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Grant number: FT-59903-12

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Darren Dochuk
Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN 47907-2040)

God and Black Gold in Modern America: Evangelical Entrepreneurs and the American Oil Industry

My project traces historic ties between evangelicalism and oil. It argues that oil-patch evangelicals have long considered petroleum their special providence, a divine gift to advance His Kingdom. Driven by sacred notions of production and dominion, they have found an ally in the oil business, which has grafted these ideals onto an ideology of wildcat capitalism. This marriage has had profound impact. While money accrued through oil has helped evangelical clerics build imposing ministries, evangelical businessmen have used their religious commitments to advance oil's interests at home and abroad. This relationship has produced as much angst as hope for evangelicals, yet the trade-off has always been understood as the price of one's chose-ness in a fallen world. Whether praying in their pews for oil's bounty or for deliverance from its excesses, evangelicals have viewed their place in this sector as special and created a powerful subculture that at once honors God and black gold.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2012 – 6/30/2012