Skip to main content
Salim Yaqub, 'Oil-Gotten Gains: Petrodollars, Abscam and Arab American Activism, 1973-1981' -

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Salim Yaqub, ‘Oil-Gotten Gains: Petrodollars, Abscam and Arab American Activism, 1973-1981’

September 15, 2016 @ 3:30 am - 5:00 pm

In the 1970s, soaring oil prices provided huge revenues to oil producing Arab countries, which, together with private Arab companies and individuals, invested billions of dollars in the U.S. economy. The influx of Arab petrodollars drew mixed reactions from Americans. Some feared that wealthy Arabs were “buying up America” and gaining control over the nation’s political, economic, educational and cultural institutions. Others welcomed Arab investment as a boon to the U.S. economy and to global stability. Petrodollars also played a key role in Arab American history. Demeaning portrayals of oil-rich Arabs in media and government discourse—reaching a crescendo in the FBI’s “Abscam” sting operations of 1978-1980—goaded Arab Americans to adopt more organized methods of combating anti-Arab stereotypes. Salim Yaqub draws on his new book, Imperfect Strangers: Americans, Arabs and U.S.-Middle East Relations in the 1970s, to explore the complex legacy of Arab petrodollars in American life.

Yaqub is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and the director of UCSB’s Center for Cold War Studies and International History. He is the author of Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Middle East and of several articles and book chapters on the history of U.S. foreign relations, the international politics of the Middle East and Arab American political activism.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Asian Studies, Department of History, the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations and the Duke-UNC Middle East Center. It is free and open to the public.


September 15, 2016
3:30 am - 5:00 pm