Chelsea Schields

Picture of Chelsea Schields
Associate Professor, History
School of Humanities
Ph.D., Graduate Center, City University of New York, 2017, History
Phone: History Department: (949)824-6521
University of California, Irvine
300B Murray Krieger Hall
Mail Code: 3275
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Caribbean; Europe; decolonization; gender and sexuality; race; energy; global history
Research Abstract

On leave for academic year 2023–24

I am a transnational historian of sexuality, energy, and empire in the Caribbean and Europe.

My first book, Offshore Attachments: Oil and Intimacy in the Caribbean (UC Press, 2023), reveals how the contested management of sex and race transformed the Caribbean into a crucial site in the global oil economy. The book argues that it was in the offshoring of intimacy--the differential regulation of sex, reproduction, and the family--that corporate and political leaders sought to commodify oil and accumulate wealth on the Dutch islands of Aruba and Curaçao, once home to the world's largest oil refineries. Joining analysis of the political economy of oil with histories of race and sexuality, Offshore Attachments shows how durable prejudices shaped hydrocarbon industries as the age of oil met the end of empire.

I am now working on two new projects. Charged Currents: Electric Power in the Caribbean tracks the electrification of the region from the 1880s to the climate and debt crises imperiling energy provision in the present. Moynihan in Europe traces the movements of racial knowledge from the United States and the colonial Caribbean to decolonization-era Europe. It asks how social scientific thought centering on race, the family, and sexuality traveled across time and national contexts ultimately to shape the developmental programs and neoliberal projects of the twentieth century.

Offshore Attachments: Oil and Intimacy in the Caribbean (Oakland: University of California Press, 2023)

The Routledge Companion to Sexuality and Colonialism (New York: Routledge, 2021). Co-editor with Dagmar Herzog

The Political Thought of African Independence: An Anthology of Sources (New York: Hackett Publishing Company, 2017). Assistant editor with Gregory Zucker

Articles & Book Chapters

"A Science of Reform and Retrenchment: Black Kinship Studies, Decolonisation and the Dutch Welfare State," Contemporary European History (forthcoming 2023).

"Conjuring Futures: Culture and Decolonization in the Dutch Caribbean, 1948-1975,” Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques 45 (2020): 1-21.

“Insurgent Intimacies: Sex, Socialism, and Black Power in the Dutch Atlantic,” Radical History Review 136 (2020): 98-110.

"Eros Against Empire: Visions of Erotic Freedom in Archives of Decolonisation," Journal of Gender Studies/Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies 22 (2019): 145-161.

"‘Combatting the Sensuality of the Youth’: Youthful Sexuality and the Reformulation of Desire in the 1911 Dutch Vice Laws," Gender & History 31 (2019): 115-131.

“Intimacy and Integration: The Ambivalent Achievement of Marriage Equality in the Dutch Caribbean, 2007-2012,” in eds. Sébastien Chauvin, Peter Clegg, and Bruno Cousin, Euro-Caribbean Societies in the 21st Century: Offshore Europe and its Discontents (London: Routledge, 2018).

“‘This is the Soul of Aruba Speaking’: The 1951 Campo Alegre Protest and Insular Identity on Aruba,” New West Indian Guide 90 (2016): 195-224.

“Imperialism (Dutch) (The Antilles and Surinam),” in eds. Immanuel Ness and Zak Cope, The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015): 616-622.
UCHRI Junior Faculty Manuscript Workshop (2021); Long-term Visiting Fellowship, Max Weber Foundation/German Historical Institute (2019-2020), Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, Council on Library and Information Resources (2015-2016), Dissertation Year Fellowship, CUNY Graduate Center (2014-2016), Junior Research Fellowship, John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin (2014), Research Praxis Award, Advanced Research Collaborative, CUNY (2013), Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies Research Fellowship, CUNY (2013), Student Archival Research Award in Africana Studies, CUNY (2013)
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