Arctic Geopolitics

The Arctic is changing, and rapidly. Warming waters, melting ice and thawing permafrost are facilitating a transformation of the geopolitical environment.

With the opening-up of new maritime passageways and strategic corridors, as well as the prospect for resource extraction the idea of the Arctic as a ‘place apart’ in global politics is fanciful.

Every major world actor, from the US to China to the European Union, is interested in the Arctic, and the evolving competition which will shape the future of the region.

Although the Arctic has been the subject of keen strategic rivalry before, as the region becomes increasingly ice-free, the opening-up of new strategic and commercial opportunities suggests it may be growing in importance to renewed great power competition.

This IAS Spotlight Series will explore the Arctic’s significance in key contemporary debates about the Anthropocene through two workshops.

Virtual Workshop I: ‘Great Power Competition in the Anthropocene Arctic’
8-9 December 2020

This virtual workshop brought together a group of distinguished and early career scholars and practitioners, to consider what great power competition looks like in the Anthropocene Arctic.

Specifically, the workshop explored and developed new concepts and approaches for improving understanding of how the Anthropocene interacts with inter-state rivalry.

  • Dr Duncan Depledge (lead), Loughborough University (UK)
  • Professor Caroline Kennedy-Pipe, Loughborough University (UK)
  • Professor Simon Dalby, Balsillie School of International Affairs (Canada)
  • Dr Mia Bennett, The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
  • Dr James Rogers, Danish Institute for Advanced Study (Denmark)

Great Power Competition in the Anthropocene Arctic

The Proceedings from the Anthropocene Arctic Geopolitics workshop on 8th and 9th December 2020 have now been published by NAADSN.

Virtual Workshop II: 'Remote Geopolitics: The Arctic and Beyond'
14 June 2021

This virtual workshop brought together a group of distinguished and early career scholars to consider the distinct challenges states face when it comes to building, extending and securing sovereignty, borders, territory and legal regimes in distant and difficult-to-reach spaces.

This turn to what we term ‘Remote Geopolitics’ examined emerging or reemerging sites of international contestation: namely, the Polar Regions (Arctic and Antarctica), the Deep Sea and Outer Space.

  • Dr Duncan Depledge (Chair), Loughborough University (UK)
  • Dr Elizabeth Buchanan, Deakin University (Australia)
  • Wing Commander Clifford Fletcher-Jones, King’s College London (UK)
  • Professor P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Trent University (Canada)
  • Rear Admiral (ret) Nick Lambert, NLA International (UK)
  • Dr Rachael Squire, Royal Holloway, University of London (UK)
  • Professor Caroline Kennedy-Pipe (Discussant), Loughborough University (UK)