The oil crises of the 1970s played a central role in the transformation of the global order in the late twentieth century. The crises reflected and intensified the larger crisis of US/Western hegemony in the decade, highlighting the North-South dimension of the Global Cold War. They also set in motion changes in the global system that played an important role in the collapse of communism, altered relations between the Global North and Global South and between countries in the Global South, and had a significant impact on the environment. While focused on the supply and price of a single energy source, the oil shocks of the 1970s highlighted the political – domestic and geopolitical – importance of oil and other energy sources and led to the emergence of “energy” as an issue area in national and international decision-making. In addition to restructuring the global energy order, the crises also led to significant changes in national economies and the global economy, especially the international monetary order. Understanding the causes, course, and consequences of the energy crises of the 1970s is crucial to understanding the transformation of the international order in the late twentieth century and provides key insights into the forces that continue to shape the contemporary world.
Scholarship on the oil crises of the 1970s has traditionally focused on the impact on oil markets, especially oil prices, and neglected environmental and equity issues, including the differential impact of the crisis on peoples as well as nations, especially as they relate to the Global South. Although most studies recognize the inter-connections between the energy crises and Middle East politics, the impact of the crises on the Global Cold War has only recently begun to attract scholarly study. With this conference we aim to highlight some of the lesser-known aspects and impacts of the 1970s energy crises. This also includes a focus on Canada, which has so far received little attention, even though it found itself in a unique position during the oil crises as one of the few Western and NATO countries with ample domestic energy resources. One of the main purposes of the proposed conference is to identify scholars who are focusing on environmental and equity issues, the Global Cold War, and Canada. We hope to both deepen and broaden our knowledge of the 1970s oil crises and encourage a dialogue among scholars from diverse perspectives.
Possible topics include but are not limited to:
- comparative country studies of the oil crises within or across regions (Capitalist West, Communist East, Global North, Global South)
- global/international/transnational history of the oil crises
- short and longer-term geopolitical impacts of the oil crises, new interpretations of the geopolitics of the 1970s oil crises
- oil crises and the environment (nationally, internationally, globally)
- gendered and racialized experiences of the oil crises
- oil crisis and the emergence of energy as a policy field; national and international policies and strategies; impact of these policies or strategies in the short and long term
- narratives and discourses about the oil crises, including their impact on existing political and economic ideologies
- remembering the oil crises
- Canada and the 1970s international oil crises
The conference will take place March 14-17, 2024, at the University of Calgary and the nearby Banff Conference Centre, nestled in the Rocky Mountains. The opening keynote will be given by J.R. McNeill, Distinguished University Professor of History, Georgetown University. Interested researchers are invited to submit proposals for papers (up to 400 words) and a short bio to Petra Dolata (email@example.com) and David Painter (firstname.lastname@example.org) by October 13, 2023. Selected participants will be notified by November 1, 2023, and will be asked to submit draft papers (up to 8,000 words) by February 15, 2024. Lodging and meals in Calgary and Banff and travel between Calgary and Banff will be provided. Although we expect participants to find funding for travel to and from Calgary as far as possible, the organizers will apply for funding to assist participants with travel expenses and expect a decision by January 31, 2024.