Chelsea Schields, "Offshore Attachments: Oil and Intimacy in the Caribbean" (U California Press, 2023)


Chelsea Schields's book Offshore Attachments: Oil and Intimacy in the Caribbean (U California Press, 2023) reveals how the contested management of sex and race transformed the Caribbean into a crucial site in the global oil economy. By the mid-twentieth century, the Dutch islands of Curaçao and Aruba housed the world's largest oil refineries. To bolster this massive industrial experiment, oil corporations and political authorities offshored intimacy, circumventing laws regulating sex, reproduction, and the family in a bid to maximize profits and turn Caribbean subjects into citizens. 

Historian Chelsea Schields demonstrates how Caribbean people both embraced and challenged efforts to alter intimate behavior in service to the energy economy. Moving from Caribbean oil towns to European metropolises and examining such issues as sex work, contraception, kinship, and the constitution of desire, Schields narrates a surprising story of how racialized concern with sex shaped hydrocarbon industries as the age of oil met the end of empire.

Chelsea Schields is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine.

Katie Coldiron is the Outreach Program Manager for the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) and PhD student in History at Florida International University.

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Katie Coldiron

Katie Coldiron is based at Florida International University. She is Outreach Program Manager for the Digital Library of the Caribbean ( at FIU Libraries and doctoral student in the FIU Department of History.

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