Dynamic Photographs (with poop)

After reading Y. Hamilakis’s and F. Ifantidis’s Camera Kalaureia (2016), I got to thinking how I could be a bit more vivid and dynamic with the photographs that I use to document, illustrate, and analyze my work. This is particularly significant for our work in the Bakken oil patch where we relied heavily on photographic documentation. As I note in my brief notes on Camera Kalaureia, the photographs in that volume move the viewers eye and invite close inspection. They are remarkably vivid.

While I certainly don’t have the “camera skillz” necessary to take these kinds of photographs consistently and tend to resort to a kind of documentary mode of photography, I began to play with using triptychs to demonstrate ranges of behavior or exempla of a particular phenomenon. The use of three images juxtaposes similar phenomena in a more engaging way and asks the viewer to consider the 

Here are two that I’ve prepared for an article that we’re revising for a Journal of Contemporary Archaeology forum.  

Fig 4

This image shows different types of architectural elaboration at a Bakken RV park ranging from a well manicured lawn and fenced yard to the a construction of a shell surrounding a small RV. 

Fig 5

This images captures various stages of abandonment in workforce housing sites in the Bakken. I think it’s fairly self-explanatory, but the last image to the right shows stuff left behind by squatters.  

 

George Starcher and The Future of the University

It’s the first day of classes here at University of North Dakota and the first semester for our new President Hon. Mark Kennedy. It could be an exciting new era here or it might not matter at all. The important thing is the we should all believe that it matters and look ahead to a new day here at UND. To celebrate this, I’m reposting a post for the North Dakota Quarterly page, which is, in turn, a repost of an article published in the 1956 volume of NDQ

62 years ago, the University of North Dakota welcomed George F. Starcher and two years later, North Dakota Quarterly awoke from its 23-year, depression-induced slumber. In the first volume of its return, NDQ featured an article by then President George F. Starcher titled the “Future of the University.” Starcher probably did more for UND as an institution than any president since Webster Merrifield, and while overshadowed by his popular successor, Tom Clifford, Starcher remade the university as a modern institution adaptable to the new responsibility and expectations of higher education in the post-war world. Whatever one thinks of the modern university, at the University of North Dakota, George Starcher set campus on that course. North Dakota Quarterly was part of that vision. For a retrospective on Starcher’s important term as president, check out the 1971 volume of NDQ where Elwyn Robinson tells the story of Starcher’s term in office. We wish UND’s new president Hon. Mark Kennedy the successes of George Starcher as he pilots UND into the heart of the 21st century. 

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George W. Starcher

It is never easy to look ahead and predict things to come. Yet it is essential that all of us at the University be continuously engaged in planning for the future. An educational institution, by its very nature, cannot stand still. Knowledge is ever growing, and ways of thinking change, too. Since we cannot know what new ideas the future may bring, we do not expect.a perfect blueprint for the University, accurate in every detail. But we can look ahead and see what the pattern will be like. If we are to meet the challenge that lies ahead, every step taken now must fit the larger pattern. Too often large complex institutions build only to meet a clearly evident present need.

We must always keep in mind our past history and the place of the University in the entire system of higher education in the state. The University was established by the territorial legislature in 1883 as the first institution of higher education in North Dakota. With the coming of statehood people felt the need for colleges distributed over the state providing specialized training. The Agricultural College, the School of Science, the School of Forestry and the five State Teachers Colleges all have special functions which we recognize as we plan for the future of the University. The founders of this University were interested in a “good education”, and from the beginning the people have insisted that emphasis be upon quality of education rather than upon size of enrollments or numbers of athletic contests won. The people who support a program of higher education of such variety and extent believe in the importance of all higher education to the state. The University will work with the other institutions in the state in seeking public support to strengthen and improve our total program, for what we all do is so interrelated that we can no longer afford competition for funds for one institution at the expense of another. Nowhere is it more important than in education to recognize that “the rising tide lifts all the boats,” for what helps one strengthens all. I believe the people will continue to support the Governor and the Legislature in any steps to continue the development of their University and Colleges along sound lines.

Good teachers and the excellence of their teaching are far more important than fine buildings in developing a great university. With this in mind, I believe that in the future higher salaries will enable us to meet the growing competition for distinguished professors who stand out as peaks of excellence in any university. The University will go farther toward relieving the faculty of concern for the future by securing added retirement benefits, insurance, and some form of protection against calamity.

