IGA 412 (formerly IGA 226) The Geopolitics of Energy
Professor Meghan O’Sullivan
Course description: The Geopolitics of Energy examines the intersection between international security, politics, and energy issues. The course begins with the recognition that energy has long been a major determinant of power in the international system and that every shift in global energy patterns has brought with it changes in international politics. IGA -412 explores how countries shape their grand strategies to meet their energy needs, as well as how such actions have implications for other countries and global politics. It looks at some of the pressing contemporary issues surrounding “peak oil,” political reform and energy, pipeline politics, and the aggressive pursuit of oil and gas worldwide. The course also examines at new technologies and innovations – such as those making the extraction of shale gas economical or the growth of solar power – and how they are changing patterns of trades and could shape new alliances. Finally, IGA-412 considers the consequences of a successful shift away from petroleum based economies to anticipate how a new energy order will alter global politics in fundamental way.
Four objectives define the course. Students can expect to 1) gain a greater understanding of the energy security concerns of producer and consumer countries; 2) identify and analyze how countries have altered their foreign policies, domestic efforts, and military strategies in light of such concerns; 3) examine shifting trends in the energy realm; and 4) anticipate new patterns and structural shifts in the international environment in light of these trends.