With continually rising gas prices, the recent push for the new hybrid cars and the on-going political debate over the environmental concerns that oil brings to the table, West Chester University’s Political Science Department has recently added a new course entitled “Politics and Energy, PSC 351.” “For your generation, it’s critical to understand and to see how the dependency [on oil] has developed, the current consequences in relation to Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the energy alternatives,” said Professor Paul Clementi who will be teaching, and has partially developed, this course over the past few years. He currently teaches the course at both Immaculata University, where the concentration is in Middle Eastern studies and Eastern University, as part of their Sociology Department.
Since the course will be offered through West Chester’s Political Science Department, Clementi explained that he would like to emphasize the historical perspective and what role oil has played from the 1950’s forward. He also plans to bring a contemporary view to the course through addressing the fact that the Bush administration claims “we’re addicted to oil.”
“I’m striving to get people to understand that oil is not an infinite resource. Researchers have said that our consumption will increase from 83 million to 123 million gallons of oil per year by 2025,” states Clementi, “We can not continue this without grave political consequences.”
Clementi has developed the course based on personal, independent research and his experience over 10 years with Exxon Mobil. He was as a contract administrator where he worked with the customer relations group and his principal task was to handle customers’ e-mails in which often referred to receiving bad gas. In the most recent years, he was receiving much e-mail about the high rising price of gas.
“These e-mails started me to research this more historically.and sparked a desire to leave the corporate world and begin to teach,” said Clementi. After receiving his Pennsylvania teaching certification and Masters in Multi-cultural Education, he began to develop this course around our energy and oil consumption with a fellow professor at Eastern University.
“To me, this seems like a very important topic for today’s students on many levels,” said Dr. Peter Loedel, Political Science Dept. Chair.
Politics and Energy was a course that WCU started to offer during the oil crisis in the 1970s and after new oil was found in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the course went away, but because oil consumption has become a recent hot topic, our Political Science Department decided to reinstate that course.
“The course gives all different persepectives into the oil industry, Prof. Clementi makes sure to show the sociology, political and business persepectives,” said Kim Franchina, who is currently taking Prof. Clementi’s course at Eastern University.
“Students who take this course will be richly rewarded with new information and new perspectives,” said Dr. Jana Nestlerode, Criminal Justice Dept. Chair, who first contacted Prof. Clementi when she saw the course being taught at Immaculata University.
The course will focus on three or four political constructs in which Clementi will discuss. The first will be the Bush Administration’s verbal commitment to the oil lobbies and where money dictates what the huge commitment is. The next will be what oil’s role in Operation Iraqi Freedom in which the book “Blood and Oil,” and Bush’s energy policy will be highlighted.
The third construct is the U.S. government’s current role in Africa because of oil discovery and the fourth will be the surge in oil demand from countries like China and India which has caused the spike in gas prices. Clementi will also address the question “if we don’t want to be dependent on oil, what alternative should we go to?” in which students will prepare an energy plan for the U.S.