The faculty will be spending even more time studying their courses and teaching methods. They will continue to search for better ways to do a better job and to keep· the unit costs of instruction at the lowest possible level consistent with an adequate program and effective teaching. Curricula will change – they need to if they are to be realistic and appropriate for tomorrow’s world. Better and more up-to-date equipment and teaching devices will be available. We shall probably teach fewer courses, always trying to improve the quality of our teaching rather than to multiply courses in a race to keep up with expanding knowledge. There will be more self-education by students Throughout the whole range of curricular and extra-curricular activities there will be more attention to character and responsibility as fundamental to the success, happiness, and usefulness of future University graduates.

Future Enrollments

It is always risky to venture a predic-tion of enrollments because so many factors, known and unknown, determine how young people will decide about their future. However, there are certain clear facts and signals we cannot ignore. We know that we shall have approximately 50 per cent more college- age youth in North Dakota by 1970. The increase in enrollment in all institutions of higher education in North Dakota in the fall of 1955 was nearly 20 per cent, while for the nation it was less than 9 per cent. If this means that a higher percentage of North Dakota youth of college age going to college, and/or that more of them are remaining in the state for their higher education, we can expect the trend to continue. If it does, we could have over 5,000 students at the University by 1970. This would be possible only if we have the housing and the facilities on campus to give them the education they will want and need. We are still a long way from realizing the aim of our founders – to make education possible for every boy or girl who has the ability and is willing to work. If we can see our student financial aids develop to the point where no worthy applicant is denied, then a prediction of 5,000 by 1970 is perhaps too low.

Student financial aid will grow. Many of our most outstanding schools have more than one-third of their students receiving scholarship aid, while state schools often exceed one in four. The people, who are concerned about realizing an equal educational opportunity for all, will see to it that there are more scholarships to be awarded on the basis of need to those able to profit from attending the University.

The physical plant will change. Fortunately, for more than thirty years a careful plan for campus development has been followed. There will be more attention to landscaping and many visitors will acclaim the campus one of the most beautiful in the country. We shall be dreaming of beauty achieved by appropriate placement of buildings and suitable landscape effects rather than by expensive architecture and elaborate horticultural displays not possible in the area.

A completed quadrangle unit of six dormitories can house one thousand men in the Hancock Hall area. A third dormitory for women west of Johnstone and Fulton Halls, with a dining unit, would give accommodations for a total of about five hundred women. Building in that section of the campus would force removal of the temporary service building. By that time we may be able to bring together all maintenance services in one unit.

A new administration building will add more than accommodations for widely scattered offices. It will permit better organization of administrative routines and provide facilities for procedures in accord with the best practices in university administration.

The future University may have a full day radio schedule and television outlet for educational programs produced on the campus. It is possible that North Dakota may undertake the support of a television network covering the state and carrying to schools and adults a systematic program of educational television. This would make it possible for every citizen to have access to the store of knowledge and cultural benefits from each of the state’s institutions of higher education as they share program time on the network.

An essential adjunct to the modern university is a program of convocations and performances that brings to the student body the constant stimulus of musical, dramatic, lecture, and other cultural experiences that require a large auditorium and a theatre.

Student Life

The future will see closer faculty-student relationships, better faculty counseling with students, and more student participation in committees. Custom will build traditions of greater student-faculty cooperation on committees concerned with fraternity and sorority affairs, athletics, social functions, radio and television. Students will participate in planning for their own welfare; and thus, they will know what is going on and have a part in it. They will seek advice of their elders, more than in the past and appreciate and respect even more fully the kind of responsibility that rests with the faculty and administration. The social life of students will be even better organized, with more emphasis on housing places as social units. Students will control themselves and be the means of achieving the basic aims of the University through their own concern for the intellectual and cultural life of the University, as well as for activities which develop social skills and cultivate habits based on sound character and a true sense of responsibility.

Academic Life

The future will see increasing emphasis on education for responsibility as a citizen. The development of personality and personal assets will be stressed both in extra-curricular activities and in the formal curriculum. Students will increasingly demonstrate that they want to prepare themselves to do worthwhile things rather than to pursue purely selfish and economic ends alone. They will want to include courses that emphasize character development and human relations skills.

The faculty will be continuously studying and revising their courses. Accelerating change will mean that lectures will have to be revised more often and be kept up-to-date. We shall get used to the fact that a course with a given title may be quite different from year to year. With a trend toward fewer and better courses, changing with knowledge, there will be modifications of basic degree requirements. Minimum requirements may be reduced in number, but there will be increased emphasis upon faculty advisement, as well as greater student interest in fundamental courses and in planning programs to give the best academic preparation for service in the world of tomorrow.

