Humanities Center to Host Book Launch for New Edited Volume From English Doctoral Student

The U of A Humanities Center will be hosting a book launch at 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 13.

The forum will celebrate the publication of the new, interdisciplinary, edited volume Boom or Bust: Narrative, Life, and Culture from the West Texas Oil PatchThe volume is the result of a 2016 National Endowment for the Humanities grant and is the work of a team of scholars, including U of A doctoral candidate in English Kristen L. Figgins.  

As the press site details:

  • A vast number of studies have documented the economic and geological effects of oil production, but the impact of boom-and-bust cycles on individuals and communities has received less attention. Boom or Bust remedies this gap by highlighting the personal experiences of those directly affected in an economy dominated by oil and natural gas production.
  • The oil-field industry may seem to be all about numbers, but as Boom or Bust demonstrates, residents of oil-and-gas country, whether they work in the oil field or not, are at the mercy of an ever-shifting economy. When the price of oil rises, companies move in and newcomers flood the area, expanding the employment force. And as the population booms, so does the infrastructure of cities. When prices drop, though, families must make difficult choices: whether to stay put or follow the oil to another location. With the ensuing declines in population, small businesses close their doors and unemployment levels rise. Despite the inevitable declines and despite the increase in alternative energy resources, many West Texans feel a sense of pride that borders on patriotism. Boom or Bust reveals the full complexity of boomtown culture.

The Zoom panel will feature a discussion among the editors and authors from the book — Dominic Boyer, Cymene Howe, Katie Groneman, Rebecca Day Babcock and Sheena Stief — with time for questions at the end of the presentation.

Registration for the event is required. Please email for more information.

About the University of Arkansas Humanities Center: The University of Arkansas Humanities Center, in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, promotes cross-disciplinary research and inquiry in the humanities, sponsors programs that engage humanities scholars and the wider public in conversations about critical topics, and fosters a strong role for the humanities in an increasingly global society. 



Tricia Starks, director
University of Arkansas Humanities Center


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