Government and International Relations Colloquium Series

The Department of Government and International Relations Colloquium Series aims to showcase recent research by members of the Department, visiting scholars and international and interstate guests in an informal setting, conducive to lively debate. It is an open event and everyone is welcome to attend. If you would like to be informed of future events then please contact who will add your name to our email list. The Series is coordinated by .

Semester 1, 2015

Wednesday 18 March 2015 - 4 - 6pm
Speaker: Professor Charles Shipan
University of Michigan
Topic: Top-Down Federalism: State Policy Responses to National Government Discussions

Prof Charles SipanThe national government can influence state-level policymaking by adopting laws that specifically direct the states to take certain actions or by providing financial incentives. But can national institutions also influence state-level policy change by drawing attention to an issue and by providing information about it, even when these activities do not produce new national laws? In other words, do policy ideas diffuse from the national government to the states? In this paper we examine whether hearings and the introduction of bills in Congress about antismoking restrictions influence state-level adoptions between 1975 and 2000. Our findings reveal that national policy activities do stimulate state policy adoptions, but only for states with professional legislatures and strong policy advocates.

Venue: Room 397 Merewether building, H04 [map]
Wednesday 1 April 2015 - 4 - 6pm
Speaker: Dr Jennifer Hunt
Centre for International Security Studies, University of Sydney
Topic: Energy security and the Gulf - new theoretical frameworks and developments

Energy security has traditionally been constructed as the national security imperative to secure access to reliable, affordable energy supplies, particularly hydrocarbons. Recently, the conceptual boundaries have been expanded beyond the consumer-state paradigm to encompass supplier countries, whose security is vulnerable to changing demand, market prices and resource exhaustion. To the extent that energy insecurity threatens the structural integrity and prosperity-generating capabilities of the state itself, it is inexorably linked to economic security, particularly in the rentier states of the Gulf.

This presentation explores two emerging trends in this nexus with regards to current events in the US and Saudi Arabia: first, the re-emergence of the US as an oil export producer, and second, the politico-economic implications of the Arab Spring. It concludes by examining the potential flow-on effects of these trends for the strategic alliance between the US and Saudi Arabia in other areas of mutual cooperation such as terrorism.

Venue: Room 397 Merewether building, H04 [map]