AMST-353 Energy in America: From Black Gold to Green Power
Spring for 2017-2018
Matthew Ross
This course will examine the role energy plays in American society from
the early days of wood burning stoves and whale oil lanterns through the
discovery of crude oil and electricity more than 100 years ago up to the
present focus on climate change, renewable energy and homeland security.
Not since the oil crises in the 1970s has energy been at the forefront
of every major policy discussion. And this time, alternative energy and
climate change have demonstrated much more traction than 30 years ago.
Both Obama and McCain included energy as a major policy platform,
reaching parity with the Iraq war in terms of importance. It was only
the collapse of the capital markets in October 2008 that allowed the
economy to overshadow energy in terms of importance to voters.

Although energy has been essential to modernization in every developed
and developing country, no other country has utilized energy to such
advantage as America has. From the steam engine to the internal
combustion engine to the nuclear power plant, America has used energy to
fuel its growth and rise to power.

We will examine the public policy implications of reliance on fossil
fuel from national security to the theory of “peak oil” to
macroeconomics to pressure on the environment. This course will also
review the growing renewable energy industry, the “green movement,”
climate change and carbon trading and the stated policy directions of
the incoming administration and place all of this in the context of
American Studies.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
More information
Look for this course in the schedule of classes.

The academic department web site for this program may provide other details about this course.