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STS 3334: Energy and Society

This course examines the interconnections between energy use and social life, considering the ways that modern social institutions such as states, cities, and households are shaped by energy systems, particularly the pervasive use of fossil fuels. Students will discuss the influence of energy extraction and commerce on economic development and global politics, and survey major contemporary problems related to energy, including climate change and natural resource depletion. These topics will be explored through an interdisciplinary framework, drawing insights from history, sociology, and economics, to evaluate policies for transitioning to a sustainable energy system.

Why take it?

This course provides a general grounding in the social and historical dimensions of energy issues for any students interested in the climate, global degradation, resource depletion, and the geopolitics of energy. Furthermore, in light of the looming global issues of climate change and natural resource depletion, as well as issues of security, health, and equity related to energy systems, students are likely to be impacted by energy issues in multiple ways in both their personal and professional lives. This course allows them to make connections between energy systems and social life, providing them with tools to actively engage with energy problems as they encounter them throughout their futures.

STS 3334 fulfills an elective in the following Pathways minors:


There are no prerequisites for this course.

This course fulfills Pathways requirements in Critical Thinking in the Humanities, Reasoning in the Social Sciences, and Intercultural and Global Awareness.