University of Calgary

Petra Dolata

  • Associate Professor

Office Hours

in person: Thursday, 12-1pm, SS 634

via Zoom: Mondays, 1-2pm (email me for Zoom meeting details)


MA American Studies (with distinction), Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

PhD International Relations (summa cum laude), Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

About me

I am an energy historian with a background in both International History and International Relations. Before joining the University of Calgary in July 2014 I was a lecturer at King's College London, UK, first in War Studies (2007-2010) and then in International Politics (2010-2014). At King's I was also the Research Director of the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security EUCERS. From 2002 to 2007 I was Assistant Professor of North American History at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

I hold a Master's degree in American Studies from Ruhr-Universität Bochum, where I also received my PhD in International Relations with a study on US-German (energy) relations in the late 1950s and early 1960s, which was published in 2006 with Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften (Die deutsche Kohlenkrise in nationalen und transatlantischen Kontext).

From 2014 until 2019 I was Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in the History of Energy. I am currently the Scholar in Residence at the Calgary Institute for the Humanities (CIH), where I also co-convene the Energy In Society working group. I am a Network Coordinator in the North American and Arctic Defence and Security Network (NAADSN) and a Member of ABBY-Net (The Albertan-Bavarian Research Network for Sustainable Energy Transitions), where I gave a recorded talk on (Hi)Stories of Energy Transitions. In 2021 I was a FRIAS Senior Fellow (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow of the European Union) at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), University of Freiburg, Germany with a project on Women in Energy Transitions: Agency, Resilience and Complicity. In 2022, I was the Rachel Carson Simone Veill Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society and Project House Europe, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany, with a research Project entitled Energy Transitions as Lived Experience: A Transnational Study of Deindustrializing Coal Regions in Europe Since 1945.

My current research interests include European and North American energy history after 1945 as well as the history and politics of the Canadian and circumpolar Arctic. I have published on Canada's foreign and Arctic policies, transatlantic relations, and the concept of energy security. I am the principal investigator of a research project funded by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) entitled “The 1970s Energy Crises and Energy Security: A Cross-national and Transatlantic History” (2017-2022). Focusing on five countries – Canada, the United States, the UK, the Netherlands and West Germany – I am tracing the emergence of energy as an important political issue and energy security as a powerful story that develop in response to the various energy crises of the 1970s. In addition, using oral and everyday historical sources, I am exploring how people have made sense of energy in the 1970s, how it intersected with environmental discussions and how it linked to deindustrialization in some of these countries. As a co-investigator in another SSHRC-funded research project on Brexit led by Achim Hurrelmann, Carleton University (The Reconfiguration of Canada-Europe Relations after Brexit) and which examines how Canada’s transatlantic relationship with various partners in Europe is affected by Brexit, I am focusing on energy and environmental aspects of the Canada-Europe relationship and use an approach informed by historical institutionalism to discuss Canada - Europe relations. I am also one of the lead scholars on a 7-year SSHRC-funded Partnership project on Deindustrialization and the Politics of our Time (2020-2027). Based at the University of Concordia's Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling under the direction of Steven High, the goal of the project is to understand the deep roots, experiences and long-term consequences of deindustrialization across six countries.

As the co-convenor of the Energy In Society working group at the Calgary Institute for the Humanities (CIH) I am interested in examining how societies have made sense of energy in their everyday lives as well as part of a larger polity and in understanding energy transitions and energy systems as inherently social, i.e. tied to and embedded within other social practice. I am particularly interested in individual energy stories and especially those of women.

Further Publications

Book Chapters

“EU-US and EU-Canada Energy Relations.” In: Michèle Knodt and Jörg Kemmerzell (eds.). Handbook of Energy Governance in Europe (Cham: Springer, 2022).

“Complex Agency in the Great Acceleration: Women and Energy Transition in the Ruhr Area after 1945.” In: Abigail Harrison Moore and Ruth Sandwell (eds.). A New Light: Histories of Women and Energy (Montréal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021): 155-173.

“Sustainability in the Anthropocene: From Forests to the Globe.” In: Geoffrey Rockwell, Chelsea Miya and Oliver Rossier (eds.). Right Research: Modelling Sustainable Research Practices in the Anthropocene (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2021): 37-59. 

“Understanding the Recent History of Energy Security in the Arctic.” In: Wilfrid Greaves and P. Whitney Lackenbauer (eds.). Breaking Through: Understanding Sovereignty and Security in the Circumpolar Arctic (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2021): 185-198. 

