Locating Oil

deadline for submissions: 
December 3, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Elizabeth Barrios, Assistant Professor of Spanish and TransAmerican Latino/a Studies at Albion College
contact email: 

Panel or Roundtable: Locating Oil


Rust/Resistance: Works of Recovery: The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, June 20-24, 2017


In 1939, General Motors sponsored the video To New Horizons, screened at the New York World’s Fair. Citing the wonders of oil-fueled technology, the film’s voice-over exclaims, “Over space, man has begun to win his victory—Space for all!” Such a statement reveals the extent to which the transformation and conquest of space has been a central tenet of oil-fueled capitalism—a conquest that, as the film exemplifies, must also occur on a representational scale. Beyond the automobiles, synthetic materials, and infrastructure praised in To New Horizons, the oil industry’s spatial impact in the last century can be seen in the growth and devastation of boomtowns, the shifting of geopolitical power, and of course, ecological degradation at local and planetary scales.

This panel or roundtable hopes to explore the ways in which creative artists and thinkers have engaged with oil’s spatial configurations—from its impact on specific localities, to its global dispersion. Some potential points of discussion include: how does oil extraction, transportation and consumption affect specific localities? What kinds of challenges has the oil economy posed to established spatial categories—nature and wasteland, the local and global, national territory? Is there an ‘outside’ to oil capital? Can spaces of resistance be created?


 Please submit an abstract (max. 300 words) and a short bio (max. 150 words) by December 3rd to ebarrios@albion.edu