New Book – Cold Water Oil: Offshore Petroleum Cultures

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Cold Water Oil: Offshore Petroleum Cultures. Edited by Fiona Polack and Danine Farquharson. London: Routledge, 2022. 292 pages, 14 B/W illustrations. Available in paperback, hardcover, eBook. ISBN 9780367903923

Cover of Cold Water Oil: Offshore Petroleum Cultures

The offshore petroleum industry is a crucial point of origin for global carbon emissions and other environmental harms, yet energy and environmental humanities scholars have tended to pay only intermittent attention to fossil fuel extraction at sea. Cold Water Oil: Offshore Petroleum Cultures helps redress this gap by considering the social, economic, and cultural imaginaries that attend oil and gas extraction in northern cold water oceans. Our multidisciplinary contributors illuminate ignored histories, influential contemporary narratives, and emerging energy and environmental futures. They also venture beyond the human to consider more-than-human perspectives on cold water oil. The volume focuses particularly closely on Arctic and North Atlantic regions: the oceanic territories of Norway, Canada, the UK, Russia, and the Iñupiat of Alaska. While there are moves towards decommissioning, or at least winding down expansion, in some of these places, the continuing pursuit of oil and gas in such environmentally sensitive seas enforces the lengths to which corporations and governments will go to maintain the centrality of fossil fuels.

Feature Image: ICEHORSE Submersible Skimmer recovering oil during prototype testing at BSEE’s Ohmsett Facility. This BSEE-funded research project is part of an effort to improve oil recovery in icy Arctic waters. “BSEE Highlights Arctic Collaborations on Response Technology Possibilities” by bseegov is licensed under CC PDM 1.0.
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Fiona Polack & Danine Farquharson

Fiona Polack is Associate Professor in the Department of English at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Academic Editor at Memorial University Press. She researches and publishes in the fields of energy and environmental humanities, island studies, and settler colonial studies. She currently leads the SSHRC Insight project "Oil Rigs and Islands" (2020-25), which examines contemporary cultural figurations of place-making in the offshore world, and collaborates with Danine Farquharson on other energy humanities projects. | Danine Farquharson is Associate Professor of English at Memorial University. Her early research focused on masculinity and violence in contemporary Irish literature and film. More recently, her interests are in the energy humanities, specifically collaborating with Fiona Polack. Together, they examine how the North Atlantic offshore oil and gas industry is imagined in a wide range of high and popular cultural contexts. She is co-founder with Julia Wright of Dalhousie University of SSHORE: Social Science and Humanities Ocean Research and Education.

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