Warren Dennis

PhD candidate in History, Boston University

2023 to 2024
Research Fellow

"Politically Inspired Scarcity": Energy and Masculinity in the Post-OAPEC Era

I argue that the 1970s energy crises were entangled with the contemporary crises in American masculinity. During a time when American power seemed in decline and, at times, impotent, the apparent reliance on foreign sources of energy further compounded a sense that the United States was no longer the global power it had claimed to be. Women and people of color began entering jobs and spaces that had previously been bastions of white masculinity. The threat of energy scarcity furthered the fears of many men that their positions were temporary and emboldened a push to defend carbon-based fuels and the society they structured against the alternatives offered. This project argues that a willingness to consider non-carbon energy options in the wake of the OAPEC embargo shifted to an antagonistic response to policies that didn’t encourage fossil fuel exploration and use toward the decade’s end.