“Out in the Cold? Canada’s Arctic Foreign Policy in a Changing World.” In: Helga E. Bories-Sawala and Stephan Ditze (eds.). The Arctic Is Dying: The Far North of Canada and Québec: A Fascinating Habitat Facing Extreme Challenges (Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier 2020): 25-37.

“Kanada und die USA: Ein ambivalentes Verhältnis.” In: Ursula Lehmkuhl (ed.). Länderbericht Kanada (Berlin: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 2018).

with Ludger Basten and Peter Dörrenbacher. “Naturräumliche Potenziale und ihre In-Wert-Setzung in Kanada.” In: Ursula Lehmkuhl (ed.). Länderbericht Kanada (Berlin: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 2018).

“Energy and Resource Security.” In: Rob Dover, Huw Dylan, and Michael S. Goodman (eds.). Palgrave Handbook of Intelligence and Security (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan 2017).

"Energy and Food Security." In: Robert Dover, Michael S. Goodman, Claudia Hillebrand (eds.). Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies (London: Routledge, 2013).

with Stormy-Annika Mildner: "Schätze am Meeresboden: Wirtschaftliche Potentiale und politische Risiken der Tiefseeförderung." In: Sebastian Bruns, Kerstin Petretto, David Petrovic (eds.). Maritime Sicherheit (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, 2013).

"Resource Interests and Indigenous Communities in the US and Canadian Arctic Since the 1970s." In: Kerstin Knopf (ed.). North America in the 21st Century: Tribal, Local, and Global (Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2011): 145-60.

"Canada's Arctic Policy: Transcending the Middle Power Model?" In: David Bosold and Nikola Hynek (eds.). Canada's New Foreign and Security Policy: Soft and Hard Strategies of a Middle Power (Don Mills, Ont: Oxford University Press, 2010).

"Nordamerikas neue 'energy frontier': Ressourceninteressen, Integration und indigene Gemeinschaften in der Arktis." In: Günther Maihold and Jörg Husar (eds.). Energie und Integration in Nord-und Südamerika (Opladen & Farmingtin Hills, MI: Verlag Barbara Budrich, 2010): 107-130.

"Kennedy and Central Appalachia: Fighting Unemployment and Poverty." In: Andreas Etges, Manfred Berg (eds.). John F. Kennedy and the 'Thousand Days': New Perspectives on the Foreign and Domestic Policies of the Kennedy Administration (Heidelberg: Winter, 2007).

"Transnationale Akteure in transatlantischen Wirtschaftsbeziehungen: Arnold, Fortas & Porter als 'political broker' im Kohlenstreit 1958-1962." In: Ursula Lehmkuhl, Clemens A. Wurm, Hubert Zimmermann (eds.) with Petra Dolata-Kreutzkamp. Deutschland, Großbritannien, Amerika: Politik, Gesellschaft und Internationale Geschichte im 20. Jahrhundert (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2003).

Policy Papers

"In-depth Analysis: A Balanced Arctic Policy for the EU." European Parliament Policy Department, Directorate-General for External Policies (20 July 2020).

A Global Arctic? Chinese Aspirations in the North.” Policy Perspective (Ottawa: Canadian Global Affairs Institute/Institut canadien des affaires mondiale, October 2018)

"Understanding the Shift in Energy Security." 2017 Energy Series (Ottawa: Canadian Global Affairs Institute/Institut canadien des affaires mondiale, April 2017)

"The Arctic: A Diverse and Evolving Region." International Policy Analysis (Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Sept 2015)

"Die Arktis: Eine facettenreiche und sich wandelnde Region." International Policy Analysis (Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Sept 2015)

"Kanada." In: Hanns Günther Hilpert und Stormy-Annika Mildner (Hrsg.): Nationale Alleingänge oder internationale Kooperation? Analyse und Vergleich der Rohstoffstrategien der G20-Staaten (Berlin: SWP, 2013)

"Canada." In: Hanns Günther Hilpert und Stormy-Annika Mildner (eds.): Fragmentation or Cooperation in Global Resource Governance? A Comparative Analysis of the Raw Materials Strategies of the G20 (Berlin: SWP, 2013)

"'The Arctic is ours': Kanadas Arktispolitik zwischen Souveränität und Klimawandel." Fokus Kanada 2009, 2 (Washington, DC: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2009)
[“’The Arctic is ours’: Canada’s Arctic Policy - between Arctic sovereignty and climate change”]

"Canada and the Northwest Passage." In: Strategic Insights: Global Maritime Security Analysis 16 (February 2009)

Book Reviews

Anand Toprani. Oil and the Great Powers: Britain and Germany, 1914–1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019). Central European History 54, 2 (2021): 397-99.

