Skip to main content


Re-Territorialising the Future: Writing Environmental Histories of the Oil Crisis in Africa

Centre for Imperial and Global History seminar: Dr Emily Brownell

This talk invites scholars to consider how we might write a history of the 1970s oil crisis in Africa. This particular case study considers how skyrocketing oil prices forced citizens and the state to remake Dar es Salaam,Tanzania's landscape and infrastructures in the decade after the Embargo. With virtually no foreign exchange by the 1980s, the city's industrial and residential areas were dramatically transformed by the resulting material shortages that became a way of life. Urban residents and businesses alike faced finding new modes of provisioning as well as reinventing and reclaiming old materials. While just one of many histories in the shadow of the oil crisis, I argue that environmental historians should take on a more central role in narrating the history of postcolonial Africa and they should also lay claim to histories outside of what has typically be glossed as "environmental". Dr Emily Brownell is a Lecturer in Environmental History at the University of Edinburgh.

Event details