University of Minnesota Press

During the past decade, new oil plays have unsettled energy landscapes and imaginaries in the US. Settling the Boom, a volume of essays, studies how the disruptive forces of an oil boom in the northern Great Plains of Williston, North Dakota, are contained through the extension of settler temporalities, reassertions of heteropatriarchy, and the tethering of life to the volatility of oil and its cruel optimisms. Here, the book’s coeditors Mary E. Thomas and Bruce Braun are joined in conversation.

Mary E. Thomas is associate professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at The Ohio State University. She is coeditor of Settling the Boom, coauthor of Urban Geography, and author of Multicultural Girlhood.

Bruce Braun is professor of geography at the University of Minnesota. He is coeditor of Settling the Boom and Political Matter, and author of The Intemperate Rainforest.

Episode references:
Cruel Optimism / Lauren Berlant
Pollution Is Colonialism / Max Liboiron
White Earth (film)
Jessica Christy, Through the Window exhibition

Location of focus:
Western North Dakota, including Willison (Williston Basin) and Dickinson, within the Bakken Formation.

Settling the Boom: The Sites and Subjects of Bakken Oil, is available from University of Minnesota Press. This edited collection includes contributions from Morgan Adamson, Kai Bosworth, Thomas S. Davis, and Jessica Lehman.

What is University of Minnesota Press?

Authors join peers, scholars, and friends in conversation. Topics include environment, humanities, race, social justice, cultural studies, art, literature and literary criticism, media studies, sociology, anthropology, grief and loss, mental health, and more.