How does energy shape society? How did the rise of petroleum change international relations, global political economy, and Great Power politics? My life as a scholar has been defined by these questions. As a graduate student, I was drawn to the study of Iran. Learning the language, the history, and the culture of the world's oldest civilization and the Middle East's first "petro-state" launched my first project: an exploration of U.S.-Iranian relations from the dual perspectives of global oil and local development. My research took me to fourteen archives across two continents, including the diplomatic records of the United States and Great Britain, the official archives of British Petroleum and the World Bank, the personal papers of American "developmentalists," and more than three-dozen Persian-language interviews and oral histories.
Since receiving my doctorate from Georgetown University in June 2018, I have brought my expertise to Southern Methodist University in Dallas TX, as a post-doctoral fellow with the Center for Presidential History. I have taught a course on Modern Iran and delivered lectures on subjects as wide-ranging as contemporary energy security, the history of U.S. policy in the Middle East, the Iranian oil crisis of 1951-1954, and the Islamic Revolution. The freedom afforded to me by this opportunity has allowed me to complete my book manuscript, Petroleum & Progress: Global Oil, Local Development, and the American Encounter with Iran, 1941-1965, now under consideration with Cornell University Press.
My work, though it focuses on the Cold War era, has particular relevance in today's world, as the United States continues to grapple with an unstable Middle East, a belligerent Iran, and an ever-changing international oil market. I regularly contribute commentary and analysis to a number of outlets, including Washington Post, LobeLog, The Conversation, and The FUSE.
You can find me on Twitter @gbrew24