[PAST EVENT] Oil, Green Energy, Racialized Labor, & Visions for the Future: The Research of Dr. Andrea Wright

September 17, 2021
12pm - 1pm
Sadler Center, Commonwealth Auditorium
200 Stadium Dr
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Access & Features
  • Free food
  • Open to the public
Professor Andrea Wright is the inaugural recipient of the Jinlan Liu APIA Faculty Research Award, endowed by the Han Zhang and Jinlan Liu Family Foundation.

Professor Andrea Wright, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies and Anthropology, will discuss her book "Pgyroducing Labor Hierarchies: A History of Oil in the Arabian Sea" that examines the history of labor and oil production in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula, and interrogates the relationships among governments, oil companies and mobile workforces. To understand these relations, Professor Wright draws on archival materials collected in India, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and focus on working conditions, hiring practices, and worker actions from the 1930s to the 1970s — a period that includes the end of formal British imperialism in the Gulf and South Asia and the development of new state governments in both of those areas. In considering how lines between citizens and non-citizens were drawn and enforced, "Producing Labor Hierarchies" demonstrates that shifting definitions of human rights, national security, and race ultimately led to the evacuation of politics from the oilfields and cemented racialized labor hierarchies.

Professor Wright will also preview a new project that examines variations in global infrastructure development by comparing American, Indian, and Kuwaiti green energy initiatives. The focus is on religious beliefs, cultural perspectives on what constitutes the environment, debates regarding one’s ethical responsibility to the environment, and differing visions of the future. A central component of the new project is research on energy policies and community engagement in Virginia, with specific attention to the unequal environmental and economic impacts of new, so-called green energy projects. In particular, it attends to how racism, class inequalities, and historical narratives affect the planning of energy projects.