History Talk: Cracking Petroleum with Politics: Anglo-Persian Oil and the Sociotechnical Transformation of Iran, 1901-54
Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Room G529, 80 Fifth Avenue 80 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
This History Department welcomes a guest speaker who will present a rethinking of the history and politics of the modern Middle East through a study of the British-controlled oil industry in Iran from 1901 to 1954.
Focusing on a series of crises' punctuating this history, the talk considers the kinds of puzzles and political possibilities that are opened up in the battle over defining what shape the oil industry and national state will take. The talk will also zoom in on the role of an unexpected actor in this history, a formula, and the ways in which it transformed political issues, such as the replacement of foreign workers with Iranian ones, into a purely technical-economic calculation ensuring the oil company’s total control of its recruitment policy.
By offering an alternative account of the history of oil, the speaker challenges the division of labor between histories of technology on one side and histories of society and the economy on the other.
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