Research Fellow, Department of Social Anthropology

Biography

Sean is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Energy Ethics in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. Since late-2018, Sean’s multidisciplinary research has focused on how financial professionals in Houston (Texas) conceptualize energy and value hydrocarbons.  This ethnographic work explores the calculation of risk, the performance of financial expertise, and the ethical valuation of energy resources and extractive energy technologies in the United States.  A key implication of Sean’s research is that the world of finance is central to the materialization of our collective energy and anthropogenic landscapes. Sean’s project is part of the larger Energy Ethics research project led by Dr Mette High and funded by the European Research Council. 

 

Sean was co-organizer of Energy Ethics 2020, the launch of the Centre for Energy Ethics, and The Art of Energy, including the Art of Energy virtual gallery that was awarded a University of St Andrews Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fund Award.  He is also convenor of the Department of Social Anthropology’s 2021-2022 Departmental Seminar Series, the co-founder and co-organizer of the Energy Café, and the founder of the recently established Energy and Climate Finance Network.

 

Teaching

Sean recently taught The Anthropology of Energy module (SA4064 – Winter 2021) in the Department of Social Anthropology with Dr Pauline Destrée, which was awarded a 2021 Golden Dandelion Prize for excellence in education for sustainable development.  He is currently co-teaching the Vertically Integrated Project, Environmental Ethics at Work, led by Dr Louise Reid and Dr Mette High.

Before relocating to St Andrews, Sean was a Lecturer in Economic Geography at the University of Toronto’s Department of Geography (Mississauga campus) and an Assistant Adjunct Professor at Queen’s University’s School of Policy Studies. Sean has also been an Adjunct Professor in Queen’s University’s Department of Geography and Planning and Smith School of Business.

Background

Sean started his career in business and finance. After completing his Bachelor of Commerce (BComm, honours) he left the financial sector to begin multidisciplinary graduate training. He earned his Master of Science (MSc) in Food Agriculture and Resource Economics and International Development at the University of Guelph, where he studied food supply chains and conducted several months of fieldwork in Ghana and the UK. During this time Sean also worked as a consultant for the World Bank. Sean earned his Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Economic Geography from Queen’s University (Canada) where he studied the intersection of financial and agricultural commodity markets.  

 

Find Sean on Google ScholarSt Andrews Pure or, for other media, see the sidebar.

Selected publications

Book: 

Field, S. (in preparation). Carbon Capital: US Hydrocarbon Finance in an Anthropogenic Era.  

 

Academic Articles: 

 

Field S. (in preparation). White Oil – Responsibility and the Corporeal Limits of Expertise in the US Energy Capital.

Field S, Nikolaevab R, & Tskhayc A. (in preparation). An Ethical Dilemma: Is there value in divesting from hydrocarbons?

Field S. (in preparation). Oily Entanglements in the US Hydrocarbon Capital.

Field, S. (in press). Carbon Capital: The financial lexicon and allegories of the US oil and gas sector.  Economy & Society

Field S. 2022. Risk and Responsibility: Private Equity Financiers and the US Shale Revolution.  Economic Anthropology 9(1). Online first 17 August 2021. DOI: 10.1002/sea2.12221

Field S. 2021. Power and precariousness in the expert hierarchies of the US hydrocarbon industryCritique of Anthropology 41(3): 303-319. DOI: 10.1177/0308275X211038608

Field, S. 2018. Venezuela: It’s all about the oil.  Antipode (Interventions); available from: https://antipodefoundation.org/2018/08/10/venezuela-its-all-about-the-oil/.  

Field, S. 2017. Examining the Influence of Intellectuals on Commodity Speculation. Geoforum 83 (July): 71-79; available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016718517301094.   

Field, S. 2016. The financialization of food and the 2008–2011 food price spikes. Environment and Planning A 48 (11): 2272-2290; available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0308518X16658476.  

Massey, J, S Field, & Y Chan.  2014.  Partnering for economic development: How town-gown relations impact local economic development in small and medium cities.  Canadian Journal of Higher Education 44 (2): 152-169.  Available at: http://journals.sfu.ca/cjhe/index.php/cjhe/article/viewFile/183813/185207  

Field, S, O Masakure & S Henson.  2010.  Rethinking localization – a low income country perspective: the case of Asian vegetables in Ghana.  Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 3: 261-275; available from: http://oxfordindex.oup.com/view/10.1093/cjres/rsq016.  

 

Other Publications: 

Field, S. (in preparation). Natural Gas in the UK, Part 2.  The Energy Blog

Field, S. (in press) Book Review: Norms and Illegality – Intimate Ethnographies and Politics.  American Ethnologist

Field, S. (in press) Book Review: The Current Economy – Electricity Markets and Techno-economics.  Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Field, S. 2021. Book Review: Financialization: Relational Approaches. Anthropological Notebooks 27(1); available from: http://notebooks.drustvo-antropologov.si/Notebooks/issue/view/57.

Field, S. 2021. Natural Gas in the UK, Part 1: Infrastructures & Geopolitics.  The Energy Blog; available from: https://energyethics.st-andrews.ac.uk/blog/natural-gas-in-the-uk-part-1-infrastructures-geopolitics/.