The University College will stress basic general education and preparation for specialization, but it will find two types of students not satisfied by present curricula. One is the student who is unable to meet the academic standards required for a degree. The other is the student who cannot or who does not wish to plan a four-year program, yet wants something that will permit two years’ preparation for some vocation. A two-year general and vocational edu- cation program in the University College is inevitable if we are to continue to meet the challenge of educational opportunity for all, on an equal basis, and at the same time maintain, high standards for our four-year degree programs. Moreover, a two-year program for some will help solve enrollment problems of the future by enabling certain students to complete their work in two years.

There will be new curricula and new emphasis in some of these we now have. Some programs will be curtailed. There will be a greater use of audio-visual aids and television in teaching. Discussion classes will be more common – perhaps combined – larger lecture groups. The case method of teaching, which was first adopted by the law schools, then taken up by the medical state and now by the business schools, will find its way more and more into the citizens undergraduate classroom as an effective way to teach certain courses. It will require a generation to develop the cases, to obtain the staff, and to secure general enough acceptance of the values derived from such teaching for us to have many of these courses. Curricula in areas now untouched will appear; for example, the appropriate program for the teaching of atomic physics and related phenomena will find an adequate place in our program.

Graduate work will develop. The state will see to it that we more nearly meet the demand for masters and doctors in North Dakota. Even if we are slow to fully recognize that this need is as important as others, we shall see that a program, comparable to what we do in the medical and law school for supplying these graduates is supported.

Summary

By the year 1970 the University will not be so large as to have lost any of its present advantages, but rather there will be more systematic attention to counseling and developing close faculty-student relationships both inside and outside the classroom. The physical plant – laboratories, shops, classrooms and lecture halls – will have to expand, with more attention being given to special-purpose classrooms. Funds appropriated for building in 1957 will not produce buildings ready for use before 1960. The first bulge from the increased birth rate, babies born in 1940, will be ready to go to college in 1958. If only half of an additional 1500 students need university housing, we shall have to add three large dormitories to what we have already scheduled.

Since the quality of what we do depends first upon the faculty, we must secure top people fully prepared for their tasks, with adequate personal and academic qualifications, from a market more highly competitive than anything we have ever faced. In addition to normal replacements we might have to add one hundred new staff members by 1970. The cost will represent an investment in the discovery and development of the most important natural resource the state possesses – its youth.

The road ahead must widen as the University grows in usefulness to the citizens of the state through curricula that will reach even more people and through increased research both pure and applied. The University has had a healthy growth; and it can now look to the future fortified in the strength of a sound administrative organization, a Board of Higher Education with vision and imagination dedicated to the ultimate good of the state, a well-prepared faculty, a vitally concerned student body, and loyal alumni. With the continued friendly interest and support of citizens, the respect of its institutional neighbors and the good will of the state’s elected officials the University will do its part to achieve the goal of a good education for more and more students.

 

Red Line Proofs and Vivid Figures

It’s the first week of classes and I am flailing about trying to finish up a few projects before the onslaught of the semester gets under way. For this week, I have three projects that need to be shoved unceremoniously forward before the creep of on-campus responsibilities brings my productive days to an end.

First, I got redline proofs from my book, The Bakken: An Archaeology of An Industrial Landscape on Friday. I spent the weekend being politely overwhelmed by the prospects of tidying up a 40,000 word text in less than a week, but, yesterday, I got on with the program in earnest. So far, I’ve been relieved the the text is pretty tidy, but like any text that has come into being over the course of a couple years, rather than a couple months, there are consistency and style issues:

1. Second Person or Impersonal. When I first started working on the the book, I allowed myself to use the second person a bit: “you will see on the left an important workforce housing site.” As the book went through various revisions, I decided that this was a lazy way to write and not particularly consonant with the style in the vintage tourist guides that I was trying to imitated. With each revisions, I’ve found a few more examples of second person to the stamped out.

2. Adverbs. My writing – particularly in early drafts – reads like an adverb truck dumped its contents all over the page. I use adverbs relentlessly (see what I did there) both out of habit and to add sparkle to my prose. But like Usain Bolt’s limited edition Hublot chronograph, there can be too much of a good thing. While ites, green, and gold go a long way to celebrate Bolt’s legacy, my adverbial bling makes for some mighty tedious reading. My book could lose about 60% of its adverbs with no ill-effect.

