Report: International Workshop "The Intersection of Comparative Regionalism and Energy Issues"

Jul 04, 2016

Andreas Goldthau, Kacper Szulecki, Kirsten Westphal, Llewelyn Hughes, Margarita Balmaceda, Kathleen Hancock, Miriam Prys-Hansen, Stacy VanDeveer and Dominique Diouf

Andreas Goldthau, Kacper Szulecki, Kirsten Westphal, Llewelyn Hughes, Margarita Balmaceda, Kathleen Hancock, Miriam Prys-Hansen, Stacy VanDeveer and Dominique Diouf
Image Credit: KFG

On April 28-29, KFG Senior Fellow Kathleen J. Hancock, hosted an international workshop in Berlin on the intersection of comparative regionalism and energy issues. The participants are well known experts in environmentalism, energy, and comparative regionalism and in a number of world regions, including Southeast Asia, Europe, North America, Russia and Eurasia, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The group is developing a new research agenda that examines how comparative regionalism studies can inform research on fossil fuels, renewable energy, transportation fuels, and energy infrastructure, inter alia. In turn, the researchers are exploring how these energy issues might change what we know about how regions work.

In preparation for the workshop, scholars read several chapters from the newly published Oxford Handbook of Comparative Regionalism. Using these chapters, scholars prepared papers detailing their past, current, and projected research on environmentalism, energy, and regionalism and how their respective areas of expertise can come together to create this new research agenda.

On the first day, after welcoming comments from Thomas Risse and Kathleen Hancock, scholars presented their papers and opened the floor for extensive discussion. Presenters included Stacy VanDeveer (Univ. of New Hampshire), Kirsten Westphal (German Institute for International and Security Affairs, SWP), Andreas Goldthau (Central European Univ. and Harvard Univ.), Kathleen Hancock (Colorado School of Mines and KFG), Llewelyn Hughes (Australian National University), Miriam Prys-Hansen (German Institute for Global and Area Studies, Hamburg), Kacper Szulecki (Univ. of Oslo), Margarita Balmaceda (Seton Hall Univ. and Harvard Univ.), and Dominique Diouf (Laval University, Quebec). There was animated discussion throughout the day, and even during breaks and at meals, participants identified numerous areas of overlapping interests and ways in which they could link their research to comparative regionalism and inform regionalism debates which have largely overlooked energy issues.

The second day, the participants turned their attention to concrete steps for subsequent workshops, panels for international conferences, and publications of books, journal articles and special issues. They discussed how to expand the membership to include those who could not attend to the workshop as well as scholars from other disciplines, and identifying funding opportunities to support research and meetings. The group is already exploring a research design workshop for September, proposing a panel for the International Studies Association, and working together on a review article that would help set the agenda for this new line of research.

The group is grateful to the KFG for supporting it in this exploratory stage and thus playing a catalyst role for a new research agenda.