During the cold war era, international relations theorists and political leaders discussed security issues primarily within a framework that placed principal emphasis on military strength, strategic alliances and balance of power relationships. There was little discussion of how the distribution and availability of natural resources someday would be the source of destabilizing conflicts at the regional and international level. While recent Gulf Wars and popular films are eliciting considerable speculation about current and future conflicts over oil, researchers in many disciplines, including political science, economics, sociology and human geography, are currently investigating the interface between conflict and a wide variety of natural resources (i.e. diamonds, natural gas, water, timber etc). Students in this course will explore the direct and indirect linkages between natural resources and the initiation or continuation of a destabilizing conflict around the world. This course is writing intensive. Open to students in the third or fourth year of study.


4 sh

Course Types

Core Interdisciplinary Seminar

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