3. Details. At a picnic yesterday to welcome new and returning graduate students, we were discussing ways to get our students to pay more attention to details. I stood awkwardly silent because I am not a detail oriented person (as any reader of this blog knows). In fact, most of my career has involved me surrounding myself with people who’s attention to detail can compensate for my own inattentiveness. The copy editing to The Bakken is first rate, but there are matters of detail and precision throughout that I need to tidy up before the book is typeset. I can’t imagine catching all the little problems in the text, but I can certainly catch most of them.

My second project for this week is pulling together some images for a forum submission to the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology on the work of the North Dakota Man Camp Project (and this involves me studiously ignoring several larger, simmering projects like an Oxford Handbook contribution and an archaeological volume!). It’s basically the only thing I managed to write this summer and the thin line between a productive and unproductive summer writing season. We received some very specific and focused feedback from the forum’s editor, Yannis Hamilakis, and have tidied up the text and made it more engaging and vivid. 

The last thing to do is wrangle the images for the paper and this involved both finding a good (as in already drawn) map and  bringing together an appealing gaggle of photographs. One thing that I do want to work on is preparing some images that include multiple photographs to illustrate a larger point or to show a sequence of events. This involves using Adobe Illustrator and (excuse, excuse, excuse) will get done this morning before it gets too hot.

Finally (and, yes, I know that I only had two things on my list), I have a few gestating web projects that just need to be tidied up before the links can be circulated or the sites taken live. There isn’t much work to do here, but the work that has to be done is fussy enough that it’ll take me some time. So look for some live links later this week and some images from the Bakken and more the The Bakken book.

North Dakota Quarterly and Budget Cuts: What Can You Do?

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We’d like to thank everyone who has sent notes of support, word of encouragement, and thoughts our way as we begin to look ahead toward a new future for North Dakota Quarterly

We particularly appreciate the willingness of subscribers, contributors, and colleagues to be part of this process. To keep this conversation going and to keep you informed our plans, new projects, and collaborative opportunities, we’d like to encourage you to add your name to our email list. We will not pelt you with requests for contributions or fill your inbox with frivolous updates. We do, however, recognize that at least part of NDQ’s future will be digital, and we want to make sure that people who care about the Quarterly are kept informed of new (and classic!) digital content.

We’d very much like to keep in touch as NDQ moves forward. Please add your name to our email list here to be the first to be receive updates on our plans, new content, and other NDQ news as well as to contribute to the ongoing conversation as we seek to transform the one-hundred year legacy of North Dakota Quarterly.

So click here to sign-up!

The image at the top of this post is painting by Elmer Halverson from Wheelock, North Dakota. Wheelock is a small, nearly abandoned town in the heart of the Bakken oil patch and this painting is of the North Dakota badlands. The oil boom has put pressure on the badlands, briefly re-invigorated small towns like Wheelock, and is partly responsible for the current financial challenges across the state. This painting was on the cover of NDQ 24.1 (Winter 1956) which was the first NDQ volume to appear after a 13 year hiatus during the Great Depression and World War II. 

The University of North Dakota Budget and North Dakota Quarterly

For anyone interested in the fate of North Dakota Quarterly during the most recent round of UND budget cuts, go and read our statement here.

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As you can maybe imagine these cuts have been pretty difficult for the entire university community, and while the university tries very hard to be transparent, they really don’t know how to do it. For some this is frustrating, but for many of us, it’s sad. I reminds me a bit of my dog when he really tries to understand human language, but can’t. Except then it’s cute. 

I think these cuts provide an opportunity for all levels of the administration to learn about how the university works. It will be a time of growth for our administrators as they discover where cuts matter and where they don’t. Invariably some cuts involved eating seed corn that administrators will want for in the future. Other cuts pared away the small pockets of fat on campus that while profligate, provided flavor. While faculty and students can thrive in almost any environment, I worry that mistakes made by deans, provosts, and presidents will make it more difficult for these individuals to move on to more lucrative and prestigious jobs elsewhere and make it more difficult to recruit quality administrators in the future. 

The Writers Conference

There is a lot of crazy, stressful, and, frankly, bad stuff going on across campus at the University of North Dakota right now. Budget crisis, identity crisis, leadership crisis, mission crisis. In fact, anyone anywhere who is not personalizing and politicizing the sense of crisis, simply isn’t do higher education right. 

But, from all of this, we get a break for a few days. The UND Writers Conference offers a kind of Halcyon Days. Go check out the schedule and go to the events (if you’re from North Dakota). If you’re not from here, take a few days and wish you were (it happens very, very rarely). 