Meenal Shrivastava and Lorna Stefanick (eds.). Alberta Oil and the Decline of Democracy in Canada (Edmonton: Athabasca University Press, 2015). Canadian Journal of History 53, 3 (2018): 537-539

James Fergusson and Francis Furtado (eds.). Beyond Afghanistan: An International Security Agenda for Canada (Victoria: University of British Columbia Press, 2016). H-Diplo Roundtable Review 19, 37 (2018), 28 May 2018

Ruth Sandwell. Powering Up Canada: A History of Power, Fuel, and Energy from 1600 (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016). Enterprise & Society 18, 3 (2017): 733-736

Adam Lajeunesse. Lock, Stock, and Icebergs: A History of Canada’s Arctic Maritime Sovereignty (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2016). Zeitschrift für Kanada-Studien 66 (2017): 144-5    

Greg Donaghy. Grit: The Life and Politics of Paul Martin Sr. (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2015). H-Diplo Roundtable Review 17, 18 (2016), 4 April 2016

P. Whitney Lackenbauer. The Canadian Rangers: A Living History (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2013). Zeitschrift für Kanada-Studien 35 (2015): 168-70

Jonathan Paquin and Patrick James (eds.). Game Changer: The Impact of 9/11 on North American Security (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2014). H-Diplo Roundtable Review 16, 13 (2014), 22 December 2014

Janice Cavell and Jeff Noakes. Acts of Occupation: Canada and Arctic Sovereignty, 1918–25 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2010). British Journal of Canadian Studies 26, 1 (2013): 129-30

Patrick Lennox. At Home and Abroad: The Canada-US Relationship and Canada’s Place in the World (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2014). H-Diplo Roundtable Review 12, 20 (2011), 16 May 2011


Energy and Scale: Trans-scalar and multi-scalar interactions in energy transitions.” NiCHE: Network in Canadian History & Environment, 17 September 2019

Revisiting the 3R’s: What ever happened to rejecting and avoiding waste?” NiCHE: Network in Canadian History & Environment, 13 August 2019

Summer in the archives: an obsolete obsession?” NiCHE: Network in Canadian History & Environment, 9 July 2019

Community and Media

Speaker, Book Roundtable – Breaking Through: Understanding Sovereignty and Security in the Circumpolar Arctic, NAADSN (presentation starts at 14:13 minutes) 

Interviewee, Gloria Dickie: “China Wants to Invest in the Arctic. Why Doesn’t Canada?” The Walrus, January/February 2021

Interviewee, "How pipelines went from engineering marvel to project non grata," CBC The Cost Of Living, 24 January 2021

Interviewee, “A gold mine in Nunavut is the most recent focal point of a longstanding debate: Is Canada doing enough to protect its interest in the NorthCBC The House, 5 December 2020 (topic starts at 42:21 minutes)

The Global Exchange - A CGAI Podcast: The Shifting Tides within Canada's Energy Industry, 5 May 2017

Guest on The Heat with Anand Naidoo, CGTN, Trump to meet Merkel, 14 March 2017

Interview wit Radio SRF (Swiss Public Radio station), Energiehistorikerin Petra Dolata – Brände in Kanadas Ölprovinz, 11 May 2016

Guest on The Agenda with Steve Paikin, TVO, Canada's Energy Past and Future, 15 September 2015

Panelist on The Agenda with Steve Paikin, TVO, Germany in the World, 6 March 2015

Interviews in 2014 and 2015 on energy questions with Charles Adler (AM680 CJOB)

Interviews with BBC World Service, BBC 5 Live and BBC Scotland on Québec elections (September 2012) and with BBC Five Live Double Take on Nigel Farage and the Canadian Reform Party (May 2013)

Diverging Interests Could Strain German-Canadian Ties. Deutsche Welle 15 August 2012

Kanada, das nördlichste Amerikafundiert: Das Wissenschaftsmagazin der Freien Universität Berlin 2 (2007): 86-91

“Amerikanisches Nord-Südgefälle: In Nordamerika spielt man keinen Fussball.” WIR: Magazin für die Ehemaligen der FU Berlin 1 (2006): 42

“Sportspiegel: Ein Lauf durch die amerikanische Geschichte.” WIR: Magazin für die Ehemaligen der FU Berlin 2 (2003): 51

Powered by UNITIS. More features.