NDSU speaker series to discuss ‘man camps’

Conditions in the “man camps” of the western North Dakota oil fields will be the topic of the next installment of the Curtis Amlund Speaker Series at NDSU. The presentation, “The North Dakota Man Camp Project: Social Conditions in the Oil Patch,” is scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, at 2 p.m. in the Memorial Union Rose room.

Scheduled presenters are regional experts William Caraher, University of North Dakota Department of History, and Bret Weber, UND Department of Social Work.

Caraher and Weber conducted the first systematic archeological and historical study of the “man camps.” They sought to uncover the complex environment of the people and settlements that have accompanied the oil boom.

“These camps, in many ways, resemble the endearing character of many of North Dakota’s small towns—with their talks of triumph, individualism, community and tragedy—which became the home for the first settlers drawn to the region for the railroad and land booms of the early 20th century,” Caraher said.

Tom Ambrosio, NDSU associate professor of criminal justice and political science, is the organizer of the event. “The social conditions associated with the oil boom are fascinating because they include the perspective of people in western North Dakota who live the boom on a day-to-day basis. This topic shows how economics, sociology, anthropology, architecture and history intersect in complex and surprising ways,” Ambrosio said.

The Curtis Amlund Speaker Series is sponsored by the NDSU political science faculty and the Pi Sigma Alpha political science honor society.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation’s top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

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