HIST 258
The Petroleum Age: A Global History Spring 2022
Division II

Class Details

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. Throughout the semester, we will also foreground some of the foundational skills needed to create an historical account, which will culminate in students’ completing a 5-minute video or podcast on a relevant topic of their choice.
The Class: Format: lecture; While this class will include brief lectures, it will largely revolve around discussion. Students do not need any experience in making videos or podcasts to enroll in the class.
Limit: 30
Expected: 20
Class#: 3649
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: participation; two short graded essays (3-5 pages); two short ungraded essays (2-3 pages); short research assignments (1 page each, ungraded); final video or podcast project (graded); 24-hour take-home exam.
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: sophomores and first-years
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: HIST Group G Electives - Global History

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