Academic year
2023/2024 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LM3140 (AF:459592 AR:251548)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Surnames M-Z
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
This course is a "characterizing" course of the MA in Comparative International Relations (RIC) for the Global Studies and European Union Studies paths (last names M-Z). It provides students with advanced knowledge of the History of International Relations in the 20th and 21st centuries, with an emphasis on the epistemology and methods of inquiry of the discipline, applied particularly to the study of the multiple intersections between international politics and energy issues during the 1970s. In addition to imparting a range of notions, the course aims to foster critical reflection on some of the major turning points in 20th-century international history and their legacies in more recent times. With its focus on defining the concepts under consideration, the course offers students the opportunity to refine their communication skills with reference to the history of international relations. Finally, with its emphasis on the historical method of inquiry, the course offers student a method of work to analyze events and processes in the international arena, and to develop original interpretations based on them, beyond the specific subject matter of the course itself.

The expected learning outcomes are:
(a) the consolidation and deepening of critical knowledge of some of the major turning points in the international history of the 20th and early 21st centuries;
(b) a secure knowledge of the literature on international politics and energy issues during the 20th century, with emphasis on the 1970s;
(c) the development of an ability to formulate original and grounded interpretations of the interactions of various international actors with the changing energy landscape of the 1970s;
(d) the development of the ability to critically create, read and interpret a bibliography of international history, and to make critical judgments about international affairs based on sound historical knowledge, beyond the specific subject matter of the course itself;
(e) the development of the ability to communicate one's knowledge with coherence, clarity and precision, and to participate in informed debates about international affairs;
(f) the development of the ability to deepen one's knowledge in the field of international history independently.
This course requires a knowledge base in History and Political Science as per RIC admission requirements, and a basic knowledge of modern and contemporary history as per high school curricula. A good level of English language proficiency (at least B2) is also required. A deep interest in the subject and a serious approach to lectures and readings are not formal requirements, but usually help.
This year's course is devoted primarily to a historical analysis of the multiple entanglements between international politics and energy issues in the 1970s, taking a comprehensive approach and paying attention to the legacies of the processes and ideas developed in that decade in the decades that followed. The course is divided into three interconnected parts: in the first (lectures 1-3) we will quickly examine what are normally considered the basic coordinates of international history in the 20th and early 21st centuries, to provide the necessary context for our main investigation. In the second (lectures 4-11), students will become familiar with some of the main historiographical debates about international politics in the 1970s in light of the emergence of a number of "energy issues" over the course of the decade (changes in the ways of conceiving energy sources with respect to the political and economic objectives of governments on a global scale, in the prices of energy commodities, in the scenarios of production and consumption of different energy sources, in environmental sensitivities, etc.). In the final part of the course, which will be based on the presentation of independent research papers prepared by the students (lectures 12-15), we will address how, in the current state of historiographical debate, different international actors interacted with what was called the "oil crisis" or "oil revolution" of 1973 and its aftermath. For the detailed syllabus of the lectures, indicating the readings relevant to each, see the detailed syllabus in Moodle.
In general, students who attend class regularly will prepare the in itinere activities and/or final papers (see below) based on their class notes, the slides and any additional documents uploaded by the teacher on Moodle, the sources needed for their final papers, and a number of articles and book chapters indicated below as "recommended" readings (for all). Please visit the Moodle space for the detailed syllabus of the lectures, indicating the readings relevant to each. The papers to be analyzed will be uploaded by the lecturer on Moodle before the specific lectures. If attending the course, the readings and papers must be studied before each lecture. Students who do not regularly attend class will have essentially the same syllabus (slides and any documents on Moodle, sources for the paper, and articles/book chapters of recommended texts), but will replace the class notes with a series of additional readings, including a volume on historical methodology as support for the preparation of the paper: for those who do not attend class regularly, the readings indicated below as "suggested" become "recommended". It is up to the student(s) to make sure they have all the necessary materials.

