Dr. Ted Lehmann and the Geopolitics of Energy

Dr. Timothy (Ted) Lehmann, the faculty director for the Social Sciences in the School of Liberal Arts, recently published a book on the international politics of energy: The Geopolitics of Global Energy: The New Cost of Plenty. The book features research from leading energy experts across the world, and addresses timeless questions about the way in which our ever-growing need for energy intersects with the interests of governments and corporations. Such questions include:

  • How are the world’s societies shaped by the designs and investments of the largest energy actors?
  • What happens when the most powerful energy actors fight among themselves?
  • How do states and corporations decide which resources to develop, and what are the social, environmental, and strategic consequences of these decisions?
  • Is it likely that the world will transition away from fossil fuels to more sustainable forms of energy, and how might this be accomplished?

Dr. Lehmann’s own contributions to the book include a weighty chapter looking at American energy policies since World War II. In this, Dr. Lehmann argues that the U.S. has pursued twin goals since WWII: maintaining North American energy independence, and controlling Middle Eastern energy sources to influence the independence of others, particularly in East Asia. Other scholars in the volume address the world-leading developments on renewable energy in Germany and Japan, as well as China’s expansion into the South China Sea in search of oil and gas, and the prospects of developing the Arctic’s oil and gas resources.

Dr. Lehmann has developed a class on some of these topics for Excelsior College called POL320 The Geopolitics of Energy and Global Climate Change.  This class looks at the ways in which the dependence on traditional energy resources and the reality of climate change have shaped and continue to shape social, economic, and strategic developments across the world. This is a topic of enormous importance, and its consequences are transforming our world.  Because the course uses open educational resources, students can complete the class without purchasing a textbook or any other materials.

The Social Sciences program at Excelsior offers a wide variety of other cutting-edge classes on American and global politics, all of which use open educational resources, including: POL351 War and Peace After the Cold War; POL363 Order and Disorder in the Middle East and North Africa; POL370 American Political Behavior; and POL390 The Rise of China and the Pacific Century.

Students in the Bachelor of Science in the Social Sciences degree program can also choose a concentration in Human Services, Environmental Studies, or International Relations.