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Dr. Paul Anthony Chastko

Pronouns: He/Him


Associate Professor

Faculty of Arts , Department of History

Graduate Program Director


Contact information

Phone number

Office: +1 (403) 220-6416

For media enquiries, contact


Educational Background

B.A. History, University of Calgary, 1995

M.A. History, University of Calgary, 1997

Doctor of Philosophy History, Ohio University, 2002


The Boom: Oil, Politics, and Culture in Alberta, 1913-1924

Based on extensive archival research at the Glenbow Western Research Centre, the Provincial Archives of Alberta, and the Library and Archives of Canada, The Boom illustrates the various ways in which ideology, history, and experiences shaped Albertans’ approach to politics and business.

Celebrating unvarnished individualism, free-market capitalism and largely free from regulatory oversight by the province and federal governments, Calgarians, in the words of one reporter, took to oil “like a wino to the bottle.” In a matter of weeks, over 500 oil companies were created; fewer than 50 drilled for oil and, by 1919, less than 5 produced wet gas laced with petroleum condensates. Unemployed real estate salesmen became stock brokers as Calgarians emptied their savings to invest in a largely unproven oil field. A group of local businessmen and civic leaders joined together to create the Calgary Stock Exchange to try and tame rampant speculation and preserve investment capital for companies.

The creation of Alberta’s oil culture is explored by analyzing public discussions, advertisements, sermons, speeches, court cases, trade and popular press articles regarding the development of Alberta’s oil and gas from the first petroleum seeps along the Turner Valley anticline through the first oil boom in 1914.





  • Article of the Year, Petroleum History Society. 2012
  • Faculty of Arts Leader in Internationalization, 2014
  • Faculty of Arts Teaching Award (Established Teacher), 2021


  • “Optimism, Fear, and Free Trade: Canada’s Winding Path to a Globalized Petroleum Industry: 1930-2005”. Paul Anthony Chastko. University of Calgary Press. 33 pages. (2021)
  • "Anonymity and Ambivalence: The Canadian and American Oil Industries and the Emergence of Continental Oil". Paul Anthony Chastko. Journal of Ameircan History. 11 pages. (2012)
  • Developing Alberta's Oil Sands: From Karl Clark to Kyoto. Paul Anthony Chastko. University of Calgary Press. 338 pages. (2004)