Course, Fall 2003
|"Politics and Petroleum"
Lecturer Sandy Tolan
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 am -12:00 pm
Fall Semester - North Gate Hall, Graduate School of Journalism
Spring Semester - CLAS Conference Room, 2334 Bowditch Street
Note: Class size
will be limited to four or five each from Journalism and
"We must reduce our dependence
on Middle Eastern oil." This is a favorite political mantra
of politicians of all stripes. But what does it really mean?
And what are the implications of a policy to increase foreign
oil production in other parts of the world? This two-semester
class will examine these questions on the ground in Latin America.
Four countries in Latin
America -- Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Mexico -- ship
more oil to the U.S. than all the Persian Gulf countries combined.
Few Americans are aware of this. Yet given major recent finds
in Colombia (including a billion-barrel find by Occidental),
the new heavy crude pipeline being built in Ecuador, and Venezuela's
vast resources, South America may become even more crucial
to U.S. energy demands, and to the strategic objectives of
U.S. foreign policy. In addition, Mexico's high production,
linked both to U.S. energy "independence" and Mexico's own
notions of sovereignty, make it an extremely important player
in Latin America.
Given the emphasis of the
current administration to meet growing energy demands not with
conservation, but with aggressive efforts to secure greater
supplies of oil and gas worldwide, the Latin American connection,
and its effects in the region, bears close watching.
This class will look at
the Latin American countries described above- in teams of two
or three, with each team including at least one student from
both LAS and the J-School. Each student will be required to
make a two-semester commitment. The teams will begin from a
shared pool of knowledge based on readings, lectures and briefings
from political, military, resource and environmental experts.
Field reporting will be done early in the second semester.
The final product will
be a major newspaper series for English and Spanish-language
dailies, to run in the summer of 2003.
in the class is expected to exceed space, so admission will
be based on application. Students will need to send a resume and one-page
letter to the instructor describing interest, qualifications,
experience in natural resources and Latin American issues,
and a willingness to share responsibilities for research, reporting
and writing with fellow students. Familiarity with L.A. and
proficiency in Spanish preferred but not essential.
Applications for the
class are due on July 1, 2002. They should be sent via
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in being a TA for the course, please
send an e-mail ASAP.