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The Ecology of Oil

The Ecology of Oil
Environment, Labor, and the Mexican Revolution, 1900–1938

$129.00 (C)

Part of Studies in Environment and History

  • Date Published: August 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521863247

$ 129.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • An exploration of the social and environmental consequences of oil extraction in the tropical rainforest. Using northern Veracruz as a case study, the author argues that oil production generated major historical and environmental transformations in land tenure systems and uses, and social organisation. Such changes, furthermore, entailed effects, including the marginalisation of indigenes, environmental destruction, and tense labour relations. In the context of the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920), however, the results of oil development did not go unchallenged. Mexican oil workers responded to their experience by forging a politicised culture and a radical left militancy that turned 'oil country' into one of the most significant sites of class conflict in revolutionary Mexico. Ultimately, the book argues, Mexican oil workers deserve their share of credit for the 1938 decree nationalising the foreign oil industry - heretofore reserved for President Lazaro Cardenas - and thus changing the course of Mexican history.

    • Integrates labour and environmental history
    • Analyses the environmental consciousness of Mexican oil workers
    • Adds new interpretation to the 1938 expropriation debate in Mexican history
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The research contained in this book is quite good, [...] [Santiago's] contributions to the budding scholarship on environmental change in Mexico deserve notice. [...]There is much of great value in Santiago's book."
    -Emilio Kouri, University of Chicago, American Historical Review

    "...the author had produced an imaginative and well researched account of oil development in the Mexican Huasteca." -Peter Linder, The Americas

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2006
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521863247
    • length: 426 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 27 mm
    • weight: 0.79kg
    • contains: 12 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations, figures, and appendices
    Part I. The Huasteca Before Oil:
    1. 'Paradise' and 'progress': the Huasteca in the 19th century
    Part II. The Ecology of Oil:
    2. Controlling the tropical forest: the shift in land tenure systems
    3. The anatomy of progress: changing land use patterns
    4. 'Masters of men, masters of nature': social change in the Huasteca
    Part III. Challenging the Ecology of Oil:
    5. 'Rude in manner': the Mexican oil workers, 1905–1921
    6. Revolutionaries, conservation, and wasteland
    7. The revolution from below: the oil unions, 1924–1938
    A note on the sources
    Archives consulted
    Selected bibliography

  • Author

    Myrna I. Santiago, St Mary's College, California
    Myrna I. Santiago is Associate Professor of History at St. Mary's College of California. Before earning her Ph.D. in History from the University of California at Berkeley, she travelled to Mexico on a Fullbright Fellowship and later worked in Nicaragua as a Human Rights investigator. Her work has appeared in Environmental History.

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