All DEI seminars will take place on Zoom until further notice.
10 February 2022, 1-2pm
Dr Jeremy Schmidt, DEI Fellow & Associate Professor in the Department of Geography
Alberta’s oil sands are the fourth largest reserve in the world, but it has not always been a foregone conclusion that they would be extracted. In this talk I examine the history of state-led sciences through which Alberta’s oil sands were mapped and, ultimately, brought to market. Far from a story of ambitious entrepreneurs or capitalist risk on resource frontiers, the history of Alberta’s oil sands reveals the fundamental role of state-led sciences—especially geology and geography. Rethinking state-led science in Alberta is of special importance to understanding the role of economic geology in projects of western settlement and claims to territorial sovereignty, both of which are premised on Indigenous dispossession. The geology of the state, in short, not only fit with the project of settler colonialism but was and remains constitutive for the state itself.
Jeremy Schmidt is Associate Professor of Geography at Durham University. His energy research focuses on unconventional fossil fuel extraction for bitumen in Alberta, Canada. He also examines the water-energy nexus in the context of profound, and profoundly unequal, human impacts on the Earth system.