GEST-440 Techno-Diplomacy: Technology in International Relations in the 20th Century
Fall for 2017-2018
We live in an age in which globalization, coupled with the ubiquity of the world wide web makes it seem like knowledge is readily available and flows freely around the planet. But this perception obscures the fact that transfers of technological and scientific knowledge across national borders is a politically sensitive and often highly controversial topic. Recent examples that help to elucidate the complexity of technology transfers include the international accord with Iran over the control of its nuclear program and the perennial conflicts between China and Western countries like the United States and Germany with regards to economic espionage.
Placing such debates in their wider, historical context, this seminar will explore the role of technology transfers in international relations over the course of the 20th century. To this end, we will discuss case studies that illustrate how technology transfers were deemed to be dangerous because they potentially strengthened the military power of political enemies, or improved the competitiveness of economic rivals on the world markets.
By these means we will see how technology transfers were (and still are) prohibited and/or bureaucratically closely regulated by export control regimes that again and again became an important part of broader economic sanctions. At the same time, we will take a closer look at moments of technological cooperation and ask what role they played in fostering and deepening political alliances, such as the “Free World” of the Cold War and the European Community.
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Fall '17: Daniels M (description, file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.