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My Bakken Research in 14 Mediocre Images

If you’ve been following my blog over the last couple of weeks, you’ve perhaps noticed that Kyle Cassidy has been working overtime to get us media coverage for the Bakken Goes Boom: Oil and the Changing Geographies of Western North Dakota.

His photo essay on the Bakken has appeared in Slate, Fast Co. Design, and the Daily Mail. It’s really good.

Since I just finished putting together a group of photographs and illustration with rather detailed captions, I thought I’d try my hand at a little photo essay. I’m not Kyle Cassidy, but here goes:

Figure 1FINALFigure 1: The thick line delineates the Bakken formation, and the vast majority of oil related activities take place in Mountrail, Williams, McKenzie, and Dunn counties in Western North Dakota. 

Figure 2Figure 2: Map showing workforce housing in the Bakken. Dots represent camps recorded in an inventory of “temporary workforce housing establishments” in the western part of North Dakota. The stars are our study sites in the region.

Figure 3Figure 3: A kite photograph of a Type 1 Camp outside Tioga, ND. Note the regular arrangement of units, the elevated walkways between units, and the small common building with a flat roof in the center right of the image.

Figure 4Figure 4: The alley between two rows of units in a Type 2 Camp outside of Williston, ND. The alley provides space for the electrical masts, water and sewage hookups, and for storage. It also provides access to buried pipes that sometimes require maintenance.

Figure 5Figure 5: The haphazard arrangement of RVs in a Type 3 Camps near Tioga, ND. Without the constraints of electrical masts or water and sewage hook ups, in this instance, a Type 3 camp used this flexibility to create common spaces. 

Figure 6Figure 6: Man camps tend to cluster around the edges of existing settlements to leverage concentrations of existing infrastructure, and to avoid jurisdictional complications associated with being within city limits. 

Figure 7Figure 7: The use of extruded polystyrene foam around the base of an RV provides insulation. Note the use of wood braces for the foam, the insulated sewage pipe, and the wood box over the water and hookup.

Figure 8Figure 8: Well-constructed wood framing to support extruded polystyrene insulation around the base of the RV. Note the panel removed for access to the underside of the RV.

Figure 9Figure 9: A rather typical mudroom set atop an elevated platform with a small deck. Note the tar-paper roof, the modest efforts at decoration, and the plants set into Wal-mart pails.

Figure 10aFigure 10a: External platforms are among the most common architectural interventions in the Bakken. They provide a defined space elevated from mud, dirt, and snow. Note the use of a standard shipping pallet as a step.

Figure 10bFigure 10b: This is a common assemblage associated with the demarcated and elevated space of a platform is unsecured, and includes (a) grill (b) cooler (c) camp chairs (d) propane cylinder (e) camp table (f) shipping pallet (g) deck.

Figure 11Figure 11: This is an elaborate example of demarcated property. The placement of the RV on the border of the lot forms one border for private space that is here defined by a flimsy fence, some impermanent landscaping, an elevated platform, and the personal touches including a “Brad and Brenda” sign.

Figure 12Figure 12: Free weights along with elaborate grills contribute to the hyper-masculine identity present in the Bakken. Weights are often left unsecured and then abandoned when residents move on. Photo by Kyle Cassidy.

Figure 13Figure 13: The two grills visible outside the mudroom of a pair of RVs in the Bakken complement a typical, if elaborate assemblage of objects associated with short-term occupation: tomato plants in planters, platforms made of shipping pallets, children’s bikes and toys, cinderblocks, and a rubber trash can.

DSC 2050 copyBonus Photo! (From Left): Richard Rothaus, Bill Caraher, and Bret Weber at the site of an abandoned man camp. Photo by Kyle Cassidy.

The Uncanny Bakken

Another of my little spring break projects was a book review for a literary journal on Lisa Peters’ Fractured Land and Richard Edwards’ Natives of a Dry Place. I’ve blogged on the former here and the latter here. I think this is my best effort to understand how recent work on the Bakken contributes to a larger conversation about oil and social change.

Enjoy:

Even as the oil boom in western North Dakota has entered a protracted lull, the publishing of oil related books has continued to boom. Lisa Peters’ Fractured Land: The Price of Inheriting Oil and Richard Edwards’ Natives of a Dry Place: Stories of Dakota Before the Boom represent two fine, recent contributions to the literature on North Dakota before and during the Bakken boom. Both books come from authors who have spent most of their lives outside North Dakota, but have reconnected with their roots in the Northern Plains during the expansion of oil related activity in the region.

