HIST 258
The World Oil Made: A Modern History Spring 2020
Division II

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We live in a world transformed by petroleum. All around us today–in global carbon emissions, transportation, the clothes we wear, everyday objects we touch, microplastics in our water–oil is there, even if we can’t always see it. At the same time, the industry fuels massive flows of global capital, and provokes critical political shifts, conflicts, and resistance movements around the world. How did oil’s ubiquity happen in just over 150 years? This course will chart a global modern history by keeping this energy source always in our sight, paying particular attention to its role in the political economy, its ecological impacts, the cultural changes it has set in motion, and its place in people’s material lives. In addition to having regular short assignments, students will work in groups through the semester, researching and learning how to make a 5-minute video documentary.
The Class: Type: lecture/discussion
Limit: 30
Expected: 25
Class#: 3251
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: two short graded essays (3-5 pages); two short ungraded essays (2-3 pages); 2-3 short research assignments (1 page each); one storyboard (graded); one group video project (graded)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: sophomores and first-years
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: HIST Group G Electives - Global History

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