Summer School: Geopolitics in a Globalised World

Summer School: Geopolitics in a Globalised World

Sun, 23 Jul 2023 - Sun, 30 Jul 2023


View Call for Proposals for this Event

Organized by: University of Trento


The end of the Cold War was heralded by many scholars and policy-makers as the beginning of a new international order, in which the logic of power politics and spheres of influence would give way to the shared interests generated by the increasingly intensive and extensive flows of ideas, capital, goods and services. The need to control and extend influence over territory was a remnant of the nineteenth century and not consonant with a world where markets could deliver the same rewards with fewer costs and positive-sum results for all. Not only had history reached its end point, so had geography, seemingly. Experts claimed that the world was “flat”, with a future that belonged to Europe with its post-modern integration project and that an international order based on grand strategies and struggles for influence would give way to one increasingly shaped by what has come to be known as the liberal international order. 

Whether order in the international system was constructed along such a clear geopolitics-globalization binary is open to debate. But it certainly is the case that debates in international relations and political science have focused on the extent to which the control of territory was central to our understanding of politics, and not only with respect to the European Union. The discussion about how to manage the emergence of China, Turkey’s continued incursions into Syria to quell Kurdish desire for sovereignty, increasing economic nationalism are just a few indications that the tension between wanting to be part of an open global economy and order and the desire to control territory was evident lonsg before Russia’s war in Ukraine. Geopolitics and attendant notions of grand strategy, spheres of influence and great power politics probably never went away; but it has been the case that both international relations and policy-makers are trying to make sense of how to understand a world that has both extensive supply chains and increasing economic nationalism; one with transnational flows of capital, goods, ideas and even people but also calls to close borders; one with contrasting images of an international community and spheres of influence.

The aim of this summer school is to explore how we understand international order in the face of this tension between globalization and geopolitics. Its aims are two-fold. First, it wants to explore the extent to which heuristic constructions such as globalization and geopolitics are useful for us to understand order in the contemporary international system. Are the conceptual tools that point us in the direction of interdependence and cooperation more useful than those that highlight fear and uncertainty in the struggle to extend spheres of influence? How do we break free from these constraints? The second aim is to explore different issues and challenges where this tension might be more evident. These range from climate change, energy security, food, water and the managing of borders.

The week-long summer school will be held at the University of Trento. It is aimed at PhD students or early career researchers. It will have twice-daily seminars led by scholars working on globalization and geopolitics. The week will conclude with an international workshop on the same topic that will bring 6-8 scholars presenting papers, for which a parallel call for papers has been issued. A workshop programme will be available on 1 May.

There are no fees to participate in the summer school although there a limited number of places available. Accommodation and some meals will be provided by the University of Trento.

Conference Organisers: Viktoria Akchurina (Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy) and Vincent Della Sala (University of Trento)

If you are interested in attending, please send a short description of your current research project (300 words) and short bio or CV to by 31 March 2023