Blood and Oil
The Great Works Symposium presents the fourth in its 2009-2010 series on "ENERGY"
UNIV 241, 3 credits
SUMMER TERM, 2010
We all use energy in our jobs, in our homes, and in our transportation choices. Few of us know where or how it gets to us when we flip the switch, and even fewer understand the conflicts surrounding energy.
What are the conflicts—in business, in governance, in culture—that energy acquisition and use expose? Is conflict inherent within the cradle to grave supply chain of energy? What is sustainable energy and does it exist today? Can it be sustainable if we have conflicts surrounding the control of resources and labor disputes? Finally, where is the balance between our need for economic development and national security and our goals to protect the environment? These questions will form the structure of the course and its discussions.
This course, co-taught by Amy Slaton, Scott Gabriel Knowles, and Dan Moscovici, will take up these questions--guest speakers will be featured, and small group meetings will facilitate critical thinking and research on the topic.
The Great Works Symposium is an interdisciplinary course—focused on exploring subjects of the broadest possible interest and greatest societal impact—designed to bring Drexel University students, teachers, and visiting expert lecturers into collaboration. The Great Works Symposium strives to avoid the “textbook approach,” with an emphasis on developing in students the active skills of interdisciplinary inquiry: reading, writing, critical thinking, methodological creativity, and argument. Through an intense examination of one topic, students are encouraged to see the University as an interconnected enterprise, and to imagine the University as one part of a larger spectrum of scholars in the communities of the city, the nation, and the world.
Class Meeting Days and Times
Lectures: Wednesday, 6:00-7:20 p.m. Hill Conference Room (Lebow 240)
Sections: Wednesday, 7:30-8:50 p.m.
Instructors, Contacts, Office Hours
Amy Slaton, PhD
Scott Gabriel Knowles, PhD
Assistant Professor and Director of the Great Works Symposium
Dan Moscovici, PhD
Great Works Symposium Visiting Fellow
Hagerty Rm. 203
This course has no assigned textbooks; students will read articles and other selected sources related to course topics. Assigned readings will be made available via e-mail or blackboard, or will be available directly on the web. A reading schedule will be assigned and students must keep up with all assignments. The instructors may add supplemental readings as the course progresses. Please keep up with the weekly reading assignment schedule, and make sure you are aware of any reading updates given throughout the term.
Assignments and Grades
Class Participation (including weekly reaction/discussion papers): 25%
Mid-Term Exam: 35%
Term Project: 40%
This will be a very ACTIVE class! Participation comprises a large proportion of your grade. Please attend every lecture and every section/workshop meeting. Come to class having completed the reading assignments, prepared to meet research goals, and ready to take part. This will result in your getting the most possible from the course, and it will create a dynamic classroom environment. You will be evaluated with these expectations in mind.
Your class participation grade will be determined in part by your attendance and your role in section/workshop discussion. Additionally, for the eight weekly guest lectures, weeks 2 through 9, you will be required to submit a brief (a paragraph or two in length) “reaction” paper consisting of questions and/or specific talking points related to the week’s topic and readings. These questions/talking points should be type-written and double spaced, and they should reflect your preparation for the week’s discussion. Please submit your questions to your instructor by e-mail no later than 6:00pm. on Tuesdays. You are to use these as the basis for the Q&A and discussion section during these weeks.
At mid-term you will complete an exam that will evaluate your completion and comprehension of assigned readings, and your understanding of material presented in lectures, panel discussions, and section meetings. The format will be written (essay/ID), and topics will be distributed during week 4. The exam will be due in class during week 5. The last date on which a student may withdraw from the course is July 30th. Therefore, students who score below a grade of 65 on this exam, or miss it for any unexcused reason will be expected to drop the course.
For a good portion of the second half of the course students will work together as a class towards completion of a major term project. Students will choose an area of interest among the major themes under examination in the course; they will then choose a proper format for the project. In collaboration with the group, students will research, write, and submit their work for “publication” by the close of the term. The class will need to start thinking about the scope and direction of this project early on; individual groups will meet in weeks 8 and 9 with course instructors and with expert workshop facilitators to develop their ideas and craft their contributions to the final project. You will present your project in Week Ten of the course. Though a significant portion of your grade on this project will be earned individually, the group dynamic is expected to push you to produce the most interesting and rigorous possible research effort.
