Global Resource Conflicts. Political Economy and Transnational Governance in the 20th Century
International Workshop, Humboldt University Berlin, May 2011, 26-28
Sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation
Conveners: Alexander Nützenadel and Laura Rischbieter (Department of History, Humboldt-University Berlin)
Power struggles over natural resources have exerted a strong impact on international relations throughout the 20th century. After the first World War, the availability of resources such as petroleum, coal, gas or water became a decisive element of geostrategic planning and military conflict. Colonial wars, ethnic conflicts and the struggle for economic hegemony were fueled by the need to gain access to natural resources. Population growth and the spread of industrialization steadily increased the global demand for natural resources, highlighting their scarcity and finiteness. After World War II, new forms of global governance emerged to regulate transnational infrastructure, price regimes and distribution systems. Actors in the global resource market increasingly dominated economic relations through international cartels and asymmetric agreements. Organizations such as the OPEC became powerful players in both global politics and word-wide economic exchanges.
This workshop focuses on the transnational history of (non-renewable) natural resources throughout the 20th century. We welcome papers addressing the economic, political and cultural dimensions of resource conflicts and their regulation in the modern world. While the workshop has no specific regional focus, we are particularly interested in papers addressing non-European areas or problems on a global scale. This may include historical case studies on local resource conflicts with a specific transnational dimension. The workshop will bring together experts from different backgrounds and perspectives to discuss new approaches and insights in neighbouring disciplines and to connect discussions of cultural, political, and economic processes at work in the 20th century.
While contributors are welcome to suggest additional topics, the workshop will specifically address the following questions and themes:
1. The emergence and transformation of transnational resource markets
2. The role of natural resources for colonial relations and decolonization processes
3. Debates on the scarcity and finiteness of natural resources
4. The role of multi-national corporations in local conflicts
5. The significance of resources for ethnic conflict, civil wars and international wars
7. Strategies of non-governmental regulation
8. Conflicts over and attempts to regulate access to natural resources (pipelines, supply agreements etc.)
Papers may focus on a particular region or period, but should seek to illustrate issues of general significance, address contemporary developments, or explore methodological and theoretical issues. We welcome paper proposals from both young and established scholars from different countries and disciplines, including history, economics, sociology, geography and political science.
Proposals (two pages maximum) should include an abstract of the paper and a curriculum vitae in English and should be submitted via email (preferably in pdf format) by October 2010, 1st to Laura Rischbieter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accomodation, meals and travel (economy fare only) will be paid for by the workshop. Overseas participants may request an additional night of accommodation, depending on their travel plans.
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