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Faculty Fellow

Elizabeth Chatterjee

Assistant Professor of Environmental History and the College University of Chicago


Elizabeth Chatterjee is a historian of energy and the environment, with a focus on India from 1900 to the present. Her research explores how non-Western energy histories disrupt conventional understandings of capitalist development, the social dynamics of climate change, and green political thought. Chatterjee’s first book manuscript, Electric Democracy, traces the flows of electricity to provide an energy-centered history of India’s transforming political economy since independence in 1947. It analyzes the critical role of cheap energy in undergirding both economic development and democratization, and how political actors have sought to navigate between these competing processes. The book thus locates struggles for energy justice at the heart of climate history and the Anthropocene. In this and other published works, Chatterjee also examines India’s distinctive mode of state capitalism, showing that its basic structures have remained remarkably resilient even as the country has nominally liberalized since the 1980s.

To learn more about Elizabeth Chatterjee's research and publications, please visit her profile page at the Department of History.

Featured Project

Oil slicks from leaks in the various oil production and storage platforms located on Lake Maracaibo, in Venezuela, June 11, 2003. Courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.

Fossil Capitalism in the Global South

2022 – 2023


The Logic and Politics of Climate Change

The Logic and Politics of Climate Change

Where and how should the humanities and social sciences intervene in debates about climate change in order to place the science-policy nexus on more ethically, epistemically, and politically responsible foundations?

The profound and intensifying effects of climate change will likely bring significant harm to those vulnerable to the harsher environment to come, human or otherwise. Yet climate debates have so far been dominated by scientists and policymakers, with limited effectiveness in terms of either...