Christopher R. W. Dietrich, Oil Revolution: Anticolonial Elites, Sovereign Rights, and the Economic Culture of Decolonization. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 366 pp. £27.99 (paperback), ISBN: 9781316617892.
Interviewed by Marc-William Palen
Chris Dietrich’s Oil Revolution innovatively uncovers the entwined history of “black gold,” decolonization, capitalism, and sovereignty in the postwar world. I recently had the opportunity to interview him about his book, which tackles big historical questions surrounding the ideas, policies, and networks of anticolonial elites after the Second World War, stretching from the Middle East to Algeria, Libya, and Venezuela. Dietrich’s wide-ranging story describes how these same elites were able to rewrite the rules of the global oil industry and Decolonization.
Prof. Dietrich is Associate Professor of History and Director of American Studies at Fordham University. He is the editor of the multi-volume Blackwell Companion to the History of U.S. Foreign Relations. His publications include articles in Diplomatic History, the International History Review, Itinerario, and Diplomacy and Statecraft. He also frequently writes historically centred editorials, including for the Imperial & Global Forum. You can follow him on Twitter @CRWDietrich
How would you summarize your book?
The book excavates the ideologies and policies of two generations of anticolonial oil elites in the era of decolonization, more or less from 1950 to 1975. It analyzes the twists and turns in their attempts to use newly popular theories of development economics and international law to make an argument for their nations’ economic sovereignty in the form of control over the production and price of oil. I undertake this general examination through chronological chapters on the origins and influence of new ideas about development economics and international law, with a close eye at the connected group of protagonists that navigated the international political economy through specific events such as the Iran oil nationalization of 1951, the 1956 Suez Crisis, the 1958 Iraq Revolution, the first Arab Petroleum Congress in 1959, the founding of OPEC in 1960, the creation of new oil laws in Libya, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Iran in the 1950s and 1960s, the Arab oil embargo of 1967, the 1969 Libyan Revolution, OPEC’s breakthrough in 1971, the second Arab oil embargo of 1973 to 1974, the fourfold increase in oil prices then, and, finally, the declaration and failure of the New International Economic Order of the 1970s. Continue reading “Oil Revolution: An Interview with Chris Dietrich”
From the postcolonial case for rethinking borders to why more and more black Americans are moving to Ghana, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”
Cross-posted from Humanitarianism & Human Rights
The Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) is currently meeting for the fifth time for one week of academic training at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz before continuing with archival research at the ICRC Archives in Geneva. In this context it is a great pleasure to announce that the GHRA is joined by a new partner, the Chair in International History and Historical Peace and Conflict Studies at the Department of History of the University of Cologne.
The Research Academy addresses early career researchers who are working in the related fields of humanitarianism, international humanitarian law, peace and conflict studies as well as human rights covering the period from the 18th to the 20th century. It supports scholarship on the ideas and practices of humanitarianism in the context of international, imperial and global history thus advancing our understanding of global governance in humanitarian crises of the present.
As in the last four years the GHRA received again a huge amount of applications from an extremely talented group of scholars from more than twenty different countries around the world. The selection committee considered each proposal carefully and has selected these participants for the GHRA 2019: Continue reading “Global Humanitarianism Research Academy 2019 Underway #GHRA2019”
The rapid economic and military ascent of China has been one of the major geopolitical developments over the past four decades, with the reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping entering its 40th anniversary this year. This has seen China go from a ramshackle, quasi-feudal empire into one of the Great Powers of the 21st century.  What has been the driving force behind this push has been China’s historical experiences, most notably those of the 19th and early 20th centuries, known to the Chinese as the Century of Humiliation (百年国耻), where China lost both its territory and its prestige to the imperial powers of the day.  These experiences have also been a tool in China’s relationships with the wider world as well as a unifying force within China, the legacy of which persists in the light of current tensions. Continue reading “How the Century of Humiliation Influences China’s Ambitions Today”
University of Exeter
The 1938 and 1944 pan-Arab conferences in Cairo, Egypt, were the events that “cement[ed] Arab feminist consciousness” (Golley, 2004) and the feminist debate was to erupt in the Arab world from the 1950s onwards. Hadidi and Al-Qadi have since investigated pioneering women’s writing in Syria and acknowledge the existence of new-woman characters, but they argue that the phenomenon only appeared in fiction from the 1970s onwards. They write: “[the] new woman is a type of female character almost wholly absent in previous periods; she starts to appear in the novels of the 1970s, which opened up to collective concerns and constructed fictional worlds based on the political and social reality in Syria and the Arab world” (2008, 87). Arab women’s feminist struggle, however, appeared much earlier — within fin-de-siècle Arabic fiction. Continue reading “Tracing the Origins of Early Feminism in the Arab World”