Sarah Stanford-McIntyre, College of William and Mary | Newberry

Sarah Stanford-McIntyre, College of William and Mary

Friday, May 5, 2017


Center for American History and Culture Programs
Labor History Seminar

Risky Business: How the Rhetoric of Capitalism Made Environmental Risk Palatable for Twentieth-Century Texas Oil Communities

Between 1923 and 1990 the Texas Permian Basin became one of the most prolific oil-producing regions in the world with the search for oil sparking a regional economic boom even as it impacted both local ecology and community health. Although faith in capitalistic progress infused regional expansion efforts, oil workers did not make a simple tradeoff between environmental degradation and economic stability. Instead I demonstrate that community boosters, company managers, and oil workers constantly negotiated and renegotiated the acceptable limits of environmental, economic, and social risk against the backdrop of a quickly globalizing industry.

Respondents: Darren Dochuk, University of Notre Dame and Ben Johnson, Loyola University Chicago

Cost and Registration Information 

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically. For a copy of the paper, email the Scholl Center at Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.