Peters’ father grew up near Williston, and her grandfather, whose homestead failed north of Williston, found ways later in life to invest shrewdly (and presciently) in property and mineral rights on the Nesson anticline. Her father, who became an engineer at 3M, earned some modest income over his life from these rights and used them to build a cabin on the scenic St. Croix River in Wisconsin. Ironically, the author’s time on this river as a child and adult inspired her own environmentalism, and it is this environmentalism that motivated her personal journey through the Bakken, through the complexities of oil production, and the process of fracking. The book starts with her trip to visit her dying father who retired to Florida and concludes with her spreading of his ashes near an oil well on her family’s land. In between, she visits a fracking sand mine in a sensitive ecology in Wisconsin, has a frank conversation with a fracking engineer, visits a working drill rig, and shares coffee with a local farmer who has no sympathy for the oil industry. Her journey is personal, and she does little to hide her deeply conflict attitudes between the practical reality of our chemical-infused world, and the environmental risks of oil, the ethical questions associated with fracking, and the difficult history of the semi-arid northern plains.

Richard Edwards left Stanley, North Dakota when he was 12. Today, Stanley sits on the eastern side of the Bakken oil patch and is home to pipeline terminals, units yards, and oil field workers. The Stanley of Edwards’ youth, was more sleepy and less prosperous, but populated with a cast of characters who would be comfortable in a Mark Twain novel. Edwards’ book begins with a description of the conflicts between those who benefited and those who have suffered during the boom in contemporary Stanley. He then explores the Stanley of his youth borrowing freely from his family’s memories, photographs, and documents to tell eight stories arranged around a series of themes: resoluteness, steadfastness, devotion to community, pluck, commitment, dauntless optimism, spirit of adventure, and modesty. At first, these stories read like home-spun wisdom, but this belies their complexity. Edwards stories show that societies “usually get what they celebrate.” His tale of commitment, for example, tells how his aunt’s husband left his wife of 20-years to reunite with his teenage love. He demonstrates resoluteness in a story about the recovery of Tom Scrivner’s body from a dry well that becomes a murder mystery. However resolute town folks were in finding Scrivener’s body did not extend to finding his murderer. The subtle contradictions in these stories reveal the tensions within even the most conspicuous small-town values. By the end of the book, boom-time Stanley is somehow less different from Stanley before the boom, and more a natural extension of a society’s values.

The landscape and experience of the Bakken Oil Boom is distinctly uncanny. It is at once familiar. After all, the characters if Peters and Edwards book are people who we know in any town or city. They are environmentalists, concerned fathers, dutiful siblings, and eccentric neighbors. In many ways, the tensions between Peters’ environmentalism and her family’s oil patch profits are the same that many of us feel when indulge in the convenience of bottled water, leave our car idling on a cold winter day, or read a paper book because “we like how a book feels.” Both books speak to a very modern experience of being in the world.

At the same time, all booms are, by definition, sudden, unexpected, and extraordinary. As Edwards notes, societies get what they celebrate, but few can celebrate or anticipate such a sudden boom. In fact, many of the tensions present in the Bakken, from housing shortages to infrastructure strain, demonstrate the limits to our ability to anticipate these kinds of events. Fracking takes place far beneath the earth, using secret (or at least complicated) processes and chemicals, and the novel and unknowable risks of fracking contribute to the public’s concern.

The authors’ perspective as both insiders and outsiders contributes to their uncanny view of North Dakota and the Bakken Oil Boom. North Dakota is a strange and wonderful place, and both Peters and Edwards make clear that we can learn from it.

The Tourist Guide to the Bakken: New Title and Introduction

It looks good for me and Bret Weber to submit the almost complete manuscript of our Tourist Guide to the Bakken Oil Patch. We’ve had a few cool developments over the last week.

First, we have a new title. Since the book formerly known as The Tourist Guide will appear in the Heritage Guide Series, it seemed a bit redundant to use the word guide twice on the cover of the book. So we changed its name the simpler: The Bakken. To reinforce the book’s academic credentials, the publisher will let us have the requisite subtitle: An Archaeology of an Industrial Landscape.

Below is the almost-final draft of the introductory material. There are just a few things left to sort out over the next 24 hours and the completed manuscript should be on its way by Tuesday evening.

Enjoy!

BOO! We had to take down the introduction at the request of our publisher!