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Crude Matters: El campo Furbero and the Expansion the Southern Oil Frontier in Papantla, Veracruz, Mexico

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Abstract:

This paper examines the role that the production of scientific knowledge played in expanding the southern frontier of the oil-producing districts of northern Veracruz. In particular it looks at Edwin Hopkins’ 1917 geology report on the district of Papantla—an area, he concluded, appeared to hold poor prospects for oil investment. Despite its meticulous and thorough character, Hopkins’s evaluation proved to be mistaken. By 1930, one of the most important oil fields in twentieth century Mexico, el campo “Poza Rica”, would be developed in this “unfavorable area.”

Instead of illustrating the ways in which official scientific knowledge arises from the imposition of nature’s legibility, this paper suggests that Hopkins’s failure to identify oil deposits demonstrates how knowledge-making is often a fragile endeavor. Matter, after all, is not reducible to what humans make or do not make of it and we must account for collectives produced not only through human intervention. Rocks, lava flows, and sediments, were capable of playing—as the development of the oil field in Poza Rica in the 1930s demonstrates—a role in the history of this region.
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Association:
Name: ASEH Annual Conference
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http://aseh.net


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1171243_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Salas Landa, Monica. "Crude Matters: El campo Furbero and the Expansion the Southern Oil Frontier in Papantla, Veracruz, Mexico" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL, <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1171243_index.html>

APA Citation:

Salas Landa, M. "Crude Matters: El campo Furbero and the Expansion the Southern Oil Frontier in Papantla, Veracruz, Mexico" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1171243_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: This paper examines the role that the production of scientific knowledge played in expanding the southern frontier of the oil-producing districts of northern Veracruz. In particular it looks at Edwin Hopkins’ 1917 geology report on the district of Papantla—an area, he concluded, appeared to hold poor prospects for oil investment. Despite its meticulous and thorough character, Hopkins’s evaluation proved to be mistaken. By 1930, one of the most important oil fields in twentieth century Mexico, el campo “Poza Rica”, would be developed in this “unfavorable area.”

Instead of illustrating the ways in which official scientific knowledge arises from the imposition of nature’s legibility, this paper suggests that Hopkins’s failure to identify oil deposits demonstrates how knowledge-making is often a fragile endeavor. Matter, after all, is not reducible to what humans make or do not make of it and we must account for collectives produced not only through human intervention. Rocks, lava flows, and sediments, were capable of playing—as the development of the oil field in Poza Rica in the 1930s demonstrates—a role in the history of this region.


 
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