- Code MEAS4109
- 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, International Affairs, Middle East Studies, Central Asia Studies
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 have the knowledge and skills to:
- Demonstrate familiarity with 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.
- Possess 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.
Indicative Assessment4000 word research essay (60%), Learning Outcomes 1-5
Final Examination, 3 hours (held during the formal examination period) (40%), Learning Outcomes 1-5
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities.
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsAn e-brick is made available for this course on Wattle.
Preliminary ReadingMichael T. Klare. Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet. The New Geopolitics of Energy. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2008.
Richard M. Auty and Indra de Soysa, eds. Energy, Wealth and Governance in the Caucasus and Central Asia. London: Routledge, 2006.
Hrair R. Dekmejian and Hovann H. Simonian. Troubled Waters: The Geopolitics of the Caspian Region. London: I.B. Tauris, 2003.
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