Course Policies and Grades
Policies and Conduct
Consult the syllabus frequently in order to keep up with scheduled speakers, section meetings, readings, and assignment deadlines. Keeping up with the assignment schedule is your responsibility. We will make all take-home exam assignments available to you in plenty of time for successful completion.
As a rule we do not accept late exams or other assignments for any reason other than excused, documented absences. It will be your responsibility to make certain that the instructor receives a hard copy of any excused absence documentation. Leaving town for work and having a busy week are both understandable facts of life, but they do not comprise excused absences from class.
Please arrive to guest lectures and discussion sections on time, stay for the entire period, and display professional conduct at all times. Cell phones/digital devices must be turned off, laptops must be used only for taking notes during class time—these rules will be strictly enforced.
All excused schedule conflicts must be submitted to your section instructor, in writing, by the end of the first week of the term. Make-up assignments are only offered in the case of documented, excused absences. Excused absences include illness, religious observances, and documented university extra-curricular events.
No extensions or incompletes will be offered in this course. If a student has unfinished coursework at the end of the term due to a documented, excused absence, the instructor will assign the grade earned to that point—the student will then have two weeks from the last day of the term to complete any missing work, and the instructor may at that time submit a change of grade form.
It is the responsibility of the student to be on the class e-mail list, and to be aware of e-mail updates from the instructors. It is the responsibility of the student to make sure that she/he is marked present on roll sheets. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain all reading updates, sample exam questions, take-home exams, and any other materials handed out in class.
The instructors reserve the right to amend this syllabus in any way necessary for the benefit of the class.
The following policies are drawn from the Official Student Handbook: Drexel University is committed to a learning environment that embraces academic honesty. In order to protect members of our community from the results of dishonest conduct, the University has adopted policies to deal with cases of academic dishonesty. We comply fully with the Drexel University “Academic Honesty Policy,” as explained in the Official Student Handbook. It is the student’s responsibility to know and follow the policies set forth in the Official Student Handbook.
Academic dishonesty and/or plagiarism will result in an immediate F for the course with no exceptions. Academic dishonesty may result in suspension or expulsion from Drexel University.
Americans With Disabilities Act
In compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Drexel University’s policies and procedures, the University is committed to the non-discrimination of students with disabilities. Student with disabilities requesting accommodations and services at Drexel University need to present a current accommodation verification letter (“AVL”) to faculty before accommodations can be made. AVL’s are issued by the Office of Disability Services (“ODS”). For additional information, contact the ODS at www.drexel.edu/edt/disability, 3201 Arch St., Ste. 210, Philadelphia, PA 19104, V 215.895.1401, or TTY 215.895.2299.
Week 1: June 23: Course Introduction
Resources/Opening Night Clips (Optional Readings):
Week 2: June 30: Blood and Oil in the Risk Society
FINAL PROJECT ASSIGNED
Scott Knowles, PhD – Director of Great Works Symposium & Assistant Professor of History – Drexel University
Presentation: Blood and Oil in the Risk Society
Week 3: July 7: "Gasland” Screening
TOPIC, GROUP & SHORT DESCRIPTION DUE (FINAL PROJECT)
MID-TERM EXAM ASSIGNED
*** Download the Midterm Exam***
Josh Fox – Director – Gasland the Movie
Week 4: July 14: Earth Democracy
*class meets at the Academy of Natural Sciences for this lecture
MID-TERM EXAM DUE
Dr. Vandana Shiva – environmental leader, author & activist
Shiva, Vandana. (2008). Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis. South End Press.
Week 5: July 21: Hydropower and Conflict in Costa Rica
Dan Moscovici, PhD – Great Works Symposium Visiting Fellow – Drexel University
Week 6: July 28: Coal – the History – Hands on!
* Field trip: Number 9 Coal Mine & Museum – Lansford, PA
Cook, Samuel R. (2008). “You Can’t Put a Price on It: Activist Anthropology in the Mountaintop Removal Debate” Collaborative Anthropologies. Vol. 1. pp. 138-162.
