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Darren Dochuk
University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN 46556-4635)
Anointed With Oil: God and Black Gold in America's Century

A history of the connections between religion and the petroleum industry in the U.S., from the “King of Crude” Patillo Higgins in the 1890s to the Rockefeller and Pew families in the energy crisis of the 1970s to the current era of globalization.

This project examines the subtle but critical relationship between petroleum and religion in the twentieth century, with focus on the United States, its oil-patch regions, and their change over time, but also on the expansion of American oil-patch interests and influences abroad. Blending cultural, political, and economic history, it details and assesses how those living in oil-rich zones have always considered petroleum their special providence, a fragile gift bestowed by God to be used industriously for the advance of “His Kingdom.” Driven by sacred notions of production, stewardship, and dominion over the earth, they have long found a natural ally in the petroleum business, which has grafted these ideals onto an ideology of high-risk, high-reward wildcat entrepreneurialism. This marriage has spawned structures of power with sweeping impact, domestically and globally, and transformed American religion, politics, and culture in profound and lasting ways.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History of Religion; Political History; U.S. History

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2017 – 6/30/2018