Recommended readings (for all)
L. Scott, "International History of the Twentieth Century", in J. Baylis, S. Smith and P. Owens (eds.), The Globalization of World Politics, 2016
M. Cox, “From the end of the cold war to a new global era?”, in J. Baylis, S. Smith and P. Owens (eds.), The Globalization of World Politics, 2016
Anthony Best et al., International history of the 20th century and beyond, 2015, chaps. 8 and 13
R. Graf, "Energy History and Histories of Energy", Docupedia-Zeitgeschichte, 2023
R. Graf, "Making Use of the 'Oil Weapon': Western Industrialized Countries and Arab Petropolitics in 1973–1974", Diplomatic History, 2012
F. Petrini, "Public Interest, Private Profits: Multinationals, Governments, and the Coming of the First Oil Crisis", Business and Economic History Online, 2014
G. Garavini, "Completing Decolonization: The 1973 ‘Oil Shock’ and the Struggle for Economic Rights", The International History Review, 2011
N. Gilman, "The New International Economic Order: A Reintroduction", Humanity Journal, 2015
G. Garavini, After Empires, 2009, pp. 243-272 (and notes)
D. Wight, Oil Money. Middle East Petrodollars and the Transformation of US Empire, 1967-1988, 2021, pp. 60-84 (and notes)
O. Skorokhodova, "The Double Shock: The Soviet Energy Crisis and the Oil Price Collapse of 1986", in D. Basosi, G. Garavini and M. Trentin, Counter-Shock. The Oil Counter-Revolution of the 1980s, 2018
C. Bonneuil, P.-L. Choquet, B. Franta, "Early warnings and emerging accountability: Total’s responses to global warming, 1971–2021", Global Environmental Change, 2021

Suggested readings (recommended for non-attending students)
M. Trachtenberg, The Craft of International History, 2006
A. Best et al., International history of the 20th century and beyond, 2015, chap. 4
G. Arrighi, “The world economy and the Cold War, 1970-90”, in M. Leffler and O.A. Westad (eds.), The Cambridge History of the Cold War, Volume 3, 2010
Giuliano Garavini, The Rise and Fall of OPEC in the 20th Century, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2019, pp. 216-300
D. Basosi, "Oil, Dollars and US Power in the 1970s: Re-Viewing the Connections", Journal of Energy History, 2020
D. Basosi, "Lost in transition. The world's energy past, present and future at the 1981 United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy", Journal of Energy History, 2020
S. Kotkin, "The Kiss of Debt. The East Bloc Goes Borrowing", in N. Ferguson et al., "The Shock of the Global: The 1970s in Perspective", 2010
For attending students, assessment of learning can take two forms (at their discretion): in itinere with "short" final exam or by "long" final exam. For those students who do not attend classes regularly, only the "long" final exam is available. In any case, both modes require writing and discussing a final paper on a topic to be agreed upon with the professor well in advance of the examination dates. The two different modes of assessment are specifically described in the detailed course syllabus available on Moodle.
The course includes lectures by the teacher and interactive classes in which the students will discuss the assigned readings or present their own research. Attendance is not compulsory but is highly recommended and requires in-depth individual study of the recommended readings before each class (see detailed program below). The in itinere tests will not only be used to determine the final grade, but will also serve as teaching tools to improve one's study over the course of the semester. A dedicated forum and specific materials, as well as specific assessment activities, will be made available on Moodle for students with enrollment code "701".
A detailed class schedule containing the indication of lesson topics and pertaining readings is available in the Moodle space of the class. Students with disabilities can contact the Disability and Accessibility Office (disabilita@unive.it) to take advantage of the services available (e.g. alternative examination methods, readers, etc.). The teacher is easily available for questions concerning the course at his office hours and by email at duccio.basosi@unive.it. Emails have to be written in a formal style. Please use my e-mail address parsimoniously and do not think of it as an instant messaging app, nor as a customer care service: it is neither. Emails should not ask questions whose answer can be found in the information contained in this syllabus (e.g.: "what are the readings for this course?", etc.). Students interested in carrying out a master's degree thesis in History of international relations can ask the teacher, after passing the exam, for the guidelines for the thesis (by writing directly to duccio.basosi@unive.it).

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "International cooperation" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

This programme is provisional and there could still be changes in its contents.
Last update of the programme: 11/09/2023