Darren Dochuk

Darren Dochuk is the Andrew V. Tackes College Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. He is also a Faculty Fellow at Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. His research and teaching deal primarily with the United States in the long twentieth century, with emphasis on the intersections of religion, politics, energy, and environment. His first book, From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism (2011), won the American Historical Association's John H. Dunning Prize and the OAH Ellis W. Hawley Prize. His latest book, Anointed with Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America(2019) is a study of religion and energy politics in North America's age of oil, from the 1850s to the present. He is also an editor and co-editor of several volumes, including Religion and Politics Beyond the Culture Wars: New Directions in a Divided America(2021), The Routledge History of the Twentieth-Century United States(2018) Faith in the New Millennium: The Future of Religion and American Politics (2016), and Sunbelt Rising: The Politics of Space, Place, and Region (2011).

OAH Lectures by Darren Dochuk

This lecture charts the political path of evangelical populism from its emergence in opposition to FDR in the 1930s to its ultimate ascent as a political force in the age of Trump. While accounting for the economic, cultural, and political factors that fueled the rise of the evangelical right on domestic soil, this lecture also draws connections to transnational trends and developments.

Drawing on recent examples of contestation over the Keystone pipeline and other sites of petroleum production, transportation, and refining in the North American west (from Texas to Alberta, Canada), this lecture demonstrates how matters, people, and institutions of faith have played outsized roles in the politics of oil during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries (from the age of FDR to the age of Trump). By extension it highlights the impact that religion has had on the construction and maintenance of oil-patch political culture, and the challenges American society faces in transitioning away from a carbon-based energy regime.

This lecture accounts for the dramatic ascent of evangelical Protestantism from outsider status to insider powerbroker in post-World War II America. It focuses particularly on the growth and transformation of the Sunbelt region, stretching from Southern California to South Carolina, and on the social, economic, and cultural factors that fueled evangelicalism's rise between the 1950s and present day. From megachurches to prosperity gospels, global missions to geopolitics, media empires to para-church ministries and nonprofit agencies: this lecture will survey and account for some of the most conspicuous facets of a religious movement on the rise.

With particular focus on religion and petroleum, but inclusive of other energy regimes as well (coal, electric, nuclear), this lecture uses the energy crisis of the 1970s to launch into a broader survey of faith and energy in modern American life. When President Jimmy Carter declared the energy crisis of his day a "moral" crisis he was not off the mark; as this lecture demonstrates, far more than an economic or material entity, energy is also imagined, instituted, contested, embraced, and experienced in religious form, with important political ramifications for the past development and future directions of this country.


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