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).
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.