The Bakken is the first volume in North Dakota State University Press’s new Heritage Guide Series. It is authored by Bill Caraher and Bret Weber and explores the early 21st century Bakken Oil Boom using the genre of the tourist guide.
The argument builds on the idea that tourism is a profoundly modern phenomenon that contributed to the making of the middle class. Tourism emerged with the availability of fossil fuels (first coal and then oil) to move people easily from one place to the next. The Bakken is not only among the most oil rich area’s of the world, but also requires fossil fuels for it exploitation. The influx of largely temporary workers to the Bakken during its various oil booms, then, both contributes to the availability of fossil fuels to make the global middle class, but also relies on the mobility of the modern middle class in the same way as tourism. Touring the Bakken either through this book or with this book in hand provides a recursive view and experience of the landscapes that produce our modern world.
William Caraher is an associate professor in history at the University of North Dakota. His took his Ph.D. at Ohio State University in ancient history. He has directed archaeological project in Cyprus and worked extensively in Greece. He is the co-director of the North Dakota Man Camp Project with Bret Weber and the co-author of Pyla-Koutsopetria I: Archaeological Survey of An Ancient Coastal Town with R. Scott Moore and David K. Pettegrew.
Bret A. Weber is an associate professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of North Dakota. His terminal degree is in U.S. History with emphases on twentieth century social policy and environmental history. As a member of the Grand Forks City Council, and as codirector of the North Dakota Man Camp Project (including service on the boards of the local Housing Authority and Community Land Trust), he focuses on social justice issues related to housing, and the social, physical, and economic environment.