Christian Bueger

New Course in Global Ocean Politics

In the upcoming spring term, I will teach together with Jan Stockbruegger a newly developed course on Global Ocean Politics.

A remarkable political re-evaluation of the oceans has taken place – the ocean has returned to the international political agenda. The oceans are increasingly recognized as a new space of insecurity. Maritime crimes – such as piracy or illicit fishing– and regional inter-state contestations – as in the South China Sea or Arctic – are seen as major security challenges. Discourses on the ‘blue economy’ have drawn new attention to the oceans and present them as new economic frontiers, particularly in the Global South. At the same time, recognition has grown that the marine environment is in deep crisis. The detrimental effects of climate change, waste disposal, pollution, accidents, and ineffective marine resource management fundamentally threaten marine ecosystems and sustainability.

The aim of this course is to explore the key problems that the oceans are contemporarily facing and how global governors, law enforcement agencies and other actors intend to address them. The course is organized in three blocks. In the first part we revisit the contemporary foundations of ocean governance, including international organizations and the law of the sea. We then revisit the key contemporary ocean discourses. In part two we investigate major issues on the ocean agenda, such as shipping, fishing, piracy, smuggling, or deep seabed mining and how international actors aim at addressing them. Following an independent writing period the course concludes with a workshop where case studies are presented. The course is assessed on the basis of participation and the independent project

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