Mass Media, Journalism, and the Reproduction of East/West Alterities in Unified Germany.” Cultural Anthropology 15(4):459-491, 2000.

Journal issues edited or co-edited (peer-reviewed)

Anthropology section co-editor, The International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition (with Ulf Hannerz) Reed Elsevier, 2015.

Special section of American Ethnologist "Parody and Sincerity in Political Culture Today" (with Angelique Haugerud), 2013

Special section of Anthropology News (May) " Energy and Energopolitics" (with Cymene Howe), 2011.

Special issue of Ethnography (7:1) “Worlds of Journalism” (with Ulf Hannerz), 2006.

Special issue of Critique of Anthropology (26:1) “For a Critique of Pure Culture: Essays in Honour of Terence Turner” (with Steve Sangren), 2006.

Special issue of Ethnos (70:2) “Revisiting the Anthropology of Knowledge,” 2005.

Journal articles (non-peer-reviewed) and book chapters

"Energy, Anthropology of" In The International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, J Wright (ed.), Reed Elsevier, 2015

“Experts and Expertise, Anthropological Approaches to” In The International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, J Wright (ed.), Reed Elsevier, 2015.

“Energopolitics” In Fueling Culture: Energy, History and Politics," I Szeman (ed.) Fordham University Press, 2014.

“Paul Radin” (with Ian Lowrie) In The Sage Encyclopedia of Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology, J McGee and R Warms (eds.) Sage, 2014.

"Reflexivity Reloaded: from anthropology of intellectuals to critique of method to studying sideways” In Essays in Honor of Ulf Hannerz, C Garsten (ed.) Berghahn, forthcoming.

"The Necessity of Being a Writer in Anthropology Today” In The Anthropologist as Writer, H Wulff (ed.) Palgrave, forthcoming.

“Postcard from Berlin: Rethinking the Juncture of Late Socialism and Late Liberalism in Europe” In The Soviet Society in the Era of Late Socialism, 1964-1985, N Klumbytė and G Sharafutdinova (eds.) Lexington, 2013. "

"Media Anthropology and the Anthropology of Mediation." In The ASA Handbook of Social Anthropology, R Fardon (ed.) Sage, forthcoming.

"The Institutional Transformation of Universities in the Era of Digital Information." In Making the University Matter, B Zelizer (ed.) Routledge, forthcoming.

"Biopower and cyberpower in online news." In Companion to Anthropology of Bodies and Embodiment, F Mascia-Lees (ed.) Wiley-Blackwell. forthcoming.

"Professionalism between Cooperation and Competition." In Travail Social a l Epreuve des Coopérations Ouvertes et des Coopération Fermées, H Khabbache(ed.) Fes-Saiss Imprimerie, 2010.

"From Algos to Autonomos: Nostalgic Eastern Europe as Postimperial Mania." In Postcommunist Nostalgia, M Todorova and Z Gille (eds.) Berghahn, 2010.

“Making (sense of) News in the Era of Digital Information.” In The Anthropology of News and Journalism: Global Perspectives, L Bird (ed.) Indiana University Press, 2009.

“Of Dialectical Germans and Dialectical Ethnographers: notes from an engagement with philosophy.” In Ways of Knowing, M Harris (ed.), Berghahn, 2007.

“Ostalgie – oder die Politik der Zukunft in Ostdeutschland,” transl. O Hall. Deutschland Archiv 39(4):690-703, 2006.

“The Medium of Foucault in Anthropology.” The Minnesota Review 58-60:265-272, 2003.

“The African Crisis in Context: Comparative Encounters with Educational Rationalization.” African Studies Review 45(2):205-218, 2002.

“The Impact and Embodiment of Western Expertise in the Restructuring of the Eastern German Media after 1990.” Anthropology of East Europe Review 19(1):77-84, 2001.

Commentaries, debates, blogs, interviews and reviews

"Interview with Ulf Hannerz" Public Culture, forthcoming.

"On Business Anthropology" Business Anthropology 1(2):251-4, 2012.

"A tragédia sincera da política americana" Folha de S. Paulo, 9 August 2011: A3.

"A Gallery of Prototypes: Ethnographic Terminalia 2010." Visual Anthropology Review 27(1):94-6, 2011.

"Energopolitics and the Anthropology of Energy." Anthropology News May:5,7, 2011.

"Divergent Temporalities: On the Division of Labor Between Journalism and Anthropology." Anthropology News April:6,9, 2010.

"Why not Neosocialism?" ( Originally posted February 16, 2010.

"What is driving university reform in the age of globalization?" (debate with Elizabeth Rata). Social Anthropology 18(1):74-82, 2010.

“Postsocialist Studies, Cultures of Parody and American Stiob.” (with Alexei Yurchak) Anthropology News November:8-9, 2008.

“There are Still Thinkers in Germany” in My Idea of the Land of Ideas: How the World Sees Germany, ed T Sommer, pp.44-50. Munich: Droemer Verlag, 2006.

“Do the Humanities Have to be Useful?” in Do the Humanities Have To Be Useful?, eds. GP Lepage, C Martin, and M Mostafavi, pp.1-6. Ithaca: Cornell University Office of Publications, 2006.

“Welcome to the New Europe.” American Ethnologist 32(4):521-523, 2005.

“Vitaler Stau.” Zeitschrift für KulturAustausch 55(3+4):89-91, 2005.

Review of Divided in Unity: Identity, Germany, and the Berlin Police by Andreas Glaeser. Chicago: U Chicago Press, 2000. Ethnography 4(4):556-560, 2003.

Review of Integral Europe: Fast-Capitalism, Multiculturalism, Neofascism by Douglas R. Holmes. American Ethnologist 29(4):1034-5, 2002.

Review of Liquid Modernity by Zygmunt Bauman. Malden, MA: Polity, 2000. Modernism/Modernity 9(2):354-6, 2002

Research Areas

Renewable energy and energopolitics; media; knowledge; digital information and epistemology; experts, professionalism, and cultures of expertise; intellectuals and identitarian movements; the politics of affect and belonging; late, post, and neosocialism.


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