Assignment for Missing Field Trip
**Download the assignment file here**
Week 7: Aug 4: Foreign Oil: Invasions, Interventions & Regime Changes in America's Expanding Middle East
Michael Sullivan, PhD – Professor of History – Drexel University
American adventurism abroad: invasions, interventions, and regime changes since World War II (cases 4, 25, and 27)
Week 8: Aug 11: Green Energy vs. Fossil Fuels – a Better Comparison
Bradley Layton, PhD – Associate professor of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics – Drexel University
Layton, Bradley. 2008. “A Comparison of Energy Densities of Prevalent Energy Sources in Units of Joules per cubic meter” International Journal of Green Energy. Vol. 5, pp. 438-455.
Week 9: August 18: Can Nature Survive the Energy Revolution
William Kunze – Pennsylvania State Director – The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
Week 10: August 25: Research Presentations
About the Instructors
Scott Gabriel Knowles has served as the director of the Great Works Symposium since 2007. As an instructor in the Great Works Symposium he has taught: The Atomic Bomb, The Automobile, Media Interactivity, Physical Philadelphia, and The Next Philadelphia. He is also an assistant professor of history in the Department of History and Politics and serves as co-director of the Drexel Engineering Cities Initiative.
Knowles completed his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology in 2003, after completing an M.A. in history and B.A. in history and philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin.
Knowles’s research interests are centered on cities, technology, and historical change. He takes an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing and writing about cities, including historical, urban planning, sociological, and psychogeographical methods.
He is the author/editor of Imagining Philadelphia: Edmund Bacon and the Future of the City (UPenn Press, 2009), and Experts in Disaster: Risk and Authority in the American Metropolis (UPenn Press, forthcoming). He has also published articles and book reviews in The Next American City, Isis, History and Technology, the New York Times, Public Works Management and Policy, Technology and Culture, Business History Review, Enterprise and Society, and Annals of Science.
Amy E. Slaton is an associate professor of history at Drexel University. She is a visiting associate professor at Haverford College, and has taught courses in the history of American science, technology, and architecture, as well as in labor history and race relations. Prof. Slaton holds a PhD in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania and was the director of Drexel's Master's Program in Science, Technology and Society from 2001 to 2009.
With a focus on the history of American science and engineering, Prof. Slaton has long been interested in the nature of technical expertise and work. She has written on the history of building technologies and materials testing, with a focus on who gets the credit when things go well, and who gets blamed when structures and materials fail. Her book, Reinforced Concrete and the Modernization of American Building, 1900-1930 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), integrated the histories of materials testing, construction labor, building codes and standards, and aesthetic change surrounding the introduction of commercial reinforced concrete in the United States. Prof. Slaton is also interested in understandings of technical aptitude in American manufacturing and engineering more generally, particularly in the role of race in these fields. Her most recent book is Race, Rigor and Selectivity in U.S. Engineering: The History of an Occupational Color Line (forthcoming 2010, Harvard University Press).
Prof. Slaton produces the blog, STEMequity.com, centered on equity in technical education and workforce issues. She is currently working on a study, with Sociology professor Mary Ebeling, of American optimism about high-tech (especially nano-technologies) as a source of new jobs and economic growth. The study asks if this optimism is justified, or if "nano-labor" is another in a long line of historical cases--along with computing, biotech, and green technologies--that has failed to fulfill boosters' excited promises of widespread economic opportunities.
Prof. Dan Moscovici is the Drexel University Great Works Symposium Visiting Fellow in Energy for 2009-2010. His focus is both domestic and international. His professional experiences inform his academic training. He completed his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in Environmental Planning (2009). Prior to this, for five years, he worked for CITGO Petroleum (a wholly owned subsidiary of Petrol de Venezuela S.A.), as a Marketing Pricing Analyst. During his employment, he received an MBA from Villanova University in International/Environmental Management (2003) and an MS from the University of Pennsylvania in Environmental Studies (2005). His Bachelor’s degree was from Lehigh University in Natural Resource Economics (2000).
Dan’s research is focused on land synergies surrounding energy projects and natural resource management. He has active projects in the Northern Forest of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the Adirondacks regarding impacts of land preservation. Other research interests include research with students in Costa Rica to study effects of hydrological projects on the environment and society and also the impact from eco-tourism on sustainability on the island of Dominica.