Geotechnical Politics of Ocean Frontiers: The Canadian North & the Indo-Pacific

The workshop, held on Friday 28 April 2017, explored the politics of constructing ‘peace’ and attaining ‘security’ through the interdisciplinary analytical framework of Frontier Studies.

This workshop was organized by the Ocean Frontiers Working group under Science for Peace, Canada in collaboration with Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR).

Investigating frontiers, particularly probing ocean frontier politics is part of a larger inquiry into the earthly politics of using science, technology and international law to construct maritime boundaries and new frontiers of resource ownership. Such politics also involves marine and maritime infrastructural development, and is furthermore interrelated systematically to the science and technology of how space above and below the waterways are constructed, i.e. how national airspace is understood, bordered, and governed above maritime boundaries; how national land areas below the water is understood; and how the seabed resources below waterways are envisioned and exploited as national economic resources. Ocean frontier politics are matters of regional risks and international security, due to an escalating arms race between maritime nations, triggered by unsettled territorial claims and ensuing power struggle in maritime expansion and resource extraction.

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Workshop organizer, YCAR Graduate Associate, and Chair of the Ocean Frontiers
Research Working Group Venilla Rajaguru on CTV News:

Welcome address by Associate Vice President Research, Dr. Cecilia Haig-Brown.

Welcome address by YCAR Director Philip Kelly.
(Or it might be him telling a fishing story–you decide.)

The Honourable Peggy Mason, former Canadian Ambassador and current President of the Rideau Institute, gave the keynote address.

A. Stewart (Deputy Director, Oceans Law, Global Affairs) on “Arctic Governance: Myths and Reality“.

Dr. Adele Buckley (Canadian Pugwash; Pugwash Council) on “Sustaining Peace in the Arctic”.

Dr. D. Harries (Foresight Canada) on “Whither Arctic Peace and Security: A Role for Strategic Foresight?”

Venilla Rajaguru (York U, STS, Science for Peace) on “Asserting Peace in the South China Sea: Indo-Pacific Peace and International Security”.

Professor Ted McDorman (U of Victoria).

Dr. E. Riddell-Dixon (UWO, Political Science; UofT, International History) on “Arctic Sovereignty and Canada’s Extended Continental Shelf”.

J. Smith (McGill, Law) on “Justifying an Enclosure: How UNCLOS Ensured Cooperation in the Arctic”.

Dr. Anna Zalik (York, Environmental Studies) on “Financializing the Ocean Grab”.