David W. Bond F'12

David W. Bond
Associate Director
Center for the Advancement of Public Action
Bennington College

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2012
Doctoral Candidate
The New School
Hydrocarbon Frontiers: Science and Politics in the BP Oil Spill

The BP Oil Spill defined a vital frontier of knowledge. Unfolding a mile underwater, this shockingly large oil spill overwhelmed the official understanding of both oil spills and the ocean. This ethnography centers on the new scientific knowledge and political responsibility emerging in the wake of the BP Oil Spill. Specifically, it documents the novel scientific and regulatory labor that went into mastering this deepwater blowout. Based on three months of fieldwork in laboratories and eight months in hearings and meetings, this research describes the epistemic politics of an environmental disaster. This process is significant not only for how official knowledge of the BP Oil spill was produced and validated but also for what was left out. The limits of this disaster have come to rest not on the edges of observable impacts but on the legibility of such claims within the now singular science of the BP Oil Spill.