- Code MEAS8109
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies
- Areas of interest Arab and Islamic Studies
- Academic career PGRD
- Mode of delivery In Person
Energy – in the form of oil and gas – is the most plentiful and valuable natural resource of the Caspian Sea and its vicinity. The opening up of the region’s hydrocarbon reserves represents one of the most significant consequences of the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991. Potential benefits from energy development to national and commercial entities are enormous, but so are the challenges stemming from the expansion of global economy, international and intra-regional competition, and the internal political dynamics of the Caspian states. The region is at the crossroads: from its current volatile situation, it could evolve either as an area of crisis, or as a zone of stability. The dynamics of energy development will be crucial for determining the actual outcome.
The course will address the politics of hydrocarbons in the Caucasus and Central Asia as a security problem. While substantial attention will be paid to the traditional balance-of-power contest involving external states, such as Russia, the USA, China, Turkey, and Iran, it will attempt to go beyond pure geopolitics and address broader questions: Is energy development making conflict more or less likely in the region? What will be the domestic impact of the expected hydrocarbon boom? What are the implications for the human and natural environment?
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Reach a better understanding of political and economic problems facing post-Soviet states in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
- Examine geostrategic, economic and technical aspects of energy production and transportation in the Caspian basin.
- Gain a comprehensive picture of the interaction of the nation-states, domestic actors, multinational organisations and international oil and gas companies in the region.
- Assess the conflict potential associated with hydrocarbon and pipeline politics and make projections for the future.
- Evaluate critically the existing interpretations of energy and conflict in the region.
One 4,000-5,000 word essay (60%) [LO's 1 - 5]
3-hour final examination (40%) [LO's 2 - 4]
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One two-hour seminar per week. Students are expected to commit up to 8 hours of independent study per week.
Please refer to the course outline.
Preliminary ReadingH R Dekmejian & H H Simonian, Troubled Waters: The Geopolitics of the Caspian Region, London: IB Tauris, 2003.
S Akiner (ed), The Caspian: politics, energy and security, London; New York, N.Y.: Routledge Curzon, 2004.
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- 6 units
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