Category: News

Title: Regulating Knowledge Flows in the Global Age

International Workshop, Georgetown University, November 9-10, 2017


Current German and American debates about the benefits and dangers of technology transfer to China show the enormous political significance “the West” attaches to the international circulation of scientific and technological knowledge. The development of global networks made possible by the expansion of increasingly accessible and pervasive communications systems, along with the vast international circulation of knowledge and its human bearers, creates the impression that knowledge flows freely in a frictionless global space. This workshop challenges this widely held conception. It highlights the lumpiness of the global knowledge economy, the uneven distribution of power that constructs and maintains the regulatory fields of force in which knowledge in its multiple forms circulates. Ideas do not travel by themselves. On the contrary, their mobility is confined by a tight web of regulations and rules put in place by the leading industrial powers over many decades, but with increased determination after WWII. The general public, and much scholarly work, usually focuses on intellectual property rights and the trade interests of multinational companies. But these are only elements of a much larger system of knowledge control that is shaped by international technological competition between nation states. This competition revolves, moreover, not only around economic prowess but just as much around national security. Indeed, especially in the United States, economic strength and military power are increasingly understood as two sides of the same coin.

This workshop throws new light on how European states and the U.S. regulate the global flow of knowledge in the name of national security and national interest in a competitive world. Drawing on extensive research done by Daniels and Krige (who have an advance contract to publish their findings with the University of Chicago Press), the speakers were encouraged to take an historical approach. This will give due weight to the profound role played by developments going back at least to World War II and the first decades of the Cold War in shaping current regulatory regimes. The workshop will bring together scholars from the United States and Europe to shed light on the history and current practices of governmental intervention into the global flows of knowledge. It will offer new perspectives on the history of our modern “knowledge society” and on the central role that the relation of knowledge to state power has in framing concepts of national economic and military security in a globalized world.

For information about this event contact Mario Daniels at


Thursday, November 9
Venue: Mortara Center for International Studies
9:00am: Welcome

Mario Daniels and John Krige


Sam Weiss Evans (Tufts University): Reimagining the Governance of Objects of Security Concern

Brian Rappert (University of Exeter): Bounding Knowledge: The Knots of Defining Research in the Life Sciences

10:45-11:00am: Coffee Break

Michael A. Dennis (U.S. Naval War College): With enough safes: Maintaining the classified world in Cold War America


Mario Daniels (Georgetown University): Targeting the “Grey Zone” of Dangerous Knowledge: The Invention of U.S. Technical Data Export Controls in the 1940s

12:30-1:45pm: Lunch Break

John Krige (Georgia Tech): Controlling the Circulation of Remote Sensing Satellite Technology and Data, 1992-2000


Kevin Cuddy (General Electric Global Operations): Industry Perspectives on Export Controls and Non-Proliferation

3:15-3:45pm: Coffee Break

Jonathan Felbinger (U.S. Government Accountability Office), Judith Reppy (Cornell University): The Changing Landscape of Knowledge Production: Problems for Export Control


Richard Cupitt (Northwestern University): To List or Not to List: Emerging Dual-Use Technologies and Strategic Trade Control Lists

November 10
Venue: Mortara Center for International Studies

Jayita Sarkar (Boston University): The Market and the Bomb: The Logic of U.S. Leverage on Friendly Nuclear Suppliers


David Ivey (University of Texas, Austin): “Clowns to the left of me Jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you”: Federal Law Enforcement, Fundamental Research and Foreign Nationals in U.S. Research Universities

10:30-11:00am: Coffee Break

Quentin Michel (Université de Liège): Freedom of Academia and the Strategic Trade Control System: Has the EU Found an Appropriate Balance?


Constantin Teetzmann (Universität Freiburg): Due Diligence Obligations in International Law to Prevent Technology Transfers

12:30-1:00pm: Wrap-up and conclude