Readings in the Energy Crisis of the 1970’s
651 Arnold Agnes Hall
Prof. Robert Lifset
Department of History
664 Agnes Arnold Hall
“Our decision about energy will test the character of the American people and the ability of the President and the Congress to govern this nation. This difficult effort will be the ‘moral equivalent of war,’ except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not to destroy.” President Jimmy Carter, April 18, 1977
“Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.” Vice-President Richard Cheney, April 30, 2001
“The past is intelligible to us only in the light of the present; and we can fully understand the present only in the light of the past. To enable man to understand the society of the past and to increase his mastery over the society of the present is the dual function of history.” Edward Hallett Carr, What is History? (New York: Vintage Books, 1961), p. 69.
This class will examine the energy crisis in the 1970s and how the decisions of that era have served to shape the present. As such, it will seek to understand a pivotal period of recent American history while also investigating the role that energy has played in post-war America.
Drawing from a diverse range of historical subfields (political, business, diplomatic and social history), this course will investigate four central themes: demand, supply, environment, and foreign policy.
This course will introduce students to the scholarship of post-war American energy history. It will prepare students to make original and substantive contributions to the field.
Students are required to write one historiography paper of approximately twenty pages (roughly 5000 words) due Monday, April 2. One rewrite will be permitted; rewrites are due April 25 by 8pm. These due dates are absolute. There will be no extensions.
In addition, students are required to write five book reviews and assemble one bibliography. Three of the book reviews and the bibliography must be completed by March 7. The first book review is due January 17.
Book reviews must be submitted electronically on Wednesday’s no later than 8pm. The following day students will be expected to provide a short, un-graded, informal presentation of the book’s argument, evidence and persuasiveness. Students will choose what books to review (in consultation with the professor), but it is expected that reviews will be submitted in advance of the class that discusses the book’s subject. Students may not write more than two book reviews on a single subject. A list of potential books to review can be found on the course website.
The bibliography must be at least four pages in length on an energy history topic of the student’s choice.
Students are expected to arrive in class prepared to discuss the assigned reading.
The historiography paper constitutes 50% of the final grade. Participation is worth 20% and the book reviews and bibliography are each worth 5%.
Absences and Late Work
Since this course meets for only twelve sessions, more than two absences will result in being dropped from the class. Late work will be penalized one full grade per day late.
Week 1- January 18: An Introduction to the 1970’s & Electric Power
Bruce Schulman The Seventies, introduction, chapters 3-5 and 7, p. 1-23, 78-144, 159-193
Beth Bailey and David Farber eds. America in the 70’s, chapters 1 and 7, p. 9-28, 157-180
Martin Melosi, Coping With Abundance Introduction p. 3-15, chapters 11-12, p. 199-240
David Nye, Consuming Power A Social History of American Energies, Introduction p. 1-12
Richard Rhodes, “Energy Transitions: A History Lesson”
Week 2 January 25: Nuclear Power and Disaster Averted
J. Samuel Walker, Three Mile Island
Special guest: J. Samuel Walker
Week 3 February 1: Rising Demand
Owen D. Guttfreund, 20th Century Sprawl
David Nye, Consuming Power, chapter 6-7, p. 157-216
February 8: No Class
Week 4 February 15: Environmental Consequences
Devra Davis When Smoke Ran Like Water
Samuel Hays, Explorations in Environmental History, p. 315-378
Amory Lovins, “Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken?”
Carroll Pursell, “The Rise and Fall of the Appropriate Technology Movement in the United States, 1965-1985.” p. 629-637
Week 5 February 22: The Problem of Supply
Daniel Yergin, The Prize, prologue andchapters 20-26, p. 391-540
March 1: No Class- ASEH Meeting in Baton Rouge
Week 6 March 8: The Crisis
Daniel Yergin, The Prize, chapters 27-34, p. 540-714
Anthony Sampson, The Seven Sisters, chapters 13-15 p. 260-318
David Nye, Consuming Power, chapter 8, p. 217-246
March 15: No Class- Spring Break
Week 7 March 22: The Response
Richard H.K. Vietor, Energy Policy in America Since 1945, chapters 9-10, p. 193-272
Fiona Venn, The Oil Crisis, chapter 4, p. 113-143
Week 8 March 29: The Politics of Energy
Yanek Mieczkowski, Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s, chapters 12-15, p. 197-270
Papers Due: Monday April 2
Week 9 April 5: The Crisis in Utilities
Joseph Pratt, A Managerial History of Con Ed, chapter 7, p. 255-306
Richard Hirsch, Power Loss, Introduction and chapters 1-4, p. 1-89
Week 10 April 12: Reagan and the Conservative Response
Bruce Schulman, The 1970s, chapters 8-9, p. 193-259
Daniel Yergin, The Prize, chapter 35, p. 715-788
Week 11 April 19: Energy & Foreign Policy
Steve Yetiv, Crude Awakenings, Global Oil Security and American Foreign Policy
Michael T. Klare Blood And Oil, chapters 1 and 4. p. 1-25, 74-112
Week 12 April 26: Impact & the Discussion of Papers
Martin Melosi, Coping With Abundance, Epilogue, p320-332
David Nye, Consuming Power, chapter 9,p. 249-264
Richard Hirsch, Power Loss, chapter 15, p. 261-272
The asterisk (*) indicates books available at the campus bookstore. All other readings can be found on the course website.
Bailey, Beth and David Farber eds. America in the 70’s. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004.
*Davis, Devra. When Smoke Ran Like Water, Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle against Pollution. New York: Basic Books, 2003.’
*Guttfreund, Owen D. 20th Century Sprawl, Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Hays, Samuel P. Explorations in Environmental History. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998.
Hirsh, Richard F. Power Loss, The Origins of Deregulation and Restructuring in the American Electric Utility System. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999.
Klare, Michael T. Blood And Oil, The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2004.
Lovins, Amory. “Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken?” Foreign Affairs, Oct. 1976 vol.55
Melosi, Martin. Coping With Abundance. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985.
Mieczkowski, Yanek. Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2005.
Nye, David. Consuming Power A Social History of American Energies. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998.
Pratt, Joseph. A Managerial History of Consolidated Edison 1936-1981. New York: Consolidated Edison Company of New York, 1988.
Pursell, Carroll. “The Rise and Fall of the Appropriate Technology Movement in the United States, 1965-1985.” Technology and Culture, Vol 34, No. 3. (Jul., 1993), p. 629-637.
Rhodes, Richard. “Energy Transitions: A History Lesson” Keynote Address to the Sixth International Symposium on Fusion Nuclear Technology, April 8, 2002, San Diego, California
Sampson, Anthony. The Seven Sisters, The Great Oil Companies and the World They Made. New York: Viking Press, 1975.
*Schulman, Bruce. The Seventies, The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, And Politics. Cambridge: Da Capo Press, 2001.
Venn, Fiona. The Oil Crisis. London: Longman, 2002.
Vietor, Richard H.K. Energy Policy in America Since 1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.
*Walker, J. Samuel. Three Mile Island, A Nuclear Crisis In Historical Perspective. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.
Yergin, Daniel. The Prize, The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power. New York: Free Press, 1991.
*Yetiv, Steve. Crude Awakenings, Global Oil Security and American Foreign Policy. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004.