Judith Ellen Brunton
Judith Ellen Brunton is a doctoral candidate in the Department for the Study of Religion.
A Pandemonium of Hope: Oil, aspiration, and the good life in Alberta
Judith’s research explores how oil companies, government agencies, and community organizations in Alberta use oil to describe a set of values about land use, labour, and aspiration. Oil, in Alberta, is a key symbolic element in imagining what a good life is. To explore these messages about goodness, her project follows oil through four key cultural portraits grounded in ethnographic and archival work: the Christian colonial project of settlement in western Canada; historical narratives that frame energy as “heritage”; white-collar corporate culture in Calgary; and the entangled cultural assertions of the Calgary Stampede. Judith’s research works to discover the relationship between oil and these social worlds of value in Alberta, and to identify key areas of inquiry for the work of imagining a future that navigates the realities of climate change.