ENVIRON 462 - Topics in Environmental Social Science
Section: 003 Fossil Fuel: Culture, Power, Phase-out
Term: FA 2017
Subject: Program in the Environment (ENVIRON)
Department: SNE Program in the Environment
Advisory Prerequisites:
At least one environmentally related course prior to this class.
May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Rackham Information:
Rackham credit requires additional work.
Primary Instructor:

This reading-and-writing seminar asks two questions:

  1. What effect—social, psychological, political, environmental—have fossil fuels had on modern life?
  2. What strategies exist and can be devised to accelerate the end of the fossil fuel era?

A wide variety of readings, from activist to industry to academic will be used. Among them are:

  1. Freese, Coal: A Human History
  2. Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power
  3. Coll, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power
  4. Princen, Manno, Martin: Ending the Fossil Fuel Era

Course Requirements:

Students and instructor write propositions regarding 1) the role of fossil fuels in modern society; and 2) a strategy for leaving fossil fuels in the ground. These provide the basis of discussion. Students then draw on daily writings to craft an 8-10 page paper under the guidance of the instructor.

Intended Audience:

Note: This is not an energy course per se. It is not about alternative energy sources or climate change or even reducing consumption and being sustainable. It’s about a pervasive, powerful yet largely invisible set of substances that drive economies and polities and threaten life-support systems. It assumes fossil fuels are too easily taken for granted, both regarding their use and their replacement.

ENVIRON 462 - Topics in Environmental Social Science
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
002 (LEC)
W 5:30PM - 8:00PM
003 (LEC)
Th 10:00AM - 12:00PM
004 (SEM)
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 0738204005
Coal : a human history, Author: Barbara Freese., Publisher: Perseus Hardback. 2003
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0262327074
Ending the fossil fuel era
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 1594203350
Private empire : ExxonMobil and American power, Author: Coll, Steve., Publisher: Penguin Press 2012
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9780671502485
The prize : the epic quest for oil, money, and power, Author: Yergin, Daniel., Publisher: Simon & Schuster 1991
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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