The Prize? Energy, Security, and Expertise

AHA Session 188
Saturday, January 6, 2018: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Congressional Room B (Omni Shoreham, West Lobby)
Osamah F. Khalil, Syracuse University
Continental Shelf Expansion: The US Interior Department’s Quest for Oil, 1945–69
Megan Black, London School of Economics and Political Science
Oil Sovereignty, American Foreign Policy, and the 1968 Coup in Iraq
Brandon Wolfe-Hunnicutt, California State University, Stanislaus
The Uses of Energy Independence
Victor Robert McFarland, University of Missouri
Osamah F. Khalil, Syracuse University

Session Abstract

Oil has been described as “power” and the “lifeblood” of the global economy. The reliance on, and control of, energy resources is often a simple and convenient explanation for America's involvement in and policies toward the Middle East. Yet the emphasis on, and the global competition over, energy resources can be misleading. Our interdisciplinary and transnational panel examines the intersection of and tensions between energy, security, and expertise.

Has U.S. foreign policy been influenced by the ideology of oil scarcity? Why did U.S. government agencies promote energy exploration over conservation? Did American business and foreign policy interests converge or clash over promoting Iraq's Ba'th Party in the 1960s? Has America's pursuit of energy independence been rhetorical?

Our panel seeks to answer these and other questions through separate but related case studies from the early Twentieth Century to the present. It also engages with the conference theme by examining how notions of race, ethnicity, and nationalism at home and abroad influenced perceptions of military, political, and economic power.

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