In this webinar, Chelsea Schields will discuss her current book project, Offshore Attachments: Oil, Intimacy and the End of Empire, which tells the unlikely story of how the rise of oil and the end of empire played out in bedrooms, households and in the backrooms of bars. In the offshore Dutch territories in the Caribbean – islands under Dutch sovereignty and home to the world’s largest refinery sites – transnational oil companies, governing leaders and even U.S. military officials and the Catholic Church introduced peculiar forms of sexual regulation intended to maximize oil revenues and transform Caribbean subjects into European citizens. As the book will show, the result was a range of dubiously licit and obviously illegal efforts to control intimate behaviors, as well as creative efforts to refute and challenge them. Joining analysis of the political economy of oil with histories of race and sexuality, Offshore Attachments shows how durable prejudices structured oil economies and the uneven, enduring relation between Europe’s offshore margins and its continental core.
Chelsea Schields is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. Her scholarship explores the histories of sexuality, race, and the politics of oil and empire in modern Europe and the Caribbean. With Dagmar Herzog, she is co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Sexuality and Colonialism (2021). Recent articles have appeared in Radical History Review (2020), Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies (2019), and Gender & History (2019).
Esther Captain, senior researcher at KITLV.
Live stream on Facebook
The book discussion will be streamed on the public KITLV Facebook page. It is possible to watch the discussion afterwards on our facebook page.
Changing shift at the Lago Refinery on Aruba, 1944. Thousands of single, itinerant men arrived to staff and protect the oil refineries on Aruba and Curaçao in the 1940s. Credit: Photograph by Nelson Morris (Standard Oil Company of New Jersey), April-May 1944. LAGO Picture Collection, Deparatamento Arubiana-Caribiana, Bibilioteca Nacional Aruba.