Since the end of the 1990s, Geopolitics has again come to the fore as a subfield in International Relations and Political Geography. Geopolitics stresses the importance of territorially embedded factors such as physical geography (location, resources, energy, landscape, climate, etc.), human geography (religion, ethnical groups, etc.) and the spatial dimension (e.g. spheres of influence). Whereas at the beginning of the 1990s analysts believed the world would become one single entity thanks to technology, today’s international relations show tensions in between and among groups, regions, and countries. Emanating from the theoretical work within the subfield of Geopolitics, many analysts of IR use implicit or explicit geopolitical analyses to study today’s risks. Geopolitical risks can be analyzed in multiple sectors; economic, environmental, energy, strategic, technological. Moreover, most of these risks are interconnected. In this course, students learn to analyze geopolitical risks, conduct a limited research project and formulate policy recommendations on the chosen topic. Students will choose a geopolitical risk in one of the following domains; economic, environmental, energy, strategic; technology. They will also choose a country (or a region) which they would like to study, as well as a potential entity for which they would develop relevant policy advice (e.g. a country, a regional organization, the UN, etc.). The course starts with an overview of the potential toolbox that geopolitical analysis has to offer. Also some theories of Geopolitics are explained; Classical and Neo-Classical Geopolitics, Realpolitical Geopolitics, Possibilist Geopolitics, Cognitive Geopolitics and Critical Geopolitics. After studying some examples of recent analyses, each student will choose a topic on which he/she will report in regular though not weekly class meetings. Additionally external experts in geopolitical analysis will come and present their own work, or give feedback on the (intermediate) product of students. The final output will be a senior project in geopolitical analysis produced by each individual student.
- Teacher: David Criekemans