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January 28, 2019: "Technological Change and Global Governance: How Innovation Impacts Laws for the Ocean and Outer Space"

  • January 28, 2019
  • 4:00 p.m.
  • 104A Surge Building
  • Dr. Elizabeth Mendenhall, University of Rhode Island
  • Faculty Host: Dr. Eric Paterson


Abstract: Creating international laws to manage shared global spaces is a difficult and time-consuming process. The legal 'regimes' that govern the ocean and outer space were mostly negotiated in the late 1960s through early 1980s, and have only received minor updates since. Yet the technology that determines how humans use global spaces is constantly changing, as improvements and innovations enhance what we can do and see, and create new activities, interests, and problems for regimes to manage. This presentation will introduce a political science approach to understanding the relationship between technological change and international law for the ocean and outer space. After a brief review of the 'governance regimes' that manage the ocean and outer space, the speaker will consider several examples of when new ocean and aerospace technologies have confounded existing laws, and created a need for new ones. She will also discuss the ways that technological change can create opportunities for better global governance, by enhancing monitoring and verification, and introducing innovative solutions to contemporary problems in the ocean and outer space.