Field, S, & MM High.  2021.  Oil, Oil, Who wants some oil?  Part 5: Betting on the Future.  The Energy Blog; available from: https://energyethics.st-andrews.ac.uk/blog/oil-oil-who-wants-some-oil-part-5-betting-on-the-future/.

Field, S.  2021. Book Review: Poverty as Ideology: Rescuing Social Justice from Global Development Agendas.  Studies in Social Justice 15(1); available from: https://journals.library.brocku.ca/index.php/SSJ/article/view/2437.  

Field, S, & MM High.  2020.  Oil, Oil, Who wants some oil?  Part 4: The Brent Crude Complex.  The Energy Blog; available from: https://energyethics.st-andrews.ac.uk/blog/oil-oil-who-wants-some-oil-part-4-the-brent-crude-complex/  

Field, S.  2020.  Book Review: Organizing the 1%: How Corporate Power Works. Studies in Social Justice 14(1); available from: https://journals.library.brocku.ca/index.php/SSJ/article/view/2273

Field, S., & MM High.  2020.  Oil, Oil, Who wants some oil?  Part 3: Anticipating the future and financializing oil.  The Energy Blog; available from: https://energyethics.st-andrews.ac.uk/blog/oil-oil-who-wants-some-oil-part-3-anticipating-the-future-and-financializing-oil/  

High, MM, & S Field.  2020.  Oil, Oil, Who wants some oil?  Part 2: Pipelines and Oil Prices.  The Energy Blog; available from: https://energyethics.st-andrews.ac.uk/blog/oil-oil-who-wants-some-oil-part-2-pipelines-and-oil-prices/  

High, MM, & S Field.  2020.  Oil, Oil, Who wants some oil?  Part 1: Reflections on Oil Infrastructures at a Time of Negative Oil Prices.  The Energy Blog; available from: https://energyethics.st-andrews.ac.uk/blog/oil-oil-who-wants-some-oil-reflections-on-oil-infrastructures-at-a-time-of-negative-oil-price/.  

Field, S.  2014.  Book Review: Blue-Green Province: The Environment and the Political Economy of Ontario. The Canadian Geographer 58 (1); e13-e14; available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cag.12069/abstract.  

 

Recent Presentations: 

Field, S. (forthcoming 2022). Oily Entanglements in the US Hydrocarbon Capital. American Association of Geographers, New York, 25 Feb-1 March.

Field, S. (forthcoming 2022). Carbon Capital. Geographies of Sustainability, Society, Inequalities and Possibilities Group (GOSSIP), School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews, 19 January.

Field, S. 2021. Power and precariousness in the expert hierarchies of the US hydrocarbon industry. The Anthropology of Power Versus the Anthropology of the Powerful. American Anthropological Association, 18 November.

Field, S. 2021. New Book Round Table (Chair & Discussant), with Canay Özden-Schilling, Peter Newell, and Ewan Gibbs. Energy Ethics 2021: Energy Transitions & Planetary Futures, University of St Andrews, 27 October.

Field, S. 2021. ETHICS-2021 – Jessica Smith author meets critics (Invited Speaker). IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, 30 October.

Field S. 2021. Timely Fad or Systemic Shift? The rise of ESG in the US hydrocarbon sector. Finance’s Pandemic Promises: Questioning impact and the Covid-driven surge in sustainable investing.  Impact Hau (The Hau of Finance: Impact Investing and the Globalization of Social and Environmental Sustainability); Dipartimento di Beni Culturali, University of Bologna, 7-8 October.

Field S.  2021. Old Problems, New Context and Responses.  UK-Russia University Alliance 2020/2021; The Global Food Crisis: Science Solutions, 27 October.

Field S.  2021. Invited Guest Lecture: Financial Futures and Energy Innovations.  Energy Finance & Transactions; Dedman School of Law, Southern Methodist University, Texas, 23 August.

Field S, and Tripathy A. 2021.  Financing Energy, Climate & The Future. Energy Café. Organized by S Field and M High; available from: https://energyethics.st-andrews.ac.uk/events/energy-cafe-6/.

Field, S. 2021. White Oil – Responsibility and the Corporeal Limits of Expertise in the US Energy Capital. Panel: Who Speaks for Energy? Responsibility and authority in the ethnographies of energy in an era of anthropogenic climate change.  ASA2021: RESPONSIBILITY, Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK. Panel organized by M High, P Destrée, and S Field. 

Field, S. 2021. Power and precarity in the expert hierarchies of the US hydrocarbon industry. Online panel organized by D. Souleles & M. Archer, Copenhagen School of Business. 

Field, S. 2020 Liquid Futures: financial perspectives on oil and gas from Houston Texas.  Energy Ethics 2020, University of St Andrews. 

Field, S. 2020. White Oil – Responsibility and the Corporeal Limits of Expertise in the US Energy Capital.  Panel: Who Speaks for Energy? Online panel organized by M High, P Destrée, and S Field, Energy Ethics Research Group, University of St Andrews.