Energy Democracy Symposium

Andrea Feldpausch-Parker's picture
Type of Call: 
Call for Early Career and Graduate Student Scholarships
March 20, 2017

Energy Democracy Symposium

July 12-13, 2017

Salt Lake City, Utah

Call for Early Career and Graduate Student Scholarships


Understanding the full spectrum of research, development, and subsequent deployment of energy technologies is one of the most profound sustainability challenges facing society. Rapid technological and social changes have positioned energy, especially electricity, at the crux of complex policy debates that are especially acute in democratic regimes, and offer unprecedented opportunity to experiment with new forms of governance. We propose that communication and interdisciplinary scholars interested in the social dimensions of energy need to develop new research pathways that will discover ways to encourage more participatory democracy in relation to energy policy in the United States. Energy democracy refers to an emergent social movement that re-imagines energy consumers as prosumers, or innovators, designers and analysts who are involved in decisions at every stage of this sector, from production through consumption. Yet, research on and theoretical development of energy democracy lags behind this growing movement among publics and energy practitioners. Similar to the way environmental justice is both a movement and an academic research program, we propose the development of an engaged research program that offers an avenue for further elaboration of the broad range of actors, democratic values, democratic functions, and governance sites that are involved in the practice of energy democracy.


In response to this need, we are holding a symposium, “Energy Democracy: Creating A Research Agenda,” which will take place July 12-13, 2017, in Salt Lake City ( The goal of this symposium is to chart out a new research agenda in energy democracy that:

(1) fosters collaboration between scholars interested in energy democracy

(2) results in a white paper and special issue in Frontiers in Science and Environmental Communication

(3) prioritizes praxis-based scholarship that seeks to bridge divides between academia, local energy practitioners, and publics.


The symposium is hosted and sponsored by the Communication Institute at the University of Utah (, with additional support from the National Science Foundation, the National Communication Association, the University of Utah College of Humanities, and BoulderTalks at the University of Colorado Boulder.


Funding from the National Science Foundation’s Science, Technology, and Society (STS) division (SES 1655192) and the National Communication Association allows us to provide a travel and lodging scholarship for up to five early career or graduate student scholars that are interested in or can demonstrate a research program that is focused on energy democracy. If you are interested, please submit the following materials:

(1) a one-page, single-spaced letter of intent that states your interest in energy democracy

(2) a 300-word abstract of a presentation topic that addresses one of the following: what is energy democracy and to whom does it matter?; a current ongoing project on energy democracy; or an argument for a proposed future research area within energy democracy  

(3) a brief letter of support from your adviser or a colleague.


Please send the materials to Danielle Endres at and Stephanie Gomez at by March 20, 2017.


Questions can be directed to any of the co-organizers:


Danielle Endres, Ph.D.

Director, Communication Institute

Associate Professor

University of Utah


Andrea Feldpausch-Parker, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

State University of New York


Tarla Rai Peterson, Ph.D.


University of Texas El Paso


Leah Sprain, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

University of Colorado Boulder