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Lecture | LIMS seminar | Book Talk

Offshore Attachments: Oil and Intimacy in the Caribbean

Wednesday 11 October 2023
Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminars 2023-2024
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Conference room (2.60)

Historian Chelsea Schields illuminates how the contested management of sex and race transformed the Caribbean into a crucial site in the global oil economy, delving into her 2023 book, Offshore Attachments: Oil and Intimacy in the Caribbean (University of California Press). 


By the mid-twentieth century, the Dutch islands of Curaçao and Aruba housed the world's largest oil refineries. To bolster this massive industrial experiment, oil corporations and political authorities offshored intimacy, circumventing laws regulating sex, reproduction, and the family in a bid to maximize profits and turn Caribbean subjects into citizens. Offshore Attachments reveals that, from boom to bust, Caribbean people challenged and embraced efforts to alter intimate behaviors in service of the energy economy, molding the industry from the ground up. Moving from Caribbean oil towns to European metropolises and examining such issues as sex work, contraception, kinship, and the constitution of desire, Schields narrates a surprising story of how racialized concern with sex shaped hydrocarbon industries as the age of oil met the end of empire.


The Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminars (LIMS) aim at fostering further discussion across disciplines on migration-related topics and creating an open dialogue between the speakers and the attendees. The seminars are a platform for those at Leiden University working on migration-related topics. LIMS is associated with Social Citizenship & Migration (SCM), one of nine interdisciplinary programmes launched by Leiden University in 2020.

Interested in attending? Please send an e-mail to Dr. Andrew Shield.

Offshore Attachments: Oil and Intimacy in the Caribbean (book information)

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