SGD Colloquium: Fractured Lives: Life and Labor in the Bakken Oil Fields by Dr. Bruce Braun


Fri, 12/02/2016 - 15:30
The oil boom in North Dakota’s Bakken region captured America’s attention in the years immediately following the 2008 financial crisis and recession, becoming the subject of countless articles, documentaries, art exhibitions, and even reality TV shows. Attention focused primarily on the influx of male workers, the promise of high wages, and the oil boom’s worker camps, strip clubs and bars. Far less attention was given to another aspect of the boom: the rate at which workers were dying on the job was an order of magnitude higher than in other US oilfields. In this talk, I attend to the conjoined geological, technological, and political-economic conditions by which ‘tight oil’ becomes ‘fast oil’, with consequences for workers and communities locally, nationally and globally. By tracing the conditions of ‘fast oil’, I argue that the Bakken oil boom has much to tell us about the specific juncture in which we live and work today, and points to analytical and conceptual tools needed to understand and negotiate life and labor in the Anthropocene.
Bruce Braun is Professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota. His books include, among others, The Intemperate Rainforest: Nature, Culture and Power on Canada's West Coast, Political Matter: Technoscience, Democracy and Public Life, and Remaking Reality: Nature at the Millennium. His current research explores the politics of urban resilience, extractive frontiers and geosocial formations, and environmental and political thought in the Anthropocene.

ENR2 Building, Room S107

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