Meghan O'Sullivan Photo

Meghan O'Sullivan

Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs


The Geopolitics of Energy examines the intersection between international security, politics, and energy. The course begins with the recognition that energy has long been a major determinant of power in the international system and that every shift in global energy patterns has brought with it changes in international politics. IGA-412 explores how countries shape their grand strategies to meet their energy needs, as well as how such actions have implications for other countries and global politics. It looks at pressing contemporary issues related to peak oil, political reform and energy, pipeline politics, and the aggressive pursuit of oil and gas worldwide. The course also looks at new technologies and innovations - such as those making the extraction of shale gas economical or the growth of solar power - and how they are changing patterns of trades and could shape new alliances. Finally, IGA-412 considers the consequences of a successful shift away from petroleum based economies to anticipate how a new energy order will alter global politics in fundamental ways.